VII: The Great Mother, cont’d

To those who may be receiving one of these post-notifications for the first time: This is not a blog; it’s actually part of a book, and will make little sense to you without knowledge of what has come before—which you can easily obtain, along with a goodly amount of satirical theatre as matters progress, by simply entering into your web browser, opening the menu, and starting at page one. J.J.

ACT THREE: in which a new Hero assumes control of everything.

Scene 1

And even as they argue, there arrives among them this brand new male: the infant Gaim, who actually managed to sleep through the entire row—apparently saving his strength for some greater fight sure to come!

And as he passed through childhood, of course he too thought of his mother as the most important person in the whole world—and soon came to appreciate her mother or his ‘grandmother’, and all his aunts and grand-aunts as well.

But as a male, he especially came to esteem his eldest uncle as a fit model for his own, coming manhood. And so one evening as he approaches adolescence, he couldn’t have been more thrilled when his uncle invites him along to a meeting of that old, traditional enclave of male sophistication and power, the Panther Society—where by the light of the biggest, most impressive fire that he’s ever seen, he’s proud to find himself presented to some gnarled elder called ‘Priest’ as a suitable candidate for membership.

“All male youths aspire to our Society,” he flatly advises the latter as his candidacy is accepted, “—but not everyone makes it. First, you must prove yourself worthy!”

* * *

Then Priest takes some old rattling thng from around his neck, shakes it in Gaim’s face, and calls upon the spirit of the Original Priest to guide them there.

After which, he begins to instruct him in the art of making tools and weapons, dispatching predators, handling fire, and so forth—until after several evenings, he pronounces him proficient in all these manly things.

Scene 2

Then he takes up the next important matter.

Suddenly producing some old, mysterious carvings of a woman and child, he sets them up before Gaim and proceeds to tell him The Story of the Two Brothers.

“As you might expect,” Priest begins his tale, “this world that you see around you was actually created by a woman—although of course, not by your mother, nor even your grandmother, nor your great-grandmother either; but actually, countless generations ago by everyone’s greatest grandmother, whom we in fact know around here as simply Our Grandmother.

“And indeed, this old woman still lives today—in her own world, down there underground,” he directs Gaim’s startled gaze earthward, “—where as the Immortal One responsible for all this, she’s busy making all our food and so forth even as we speak.

“Now then, Grandmother knew from the start that she was going to be hard pressed trying to take care of everything,” Priest continues when he again had the lad’s full attention, “and so she made herself an Immortal Son to help out.

“And as she escorted him from the cave of his birth, she specifically charged him with teaching us people about her and setting the proper example for our behavior before her.

“However, as will sometimes happen, he turned out to be a big, stupid oaf with no real appreciation of his mother as his maker—but rather, a deep envy of her divine power; and so instead of doing her bidding, he actually called upon people to join him in a wicked plot to steal it from her!

“So then she made herself a second son,” Priest informs his rapt young pupil, “—who as it should be, had great respect for his mother and not only carried out her wishes, but soon demonstrated to us how superior reasoning might overcome even the most humongous foe!

“For as you might imagine, it wasn’t long before he found himself confronted by his giant older brother—who by now, had grown quite jealous of him too.

“Whence there arose this tremendous Battle—and I mean, the wicked brother uprooted the biggest tree that he could find and tried to club his younger brother into submission with it!

“But the more intelligent one simply blinded his assailant with a brilliant flash of lightning; followed it up with a loud thunderclap that further frightened him, since the dimmer one couldn’t imagine what had caused it; and contemptuously knocked the tree from his older brother’s hand and sent him stumbling backward into the wilderness for all eternity—ultimately to be joined by everyone like him.”

And after a pause for breath, Priest continues, “So now I suppose you’re wondering just what became of the victorious brother.”

And Gaim nods, utterly mesmerized.

