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What is Mother Nature?

Mother Nature (also known as Mother Earth or the Earth Mother) is a personification of nature who, in the form of a mother, focuses on the life-giving and nurturing qualities of nature.

The term Mother Nature, also known as Mother Earth or The Earth Mother, is an attempt to personify nature as an entity that exists on the planet. This personification of nature is a direct effort to focus on nature’s life-giving and nurturing attributes. The embodiment of these attributes is the primary reason behind this parallel of a Mother and Nature in this term.

European Tradition History

The term “nature” originates from the Latin word “natura." This word denotes birth or character. In the understanding of English as a language, this word was first utilized (in accordance with the phenomena that it is in this world) in 1266. “Natura,” along with the personification of Mother Nature, were two massively known concepts in the Middle Ages. This concept was conveniently placed as an idea between the divine and the human. The earliest traces of the idea can be found in Ancient Greece, where Earth (or “Eorthe'' in the Old English period) was personified as a goddess. Additionally, the Norse also had a goddess known as Jörð (Jord, or Erth).

The earliest written use of the notion is in Mycenaean Greek. Ma-ka, which was transliterated as ma-ga, meant “Mother Gaia.” This “Mother Gaia” was written in Linear B syllabic script of the 13th or 12th century BC. The pre-Socratic philosophers in Greece invented the concept of nature after abstracting the entire world phenomena as singular. This singularity was inherited by Aristotle and was known as physis.

After a considerable time since this theory, the later medieval Christian thinkers postulated that they didn’t see nature as an all-inclusive entity. They viewed nature as a creation of God, whose place was on the Earth, below the ever-present heavens and moon. According to their theorization, nature was present somewhere in the center, with angels above her and demons below. Therefore, for the medieval mind, nature was not a Goddess, only the personification of a Mother for all living beings on this planet.

Greek Myth

According to Greek Mythology, Persephone, the daughter of Demeter (goddess of the harvest), was kidnapped by Hades (God of the dead) and was taken to the underworld in the capacity of his queen. Demeter was so distraught by this abduction that no crops grew as a result of his sadness. If Zeus had not interfered in the ordeal, the entire human race would have perished under a cruel, biting hunger.

Zeus demanded Hades to return Persephone to her rightful place, that is, to her mother. However, while in the underworld, Persephone had consumed pomegranate seeds (the food of the dead), so she was obligated to spend some part of each year in the underworld with Hades.

Demeter’s happiness and joy for when Persephone returns are symbolized in the bountiful summer months, and her grief because of the loss of her daughter to the realm of the dead, is reflected in the barren winter months.

Demeter was said to replace her grandmother, Gaia, and her mother, Rhea, as the goddess of the Earth, during the duration when humans and God thought that the activities and actions of the heavens were comparatively more sacred than those of Earth.

Ancient Rome

Lucretius, a Roman Epicurean poet, started his didactic poem De Rerum Natura by mentioning Venus. He addressed Venus as a classic mother of nature. Lucretius utilized Venus as a symbol of personification for the rejuvenating and generative aspect of nature. This personification was primarily a result of Lucretius' nature of work, which focused on presenting a non-theistic comprehension of the world that renounces superstition.

Basque Mythology

Amalur, also known as Ama Lur or Ama Lurra, was recognized as the goddess of the Earth in the ancient Basque people’s religion. Amalur was the mother of Ekhi, and Ilazki, the sun, and the moon, respectively. Her name was associated with “mother earth” or “motherland.” The 1968 Basque documentary Ama lur celebrated the Basque countryside.

Indigenous Peoples of America

According to the Algonquian legend, beneath the clouds lives the Earth-Mother from whom is derived the Water of Life, who feeds plants, animals, and humans at her bosom”.

Other than this, In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is the name given to a fertility goddess who is known to preside over planting and harvesting practices. Pachamama is usually translated directly as “Mother Earth,” but a more accurate translation would be “Mother Universe.” This is because, in Aymara and Quechua, mama = mother / Pacha = world, space-time, or the universe. Pachamama and her husband, Inti, are known as one of the most benevolent couple deities. They are worshiped in various parts of the Andean mountain ranges, stretching from present-day Ecuador to Chile and Argentina.

In her book Coatetelco, Alemán Cleto states, “In our [Mexican] prehispanic culture, respect and faith in our Mother Nature (emphasis added) were paramount to living in full harmony as human beings.”

Southeast Asian Countries

The Earth (terra firma) is usually personified as the Phra Mae Thorani in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand’s Mainland Southeast Asian countries. However, her role is greatly distinguished from Mother nature in Buddhist mythology. This role is completed by Dewi Sri (also known as The Rice-mother in the East Indies) in the Malay Archipelago.


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