Mother Nature

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Joseph Werner: Diana of Ephesus as allegory of Nature, c. 1680 Joseph Werner - Diana of Ephesus as allegory of Nature - ca. 1680.jpg
Joseph Werner: Diana of Ephesus as allegory of Nature, c. 1680

Mother Nature (sometimes known as Mother Earth or the Earth-Mother) is a Greco-Roman personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of the mother. The concept is far from universal, and there are no equivalent term or concept in many languages and/or cultures.[ citation needed ]

Nature The phenomena of the physical world, and life in general

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.

Mother female parent

A mother is the female parent of a child. Mothers are women who inhabit or perform the role of bearing some relation to their children, who may or may not be their biological offspring. Thus, dependent on the context, women can be considered mothers by virtue of having given birth, by raising their child(ren), supplying their ovum for fertilisation, or some combination thereof. Such conditions provide a way of delineating the concept of motherhood, or the state of being a mother. Women who meet the third and first categories usually fall under the terms 'birth mother' or 'biological mother', regardless of whether the individual in question goes on to parent their child. Accordingly, a woman who meets only the second condition may be considered an adoptive mother, and those who meet only the first or only the third a surrogacy mother.


Western tradition history

Mother Nature image, 17th century alchemical text, Atalanta Fugiens Atalanta Fugiens - Emblem 2d.jpg
Mother Nature image, 17th century alchemical text, Atalanta Fugiens

The word "nature" comes from the Latin word, "natura", meaning birth or character (see nature (innate)). In English its first recorded use (in the sense of the entirety of the phenomena of the world) was in 1266 A.D.. "Natura", and the personification of Mother Nature, was widely popular in the Middle Ages. As a concept, seated between the properly divine and the human, it can be traced to Ancient Greece, though Earth (or "Eorthe" in the Old English period) may have been personified as a goddess. The Norse also had a goddess called Jord (or Earth).

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

The earliest written usage is in Mycenaean Greek- Ma-ka (transliterated as ma-ga), "Mother Gaia", written in Linear B syllabic script (13th or 12th century BC). [1] The various myths of nature goddesses such as Inanna/Ishtar (myths and hymns attested on Mesopotamian tablets as early as the 3rd millennium BC) show that the personification of the creative and nurturing sides of nature as female deities has deep roots. In Greece, the pre-Socratic philosophers had "invented" nature when they abstracted the entirety of phenomena of the world as singular: physis, and this was inherited by Aristotle. Later medieval Christian thinkers did not see nature as inclusive of everything, but thought that she had been created by God; her place lay on earth, below the unchanging heavens and moon. Nature lay somewhere in the center, with agents above her (angels), and below her (demons and hell). For the medieval mind she was only a personification, not a goddess.

Mycenaean Greek Most ancient attested form of the Greek language from the 16th to 12th centuries BC

Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, on the Greek mainland, Crete and Cyprus in Mycenaean Greece, before the hypothesised Dorian invasion, often cited as the terminus post quem for the coming of the Greek language to Greece. The language is preserved in inscriptions in Linear B, a script first attested on Crete before the 14th century. Most inscriptions are on clay tablets found in Knossos, in central Crete, as well as in Pylos, in the southwest of the Peloponnese. Other tablets have been found at Mycenae itself, Tiryns and Thebes and at Chania, in Western Crete. The language is named after Mycenae, one of the major centres of Mycenaean Greece.

Linear B Syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek

Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing dates to about 1450 BC. It is descended from the older Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, as is the later Cypriot syllabary, which also recorded Greek. Linear B, found mainly in the palace archives at Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae, disappeared with the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the Late Bronze Age collapse. The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing. It is also the only one of the Bronze Age Aegean scripts to have been deciphered, by English architect and self-taught linguist Michael Ventris.

Inanna ancient Mesopotamian goddess

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. She was originally worshipped in Sumer and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar. She was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. Her husband was the god Dumuzid and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur.

Greek myth

Aion, Gaia and four children Aion mosaic Glyptothek Munich W504.jpg
Aion, Gaia and four children

In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of Demeter (goddess of the harvest), was abducted by Hades (god of the dead), and taken to the underworld as his queen. Demeter was so distraught that no crops would grow and the "entire human race [would] have perished of cruel, biting hunger if Zeus had not been concerned" (Larousse 152). Zeus forced Hades to return Persephone to her mother, but while in the underworld, Persephone had eaten pomegranate seeds, the food of the dead and thus, she must spend part of each year with Hades in the underworld. Demeter's grief for her daughter in the realm of the dead, is reflected in the barren winter months and her joy when Persephone returns is reflected in the bountiful summer months.