“Well today, we celebrate him around here as the great Lord of Thunder,” Priest informs him: “who essentially formed us into ‘people’ as you and I know them; who taught us all the Divine Laws that I shall soon be passing on to you; who founded the Panther Society, that they should be preserved and strictly enforced for the good of everyone; who actually reappears in our midst from time to time in the form of a panther to punish transgressors; and whose most important lesson—which you’d do well to remember whenever you hear the thunder—is that all problems shall ultimately yield to the light of reason!

“Which is why sometimes you may also hear him invoked around here as the great Lord of Light,” Priest readily acknowledges, “—whose accursed brother is then referred to as the Lord of Darkness.”

* * *

Then Priest claps his hands once sharply, and a giant, awkward man wearing a repulsive looking mask dances furtively out of the forest and approaches the fire in a furtive manner—to be immediately confronted and enjoined in mock combat by a somewhat smaller, more appealing dancer representing the nobler Lord.

And as the accompanying drumbeat grows louder and ever more frenzied, the two masked actors dramatize the Priest’s story of the Illuminated One’s ultimate triumph—while afterward, Gaim and the other men repeat Priest’s hand-clapping sound over and over, thus indicating their approval of both the performers and what surely has to be the story’s only logical denouement.

Scene 3

But while Gaim steadily progresses toward full membership in the Panther Society, one day he happens to find out that not all young men truly aspire to it.

“I certainly believe in the Lord of Light,” this one youth bothers to inform him when they chance to meet one evening just as Gaim is heading out to a Panther meeting, “—but as with my own uncle, I behold him in the sun. You know, it was really a solar eclipse by which Our Lord overcame his stupid older brother—who couldn’t hope to see without sunlight, whereas all that Our Lord needed was his superior wit!

“I mean, you really should come to our Society’s meeting instead,” he urges Gaim with noticeable tension in his voice, “—for according to our Priest, Our Lord of the Sun is beginning to grow impatient with all those who think that they can just continue to ignore him around here.”

* * *

And before long, Gaim finds himself drawn aside by another agitated young man demanding to speak to him about his outrageous slighting of Our Lord of the Moon.

After which, there arrives some anxious emissary from Our Lord of the Morning Star.

And then charging us behind that one, someone representing Our Lord of the Fire and warning of a great conflagration to come unless—

At which point, a great Holy War virtually breaks out around Gaim’s own head—Lord pitted against Lord, or so the matter is presented by their respective priests; who now rush fervidly past the alarmed protests of the old Queen and exort their various supporters to join them in the fray!

And after an unspeakably barbaric showdown—during which several of Gaim’s own relatives, including his uncle, were killed—the fire priest prevails and offers his remaining rivals the choice of either joining his own sect or suffering permanent banishment and becoming forever associated, at least in his own Storytelling, with the universally contemned Lord of Darkness.

Scene 4

And so Gaim and the remainder of the Panther Society, still led by old Priest, come to depart their native land—headed perhaps only their inexplicably displaced Lord quite knows where.

Certainly not out onto the flat, almost treeless plain that they soon come upon, their grizzled leader shakes his head with clear disapproval; for as he stares out at the open grassland—a world inhabited by whole herds of big, ruminant types, indeed stretching on and on for as far as the eye can see—he can’t imagine what people might find to eat out there.

But then Gaim comes up with a suggestion. “Granted that there’s nothing out there to interest a traditional fruit-eater unable to digest grass,” he allows—for people have never acquired the special stomach microbe that would make that possible—”there are all of those other, natural grass-eaters,’ he points out. ‘And so why not simply feed—secondhand, so to speak—on them?”

For a minute, it seems that he might actually gag at the prospect of actually eating another creature—but then, almost before anyone can stop him, he finds himself spearing a young antelope; and barely pausing to thank it for providing him with some desperately needed nourishment, he quickly reduces it to but a lot of dispassioned bones!

Scene 5

And so come evening, Gaim thinks to drag their excess meat over by the fire, lest some other predator only manage to steal it overnight.

