The modern notion of "Evolution" is actually an issue that ancient heathen myths clearly address, especially Greek, Slavic, and Norse Indo-European heathen mythologies.

No, they don't discuss "evolution" as we know it now, with the scientific language that some use now, but the ancient myths discuss the origins of mankind as being quite natural- although, do recall that even if the Gods HAD created man and woman, man and woman would still be "natural" because the Gods themselves are also sprung from nature, and are therefore "natural" themselves.

Ancient myths indicate that "mankind" has a twofold origin: partly "born of nature", and partly "endowed" with a special spiritual gift by the Gods. Without those two things, "mankind" would not be "mankind" as we know it.

It is important to remember that the Gods, in the older pagan view, do not "Create" Reality or Nature like the judeo-christian "god" is said to "create" Reality or Nature. Nature is not "created"; Nature, or Reality as whole, is always there, always present, an eternal thing that has no beginning or end.

The Void of Ginnungagap and Uncreated Nature

This notion of uncreated Nature is captured in Heathen myths as the fertile Void of the "beginning" or Ginnungagap. The Chasm or Void of Ginn does not "come" or "go"; nothing "creates" Ginnungagap; it is eternal, and all phenomenon appear out of it.

Ginnungagap is the ground of all Reality and Phenomenon; the "space" that is needed for anything to occur. This "space" doesn't come from anywhere; it is always there, and is still there, as we will see.

At the "beginning" of the world-cycle, the space or Void of Ginnungagap was charged with all the possibilities of Wyrd. Its first two manifestations were fire and ice; the force of pure expansion and energy, and the force of pure contraction and inertia. Between those two, the entire chain of manifestation began. After the worlds have been destroyed at the World-Doom, all will be returned to the Primal Void; only Ginnungagap will remain, with the Ice and Fire that was there at the start, before a new world arises.

While "nature" is in its manifest, expressed, and shaped form, the Void cannot be "seen" because the Void is literally at the heart of all "things" that we see and experience- at the heart of every tree or stone or person or God IS the Void of all potential and wyrd-force.

When all things are destroyed, the Void will remain, pregnant with the potentials to rebirth all things into a new world-cycle. The power of Wyrd and the Dark Void remain present yet hidden and subtle, before, during, and after the manifestation of Worlds and life, and the manifestation of humans, beasts, and Gods.

In terms of the ancient Runic science, the "dark space" at the heart of all things, from which random-seeming things appear, is PERDHRO, the Dice-cup, the mystery of Wyrd. Following this model, you can't seperate the Void or Space of Ginnungagap from what we call "Nature" now, that is, "nature" in terms of people, mountains, trees, and the other eight worlds outside of Midgard.

All of these temporarily-shaped things, the order shaped by the Gods, have the Void at their heart, as their ultimate reality, and that strangely chaotic and Wyrd-charged void is the reason why all things are gradually fading or breaking down back to the basics of the beginning. No shaped thing lasts forever; only the Void and Wyrd last forever, and they are always dynamic in nature. Life and Death exist for this reason.

"Nature" is therefore an all-inclusive term, covering more than just the trees and ground and waters. It covers the depths of space, AND the Otherworld or the spiritual worlds. Spirits and Gods are just as "natural" as trees and humans. Nature (that is, the Primordial Void of Wyrd-Potentials, and the forces that appeared from that Void, including the elements) needed no creator, for She was the creatrix of all- the Greeks and Romans called her the "Mother of Gods and Men", and indeed, they too believed that all things emerged from a Void at the "beginning"- the void of Chaos, which is the same as Ginnungagap.

Of course, this Chaos isn't just oblivion or lack of order- it is a "space" full of all potentials that will manifest. Even during the manifestation of "green nature", the body of life and all organic and non-organic forms are full of potential for more life and form. All is full of life, for the "void" itself, charged with Wyrd's potentials, is itself "aware" in a mystical sense; it is "alive" in the most deep meaning of the word. This leads us to the notion of true animism.

The Gods and Powers

We know that from the Void of Ginnungagap, the first powers came, and the first natural materials, rime, yeast, the bodies of the great Giants like Ymir, and the sustainer-being Audhumla. We know that Buri the great producer finally coalesced or manifested out of the crystalline ice-block of manifestation, after Audhumla gave her warmth (symbolized by licking with her tongue) to it, in the same manner she sustained the primordial world-being Ymir with her fiery warm milk. We know the Buri became the fore-father of Woden, and that Woden, bright and powerful, born as he was from Giantish and Godly stock alike then SHAPED all the worlds and all life from the primordial giantish forces that filled the early space of reality.