Greek mythology body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Persephone daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Persephone, also called Kore, is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable, majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. She becomes the queen of the underworld through her abduction by and subsequent marriage to Hades, the god of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

Demeter Greek goddess of the harvest, grains, and agriculture

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito (Σιτώ), "she of the Grain", as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros, "Law-Bringer", as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Demeter would take the place of her grandmother, Gaia, and her mother, Rhea, as goddess of the earth in a time when humans and gods thought the activities of the heavens more sacred than those of earth. [2]

Rhea (mythology) Ancient Greek goddess and Titan

Rhea is a character in Greek mythology, the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus as well as sister and wife to Cronus. In early traditions, she is known as "the mother of gods" and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian gods and goddesses, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right. The Romans identified her with Magna Mater, and the Goddess Ops.

Leeming, Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia

Ancient Rome

Roman Epicurean poet Lucretius opens his didactic poem De rerum natura by addressing Venus as a veritable mother of nature. [3] Lucretius uses Venus as "a personified symbol for the generative aspect of nature". [4] This largely has to do with the nature of Lucretius' work, which presents a nontheistic understanding of the world that eschews superstition. [4]

Lucretius Roman poet and philosopher

Titus Lucretius Carus was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the philosophical poem De rerum natura, a didactic work about the tenets and philosophy of Epicureanism, and which is usually translated into English as On the Nature of Things. Lucretius has been credited with originating the concept of the three-age system which was formalised from 1834 by C. J. Thomsen.

<i>De rerum natura</i> didactic poem by Lucretius

De rerum natura is a first-century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience. The poem, written in some 7 400 dactylic hexameters, is divided into six untitled books, and explores Epicurean physics through poetic language and metaphors. Namely, Lucretius explores the principles of atomism; the nature of the mind and soul; explanations of sensation and thought; the development of the world and its phenomena; and explains a variety of celestial and terrestrial phenomena. The universe described in the poem operates according to these physical principles, guided by fortuna ("chance"), and not the divine intervention of the traditional Roman deities.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas

Algonquian legend says that "beneath the clouds lives the Earth-Mother from whom is derived the Water of Life, who at her bosom feeds plants, animals and human" (Larousse 428). She is otherwise known as Nokomis, the Grandmother.

In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. Pachamama is usually translated as "Mother Earth" but a more literal translation would be "Mother Universe" (in Aymara and Quechua mama = mother / pacha = world, space-time or the universe). [5] Pachamama and her husband, Inti, are the most benevolent deities and are worshiped in parts of the Andean mountain ranges (stretching from present day Ecuador to Chile and Argentina).

In her book Coateteleco, pueblo indígena de pescadores ("Coatetelco, indigenous fishing town", Cuernavaca, Morelos: Vettoretti, 2015), Teódula Alemán Cleto states, En nuestra cultura prehipánica el respeto y la fe a nuestra madre naturaleza fueron primordiales para vivir en plena armonía como seres humanos. ("In our [Mexican] prehispanic culture, respect and faith in our Mother Nature (emphasis added) were paramount to living in full harmony as human beings.") [6]

Southeast Asia

In the Southeast Asian Indochina countries of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, earth (terra firma) is personified as Phra Mae Thorani, but her role in Buddhist mythology differs considerably from that of Mother Nature. In the Malay Archipelago, that role is filled by Dewi Sri, The Rice-mother in the East Indies.

See also

Related Research Articles

Hades Greek god of the underworld in Greek mythology

Hades, in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous. Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father. He and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, defeated their father's generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus.

Proserpina roman deity

Proserpina or Proserpine is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were combined from those of Libera, an early Roman goddess of wine, and the Greek Persephone and Demeter, goddesses of grain and agriculture. The originally Roman goddess Libera was daughter of the agricultural goddess Ceres and wife to Liber, god of wine and freedom. In 204 BC, a new "Greek-style" cult to Ceres and Proserpina as "Mother and Maiden" was imported from southern Italy, along with Greek priestesses to serve it, and was installed in Libera and Ceres' temple on Rome's Aventine Hill. The new cult and its priesthood were actively promoted by Rome's religious authorities as morally desirable for respectable Roman women, and may have partly subsumed the temple's older, native cult to Ceres, Liber and Libera; but the new rites seem to have functioned alongside the old, rather than replaced them.

Eleusinian Mysteries ceremonies in ancient Greece

The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. They are the "most famous of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece". Their basis was an old agrarian cult, and there is some evidence that they were derived from the religious practices of the Mycenean period. The mysteries represented the myth of the abduction of Persephone from her mother Demeter by the king of the underworld Hades, in a cycle with three phases: the descent (loss), the search, and the ascent, with the main theme being the ascent (άνοδος) of Persephone and the reunion with her mother. It was a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spread to Rome. Similar religious rites appear in the agricultural societies of Near East and in Minoan Crete.