However, as it turns out next morning, this just gets it badly singed! Although, most people are just hungry enough to tear into it anyway—and indeed, after a few bites, announce that they actually prefer it that way: ‘cooked’, as such treatment comes to be called: since otherwise, given their lack of true ripping teeth and all, meat is difficult for people to chew and ultimately digest.

“Good thinking!” someone slaps young Gaim on the back as everyone now finds themselves sitting around the fire waiting to carve up a big buffalo roast. “Why, I can hardly believe that at first we people were going to eat this stuff raw—like some animal.”

Scene 6

And now just following the herds this way and that about the vast plain—where not incidentally, they now come to conceive of the world as a perfectly flat disc—indeed, people soon come to feel quite at home there.

Although, eventually they have to wonder just where in the world they might have wandered!

For suddenly they notice the days growing shorter and inexplicably cooler; soon bringing them to shiver, bizarrely and altogether uncontrollably in an increasingly chill wind—if thereby generating a little warmth about themselves, and meanwhile raising tiny, hard bumps here and there about their bodies, apparently that they should retain as much of it as possible until something better might be arranged.

And next thing they know, thir skin begins to lose some of its original, dark color, or the pigment melanin that has hitherto protected them from the hot rays of the sun—now leaving them more sensitive to its little remaining warmth—while their hair also grows thicker and more matted, and the area around their eyes grows some extra protection in the form of a new, fatty layer around them, given the steadily worsening clime.

Well, at least the Great Mother is still lookng after them, people nod knowingly to each other through their furiously chattering teeth—although as the wind picks up and ultimately threatens to benumb them clear to bone and brain, all this hardly seems enough.

* * *

Ah, but again Gaim comes up with an idea.

“Since we people are already partaking of the animals’ flesh,” he points out amid a thick cloud of his own frosty breath one particularly cold morning, “we might as well help ourselves to their hides too to wrap around ourselves for some extra warmth in this miserable, freezing place.”

And so now people take over the others’ hides as well—until after awhile, why, they can hardly imagine anymore how they’d once gotten by in this world, might one only believe, with just their own!

Scene 7

Now if they could only get away from all that wind, people fairly implore their Divine Mother next as they gaze in near despair all around the flat horizon.

And seemingly just like that, they spy another forest in the distance—and hurry toward it, if now only for its promised shelter.

However, about all that they find there is a lot of strange, leafless trees bending every which way in the steadily building gale that continues to nip sorely at people’s own exposed parts as now they turn anxiously this way and that and then that in search of some truer refuge—until finally, they come to huddle in some dense thicket and just stare out at their newest surroundings.

Why, even the animals are different hereabouts, they notice: amid all the swirling dead leaves, they spy a squirrel storing away some nuts, and a fat bear slipping into some distant cave.

And then wouldn’t you know it: some extraordinary, wet, cold white fluff begins to fall and gradually cover the ground itself—soon leaving the world all but unrecognizable.

If the Lord had ever mentioned such a state of affairs, people shake their heads, they certainly couldn’t remember it; nor do they themselves have any idea how they might survive it—notwithstanding that old Priest seems to spend every waking moment these days trying to get through to Grandma!

Scene 8

Then the ground itself grows all frozen and hard, and its very drinking waters glaze over—as something gone quite dead, Gaim finds himself thinking.

So has their Divine Mother died? Whatever’s going on, he hesitates to believe it!

At which point, he personally entreats Grandmother for help—and the Lord himself for guidance—and soon finds himself wondering whether fire might not simply liquify the water again.

And if now there was all this wondrous snow—why, at least it might be packed into some shelter from the wind!

And it also made tracking easier for the hunt; while with no insects about in these frigid conditions, the resulting meat would even hold up better.

And he’s soon teaching everyone that too—around a roaring fire that now comes to burn night and day simply because illumination, cooking and all that aside, it suddenly feels just nice and warm!

Scene 9

But then after awhile, people begin to find the days growing longer and warmer—with the melting snow now revealing succulent shoots rising once more through the soil, and the trees themselves beginning to show signs of bearing fruit again!

