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Friday, March 27, 2015

Mother Nature – Mythic Persons #1

My Lady Yggdrasil
Until now I've been focusing on mythological species of humanoids or mythic peoples. This is my first mythic persons post. The myth or personification of Mother Nature has been on my mind lately as I continue to try to define this blog and my brand as an author. Also, depending on whether you look at nature goddesses/ personifications as separate entities or conflate them into different names for the same entity, they are so prevalent that they are practically a population of their own. 

Swelling Lilac Bud

I started my research with Mother Nature, but that is a generally shallow research topic due to the vagueness of this metaphoric reference. Mostly, Mother Nature is an enlightenment replacement for an unexamine-able and undissect-able God, because nature can be put under the microscope. In the Wikipedia article on Mother Nature there are some medieval references to the feminizing and degrading of nature to give humans permission to exploit and study it, “a great … pregnant automation.” [Man, of man! This is enough to give my feminazi streak a nightmare!]
Crocuses -First Flowers From My Garden This Year

I found the bottom of the research in a few sentences and had to move on to Mother Earth and Earth Goddesses. Aren't paleolithic Earth goddess statuettes fascinating? One called Venus of Berekhat Ram may have even been made by Homo erectus. There are some seriously deep connections for this reverence of life and fertility.

Later culture seem to each have their own Earth Goddess. I can understand the prevalence. After the agricultural revolution the success of the crops each year determined life or death for early people.

Crocuses from my Garden This Year
Here are some examples of Earth Goddesses/personifications from around the world:

Earth Mother – Common (fertility/motherhood)
Mahimata – Indian (Great Mother)
Gayatri – Hindu (mother of all creation)
Bhumi – Buddhism (mother deity of the Earth)
Phra Mae Thorani – Southeast Asian (Earth)
Happy Spring Moss
Nokomis – Algonquin (grandmother)
Spider Mother – Native American (Earth)
Pachamama – Andean (revered Earth mother)
Papatuanuku – Maori (Earth mother)
Ki {Gi, Ge, Qi, Qe}– Sumerian (Earth)
Ninhursag – Sumerian (lady of the sacred mountain)
Nintu {Mami, Mamma, – Sumerian (lady of birth)
Arura {Aroura} – Mycenaean (arable land/plough)
Ma-ka – Mycenaean (Earth)
Gaia – Greek (Earth)
Rhea – Greek (Earth)
Demeter – Greek (harvest)
Kubau {Hepa, Heva [Eve]} – Akkadian (mother of life)
Cybele {Kubala} – Phygian (mother of the mountain)
Inanna / Ishtar – Mesopotamian (nature)
Jord {Fjorgyn, Hlodyn} – Norse (Earth)
Danu {Danann, Don} – Celtic (mother/water/land)
Zeme – Slavic (mother of Earth)
Mut – Egyptian (source of all life)

I'm just scratching the surface of the number of names in different cultures for Earth - Nature - Mother of All Life Goddesses / personifications. There are lots more than I can really include here.

1. Having just passed the International Day of Forests and coming up to Earth Day and Arbor Day next month, does spring make you think of Mother Nature like it does me?
Another Crocus in the Sunshine

2. For a interesting mythology to science crossover, what do you think of the Gaia Hypothesis that states that the Earth functions as a single big organism maintaining it's own homeostasis?

If you want to look into this bit of science check out Gaia Hypothesis  for a Wikipedia article and Sulfur May Hold the Key to Gaia Theory for a more recent (2012) further study.


Anonymous said...

Its autumn here in the southern hemisphere but I was just reminded of spring due to Easter - I was discussing with my son the Christian and pagan elements to the celebration. Reflecting on paganism I thought - it is good to wonder at and give thanks for your environment, for it is fundamental to your survival.

It reminded me what a wonderful thing the seasons are - I have lived in a desert environment for a few years and I missed the seasons so very much.

I don't think consciously of Mother Nature during spring, but I do feel part of something big and wonderful with each passing season - particularly winter and spring.

Re: Gaia, I have wondered about the planetary effect of so many organisms - like our own bodies being composed of cells. It may be different us but it is a system - the atmosphere, rivers, oceans are all affected by the life on Earth. I watched an amazing video recently about the enormous effect of reintroducing wolves in Yellowstone - how it even changed the rivers of the park.

I'm fascinated by the idea of a planetary consciousness - does it exist? Can it exist? Is it a form of evolution? If our minds are solely contained within our brains then perhaps not. In any case, I find it fertile ground for a SFF story.


Firabella Rose said...

Great job as always! I look forward to your next post. Although when you said you'd research mother nature I have to admit I was expecting something a tad bit different since mother nature is considered to be basically the one who created the trees and nature portion of the Earth. She is supposed to be a healer of sorts since she is in the business of herbs. But All in all you surprised me with actual facts and it was good. I love learning new thins from you!


KC Trae Becker said...

BronzeOracle, I love the seasons, but this year winter on the NE coast of the USA was brutal. And winter still keeps visiting us even though it's nearly May. A desert sounds pretty nice when I'm out coaching soccer in 40 degrees.

Gaia: Yes, the Earth is clearly a system. I'm not feeling the planetary consciousness thing yet, but it's possible. Consciousness is a mystery that often defies location even in a human brain. Certainly SF material.

KC Trae Becker said...

Rose, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I was just focusing on the mythology of Mother Nature at this point. I plan to eventually do more specific research on animals and (yea!) plants at some point for future posts. It will take more time and work to fit those into blog form than I currently have available. Mythology seems to be a popular topic and easier to research right now.