Woden finished the work that had spontaneously sprung from the Void, bringing his Godly mind to the task; he was there to be part of the giving of shape to Middle-earth and giving human beings the gift of spirit; the other worlds were completed, the families of Gods were born and emerged, and all things were kept safe from the giantish forces of the beginning. Wyrd was working out; the world-doom was fixed and all things proceeded towards their destiny.

Notice that in this myth, this true and powerful story, that the Gods were SHAPERS and RULERS of the current world-order; it was the Gods' task to SHAPE the pre-existing elements of Nature into the current order that you now see around you. They then protected that and ruled over it, until the world-order came to an end. Woden and the Gods did not create the materials they then went on to shape; they shaped what was already there, elements and things that came from the same inexhaustible and mysterious force of Darkness and Wyrd that their own godly fore-parents emerged from.

The Void of the Beginning simply spontaneously manifested the primordial elemental forces, from which Giants, Gods, and the elements arose- it was Woden, as the leader of the Gods, who took the raw materials of Nature and literally SHAPED them into the things you see now- trees, animals, land, sea, sky, etc, and whose power, along with the Gods, held all things in the "order" that they have.

The myths tell us that Woden discovered two ash trees, or an ash and an elm, rotting by an ocean, and he bestowed a special godly gift on those organic lumps, making them into the first man and the first woman. He gave them shape, and bestowed "spirit" on them- the spirit being that special mystery that unites us to the Gods, that timeless thing we share in common with them.

Very similar themes emerge from Ancient Greece- from the Earth Mother, through a totally natural process, rose the first humans, but they were not "humans" fully until Prometheus brought them the Fire of the Gods, making them imaginative, creative, and able to create culture and art and civilization.

Two Great Strands

The point here is that these pagan beliefs do not run contrary to evolution- the reality is that Nature is constantly sending forth countless streams of life, and Nature is constantly in flux, always changing, always adapting, growing, living, dying- and every form that Nature births is undergoing great change. Humans, like every other creature or thing- EVEN the Gods- were "born" from the bosom of the ground and the waters, and from the primordial powers, and from the Void.

We humans literally sprang forth by a natural process from the Nerthus or Ertha, Mother of All, the Seas being her primordial "womb", her salty placenta, and the Earth being her belly. The Ash-Trees which were symbolically the "matter" that Woden created the "first man and woman" out of were said to be found by him floating on the shores of a great sea. These trees- an Ash and an Elm- represent the primordially potent and living genetic material that the Allfather bestowed form and spirit on, and thus "creating" human beings- what He did was complete the Wyrd of Humanity by shaping them, and making us to be like him and the other Gods, sharing the Gift of Ond, capable of Wod or inspiration.

It took the Gods, Nature's earlier, greater children, to bestow the special gift on us of Divine imagination and spirit- and to "help" our growth along. Woden shaped that primordial mass of genetic material into a human form- you could say that he (thinking metaphorically) "guided" the process of growth and Fate, helped shape the natural process, and bestowed Spirit onto the finished product, thus "shaping" humans into their finished form.

But again, Woden, in common with all the other Gods, did not "Make" humans out of nothing- Nature simply organically birthed all things, all primordial elements, and the Gods added some guidance and shaping to that, to perfect the world order. We, as parts of that world-order, happen to be fortunate recipients of Godly tampering; with our special godly endowments, we too can come to know the Timeless, come to be like the Gods. We can certainly shape our world and create like them, though to a different magnitude.

Evolution is a natural reality. All beings, including humans, are changing over time- everything changes. Humans are "children of Earth and Starry Heaven", as the ancient Mysteries said- in other words, born BOTH of natural processes, and of Godly hands. But we were not "created" in the sense that christians think humans were "created"- we were not created out of nothing. Being mortals means that the "earthly" aspect of our nature has to continue to flow with nature- death is a reality; our earthy and watery bodies have to keep changing under the influence of natural forces- and die. But our "starry" nature, our Godly nature, (our spirit or the Gift of Woden) does not and cannot "die" utterly. It moves on to halls beyond this world at death, and moves on to another destiny in accord with Wyrd.

In much the same manner that you could "Create" a statue by carving it out of stone, you could say the Gods "created" us; you don't really "Create" the statue except in the most poetic sense of the word- the reality is that a sculptor "shapes" his or her creation out of the materials that were already there, or which Nature herself has birthed.