“You know, I really can’t imagine what Grandmother has been doing down there all this time,” old Priest appears next to Gaim then and grips his shoulder hard—as all around them, people suddenly begin crying with relief, dancing all about, and otherwise celebrating the ultimate renewal of the world after all—”but at least now it looks like things finally will be getting back to normal around here!”

* * *

Nonetheless, no sooner has everyone grown warm again and regained a little of their lost color—which they now think of as a ‘tan’—than they notice the days growing shorter and cooler and so forth all over again!

“I don’t believe it—I mean, just what’s going on around here, that we people should again find ourselves treated so?” Priest actually cries out then in great exasperation and confusion before everyone.

And the ensuing babble seems to reverberate all about Gaim’s head and follow him straight into the forest next morning, as he finally goes forth to figure that out.

Scene 10

“Okay, everybody gather ’round!” Gaim calls out as he returns to the fire later that day.

And when everyone quickly drops what they’re doing and hurry forth to find out what he has to tell them, he cooly straightens out some small, strange pouch that now hangs around his neck and advises them, “I’m sorry, but the fact is that Grandmother no longer has anything to do with all this. For you see, she herself has now grown so old,” he continues smoothly, “that she has found it necessary to turn her great sustaining responsibility over to her divine daughter, the Earth-mother.

Scene 11

And as everyone stares at the earth in stunned silence, scarcely knowing how to respond, he draws a deep breath and continues, “Now then, it happens that the Earth-mother is a mother as such for only a season—which we might call summer, as in the ‘sum’ of it all.

“For at its end, she too begins to decline, eventually becoming no more than some hag whose almighty power has finally disappeared—thus making our fall.

“While in the end—well, I’m afraid she simply dies!

“But now I have some really great news,” he adds quickly, if helplessly wincing a little as he sees everyone’s eyebrows arch widely at the prospect of their Ultimate Sustainer actually dying. “For would you believe, she eventually arises anew from that cold, lifeless state—that is, she becomes a young virgin again, ready to renew her generation of everything, pushing new greens up through the soil and thus bringing about our spring!”

And breathing easier now as he sees the reasonableness of all this gradually creeping into, well, almost everyone’s eyes, he notes carefully, “it’s this Earth-mother, then—and essentially in her guise as the perpetually recurring Virgin—who really sustains and otherwise looks after her these days, and who should accordingly receive most of our devotion around here.”

* * *

“But then, why did Grandmother make her that way?” someone soon calls out in a puzzled tone.

“Well you see, granted that there’s only so much room up here—making death necessary for all us smart people, “Gaim reiterates calmly—”there’s only so much room down in her Realm too!

“And so from now on, after allowing us to rest there for awhile, she’s going to reincarnate us back to our own world through some new birth, or re-birth—an eternal cycle for which she’d have her daughter duly set the example.”

Scene 12

“Lies, a lot of damned lies,” old Priest shouts angrily, “—why, next thing you know, he’ll be wanting us to believe he’s the Lord of Light himself!” And all red-faced, he leaps to his feet and demands that Gaim be immediately banished for all these radical, and hence dangerous pronouncements.

“Nor is he entirely without support. “You bet, chase his young ass out of here before we all wind up in trouble!” another old man snarls.

To which at least one of Gaim’s own generation can hardly wait to add, “Oh, I definitely agree!”

But most of the latter are inclined to accept this new version of things. “I say chase all them out off here,” another young man proposes without flinching, “so that we truly perspicacious modern people can get on with our more illuminated lives!” And turning squarely toward Gaim, he awaits some decisive move.

“I think it has been pretty obvious lately that some of us around here no longer have our head on straight,” Gaim next addresses the tense crowd now surrounding him. “I mean, I hate to be the one to point it out, but the real problem with that old, dilly-dallying geezer over there,” he points cruelly enough toward his former mentor, “is that he’s so hung up on trying to remain faithful to the teachings of his old-time leader, he couldn’t come up with an original idea around here if his life depended on it! And well, I’m afraid now everyone’s just might,”

And then he goes for the kill. Abruptly reaching for his mysterious neck pouch, he continues, “I’d like to show you all something. And drawing forth a gleaming, blood-red stone the like of which no one has ever seen or even imagined before, he declares, “The Earth-mother herself gave me this and told me that I should display it to whomever might doubt my story here!”