Sisyphus king of Ephyra in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology Sisyphus or Sisyphos was the king of Ephyra. He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean.

In Greek mythology, Minthe was a naiad associated with the river Cocytus.

Creiddylad, daughter of King Lludd, is a minor character in the early medieval Welsh Arthurian tale Culhwch ac Olwen.

Chthonic Deities or spirits of the underworld

Chthonic literally means "subterranean", but the word in English describes deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in Ancient Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to that which is under the earth, rather than the living surface of the land, or the land as territory.

Greek underworld location in Greek mythology

In mythology, the Greek underworld is an otherworld where souls go after death. The original Greek idea of afterlife is that, at the moment of death, the soul is separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and is transported to the entrance of the underworld. The underworld itself—sometimes known as Hades, after its patron god—is described as being either at the outer bounds of the ocean or beneath the depths or ends of the earth. It is considered the dark counterpart to the brightness of Mount Olympus with the kingdom of the dead corresponding to the kingdom of the gods. Hades is a realm invisible to the living, made solely for the dead.

Melinoë is a chthonic nymph or goddess invoked in one of the Orphic Hymns and represented as a bringer of nightmares and madness. The name also appears on a metal tablet in association with Persephone. The hymns are of uncertain date but were probably composed in the 2nd or 3rd century AD. In the hymn, Melinoë has characteristics that seem similar to Hecate and the Erinyes, and the name is sometimes thought to be an epithet of Hecate. The terms in which Melinoë is described are typical of moon goddesses in Greek poetry.

Persephone appears many times in popular culture, both as a goddess character and through symbolic use of her name.

In Greek mythology, Despoina was the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon and sister of Arion. She was the goddess of mysteries of Arcadian cults who was worshipped under the title Despoina, alongside her mother Demeter, one of the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Her real name could not be revealed to anyone except those initiated to her mysteries. Writing during the second century A.D., Pausanias spoke of Demeter as having two daughters; Kore being born first, before Despoina was born, with Zeus being the father of Kore and Poseidon as the father of Despoina. Pausanias made it clear that Kore is Persephone, although he did not reveal Despoina's proper name.

An Earth goddess is a deification of the Earth. Earth goddesses are often associated with the "chthonic" deities of the underworld.

Mythic Warriors is an animated television series, which featured retellings of popular Greek myths that were altered so as to be appropriate for younger audiences, produced by Nelvana and Marathon Media. Two seasons of episodes were produced in 1998 and 1999; then aired alongside reruns until 2000, when CBS' abolition of its children's programming resulted in its cancellation. The series was based on the book series Myth Men Guardians of the Legend written in 1996 and 1997 by Laura Geringer and illustrated by Peter Bollinger.

Gaia Greek primordial deity, goddess of Earth

In Greek mythology, Gaia, also spelled Gaea, is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess. She is the immediate parent of Uranus, from whose sexual union she bore the Titans and the Giants, and of Pontus, from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods. Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.

<i>The Goddess Girls</i> childrens novel

The Goddess Girls is a series of children's books written by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, published by Simon & Schuster under the Aladdin imprint. The books are based on Greek mythology and depict the younger generation of the Olympian pantheon as privileged tween students attending Mount Olympus Academy (MOA) to develop their divine skills.

Vegetation deity nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants

A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity. The deity typically undergoes dismemberment, scattering, and reintegration, as narrated in a myth or reenacted by a religious ritual. The cyclical pattern is given theological significance on themes such as immortality, resurrection, and reincarnation. Vegetation myths have structural resemblances to certain creation myths in which parts of a primordial being's body generate aspects of the cosmos, such as the Norse myth of Ymir.

Ascalaphus (son of Acheron) Ancient Greek mythological figure

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  1. Palaeolexicon; Word Study Tool of Ancient Languages;
  2. Leeming, David Adams (2010). Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia. 1 (2 (revised, illustrated) ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 118. ISBN   978-1-59884-174-9.
  3. Leonard, William Ellery (1916). "Proem – Lucr. 1.1". Perseus Project . Tufts University . Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  4. 1 2 Catto, Bonnie A. (1988). "Venus and Natura in Lucretius: "De Rerum Natura" 1.1-23 and 2.167-74". The Classical Journal. 84 (2): 97–104. ISSN   0009-8353. JSTOR   3297566.
  5. Lira, Jorge A.; 1944; "Diccionario Kkechuwa - Español;" Tucumán, Argentina
  6. Alemán Cleto, Teódula (2015). Coateteleco, pueblo indígena de pescadores[Coatetelco, Indigena fishing town] (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Cuernavaca, Morelos.
  7. "This Day in Quotes: "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature"". 3 December 2010.