Then he turns to the Queen and proposes, “May this wondrous stone adorn your own person as something clearly betokening your support of the Earth-mother—and of course conferring all of its own not-inconsiderable influence upon your still-sovereign office.”

Scene 13

And so old Priest and his few remaining followers are themselves now banished unto whatsoever outlying parts; while Gaim officially replaces him at the fore of it all and proceeds to reorganize everything accordingly to his own Grand Vision.

For instance, he immediately carves a new statue of the Ultimate One, as best he can—there have to be better carvers around, he thinks to himself—now portraying her as a slender young woman more suggestive of a virgin.

Although at first, people find this so novel that many have difficulty recognizing it as representing the Divine One!

Next, he proposes that the Divine Realm is actually guarded by this Great Bear, and accordingly establishes the Bear Society; after which, he finds a spacious clearing in the forest near where they’d seen that bear entering a cave the previous fall, and declares that the Society will conduct all of its business there—beginning with some new rites specially consecrating everyone to the Earth-mother.

And finally, he invokes the Lord of Light as his personal inspiration in all this, crediting him with the whole idea of the Earth-mother and her new statue; of the Bear Society and its new headquarters; and of all the other important things that he’s now about to teach people.

Scene 14

Then he decrees that people should abide by the Earth-mother’s Laws too—beginning with respecting the earth itself as her divine corpus—as they go about their everyday lives.

That before meals, people should bend forward and touch their lips to the earth as an acknowledgement of the ultimate source of their food—an act that would come to be called kissing: from an ancient word meaning ‘fate’, or ‘divine portion’.

That mothers should briefly touch their newborn to the earth for the same reason.

That people should sanctify their personal relationship with the Earth-mother by simply placing a bit of her sacred soil around their own neck at adulthood and wearing it for the rest of their lives.

That by merely touching this pouch and swearing by it, they’d forever seal all their personal vows and testimonies.

That they should periodically retreat to some remote place in the forest where in solitude they might contemplate the Divine One, perhaps bring her their barren wombs and other personal problems, and reconcecrate their lives to her as might be seemly.

And that at death, their remains should be smeared all over with red clay and carefully trussed up in the fetal position to await that promised rebirth.

And as he’s turning in that evening, Gaim notices with amusement that his teaching about kissing the earth appears to have given rise among the men to a rather silly practice aimed at the seduction of ordinary women!

Scene 15

And next morning, he calls everyone together and advises them that while the Earth-mother certainly has the ultimate responsibility for them, they should now begin to take a little more of it for themselves as they move deeper into fall—a proposition that many indignantly reject at first, and indeed seemingly never cease to grumble about even as it becomes plain that with a little careful preparation, people need not suffer anywhere near as much as last time.

“The Earth-mother helps those who help themselves,” Gaim prods them one day as they come upon a yawning cave, “—I mean look, there lies a fine fall shelter!”

And swiftly evicting a pack of dogs who happened to be living there, he claims the place for people and directs that they should maintain an ongoing fire just within the entrance of their new home.

Scene 16

“Now then, the Earth-mother has already provided all the food that she can for us this time around,” he next points out, “leaving it up to us to gather it up and conserve it as much as possible toward the bleaker days ahead.”

Then he directs everyone to pick the earth clean of all the remaining food-stuff and store it behind the fire—where he suggests that it will best be guarded by all the nursing mothers.

After which, he turns everyone’s attention to hunting: that they should also build up a modest supply of meat to help see themselves through the cold season.

* * *

And to be sure, people soon find themselves with no small hoard of food on hand—while the children typically have some difficulty comprehending why they can’t just wade into all that tasty looking stuff now.

And they generally threaten some awful consequence or ‘trick’ if not allowed to do so—until finally, their elders manage to quiet them with some small treat, if also vivid tales of the Old Hag who’s already moving about out there, somewhere just beyond their safe refuge, and who might well grab them up on her way to the Land of Death if they don’t start behaving themselves.

Scene 17

However, at least one small problem remains as the first snow arrives: the dogs continue hanging about.

If nothing else, they hope to obtain the leftover bones from people’s meat—and meanwhile, they keep barking at similar minded creatures who from time to time show up in their vicinity.

Indeed, people reckon that a few more barks and they just might add these noisy canines themselves to their bulging fall larder!

But then, Gaim reasons, what are a few indigestible bones and occasional barks in exchange for having such a fine system alarm out front?

Scarcely to mention that in the event of some future famine, even dog-meat might prove welcome enough.

And so he makes a pact with the dogs: they can have people’s leftovers—and even share a little in their warm fire, the dogs want further—in exchange for warning people of approaching danger and otherwise helping them with this and that.

* * *

After which, one of the smaller cats in the area has the nerve to approach the women with an offer to help protect people’s larder from all the rodents and birds that are forever hanging about—in exchange for, well, if nothing else, simply all of those pests that it might eat.

And so now people come to welcome that old enemy too—notwithstanding that the jealous dogs soon take to chasing it all about the place at every opportunity!

Today, while the idea of the Great Mother continues to be found throughout the world, in most cases one will find her identified as the common earth—often worshipped by names that translate into our own language as simply ‘Mother Earth’, ‘Earth-mother’, ‘Our Common Mother’, and so forth; while one will also find her referred to and addressed in prayer as ‘Grandmother’, ‘Our Common Grandmother’, and occasionally even ‘Great-grandmother’.

Witness, in our own North America,

  • the Athabascans’ Asintmah
  • the Pawnees’ Atira
  • the Zunis’ Awatelin Tsita
  • the Tongvas’ Chehooit
  • the Senecas’ Eagentci
  • the Cherokees’ Elihino
  • the Iroquois‘ Eithinoha
  • the Arapahos’ Esceheman
  • the Coquille’s Euwana
  • the Tlinglits’ Hayicanako
  • the Chumash’s Hutash
  • the Algonquins’ Ikas
  • the Apaches’ Isanakletch
  • the Yaquis’ Itom Ae
  • the Shawnees’ Kokumthena
  • the Hopis’ Kokyan
  • the Sioux‘s Maja
  • the Crows’ Magurtkh
  • the Comanches’ Mesukwik Okwi
  • the Choctaws‘ Ninah Waiya
  • the Algonquians’ Nokomis
  • the Hopis’ Ragno
  • the Ojibways’ Shkaakaamikwe
  • the Navajos’ Yolkai Estsan

And elsewhere, we encounter her as

  • the Uggric Finns’ Akka
  • the Mayas’ Akna
  • the Ibo Nigerians‘ Ala; mother of the earth, ruler of the underworld, and ultimate generator of all living things
1. Ala
Guardian Newspapers
  • the Mongols’ Altan Telgey
  • the Etruscans’ Altria
  • the Basques’ Ama Lur
  • the early Indians’ Amba
  • the Dravidians’ Ambika
  • the early-Phrygians’ Anieros
  • the Irish-Celts’ Anu
2. Anu
Private Collection
  • the Ashanti Ghana’s Asase Ya
  • the Mongols’ Atugan
  • the Caroline Islands’ Audjal
  • the Phyrigians’ Axiocersa
  • the Zunis’ Awitelin Tsita
  • the Gauls’ Berecyntia
  • the Hindus’ Bhumidevi
  • the ancient Etruscans’ Cel
  • the Mayans’ Chibirias
  • the early Aztecs’ Chiconahui
  • the Aztecs’ Coatlicue
3. Coatlicue
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
  • the early Mesopotamians’ Damkina
  • the ancient British Deae Matres
  • the ancient Irish Dechtire
  • the Korekore Zimbabwes’ Dzivaguru
  • the Gonja Africa’s Eseasar
  • the Siberians’ Gazar Eej
  • the ancient Irish Elaine
  • the ancient Germans’ Erda
  • the Africans’ Eseasar
  • the Etruscans’ Fauna
  • the Norse Fjorgyn
  • the ancient Greeks’ Gaia; yes, this is the same Gaia that was listed earlier as the Greek primordial mother; because the ancient Greeks too believed that the earth was the ultimate mother of everything
4. Gaia
Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Rome
  • the early Mesopotamian Gat Um Dug
  • the Polynesians’ Hakahotu
  • the Scandanavians’ Hertha
  • the Norse Hlodyn
  • the Chinese Taoists’ Hòutû
  • the Siberians’ Icci
  • the Yakut Siberian Itchita
  • the Japanese Shintos’ Izanumi
  • the Buddhist Chinese Jian Lao
  • the Icelandic Jörð
5. Jörð
Ny Carlsberg Glyptokek Museum, Copenhagen
  • the ancient Sumerians’ Ki
  • the Sabines’ Larunda
  • the Leitei India’s Leimarel Sidabi
  • the ancient Finns’ Luonnotar
  • the Estonians’ Ma-Ema
  • the Etruscans’ Marica
  • the Hatians’ Marinette
  • the Russians’ Mat Zemlya
  • the Poles’ Mokoš
6. Mokoš
Private Collection
  • the Panamanian Cunas’ Nana Dumat
  • the Huichols’ Nakawe
  • the ancient Germans‘ Nerthus
7. Nerthus
  • the ancient Sumerians’ Ninhursag
  • the Bribris’ Nungui
  • the Congo’s Nzambi
  • the Celtic/Gauls’ Onuava
  • the Incas’ Pachamama
8. Pachamama
  • the Polynesians’ Papahānaumoku
  • the Maoris’ Papatuūānuka
  • the Thais’ Phra Mae Thorani
  • the Hindus’ Prthvī Mātā
  • the ancient Norse Sif
  • the Lobis’ Tangba
  • the Khond Indians’ Tari Pennu
  • the ancient Romans’ Tellus Mater
  • the Tongan Polynesians’ Touia Fatuna
  • the Indonesians’ Untombinde
  • the Mongols’ Umay
9. Umay
  • the Mongolians’ Yer Tanri
  • the ancient Thracians’ Zemele
  • the Latvians Zemes-Māte
  • the Lithuanians’ Žemyna

The hundred or so Earth-mother examples alphabetized above are but a small fraction of the many similar figures who are, or were until very recently still worshipped among the world’s forty-two hundred living religions—and who knows by how many more now long disappeared into the past.

While as for the original seasons . . .

  • Crone: ancient Ireland’s third aspect of the ‘triple deity’, signifying fall and by extension post-menstrual women, old age, death, and the natural end of all things
  • Eostre: Celtic deity of springtime and animal reproduction, from whose name the word ‘Easter’ is derived
  • Erce: Anglo-Saxon triple deity who annually cycled through maiden, matron, hag images
  • Éire/Erin: ancient Irish deity who was one of the three seasonal queens of the Tuatha De Danaan; source of Ireland’s official name, Éire
  • Hiribi: Canaanite summer deity
  • Horae: early Greek deities of the seasons, Thallo (spring), Auxi (summer), and Carpo (fall); while the year itself came to be known as the ‘Dance of the Horae’
10. Horae
Detail of Attic vase
  • Horae: a later set of the above, Dike, Eunomia, and Eirene, who were said to preside over the natural portions of time and promote the fertility of the earth by the various kinds of weather that each generated
  • Iarila: Russian spring deity
  • Idem Huva: Ugric Finnland fall deity
  • Kono Hana Sakuya: Japanese spring deity
11. Kono Hana Sakuya
  • Luot Hozjit: Saami Finnland summer deity
  • Ma Ku: Chinese spring deity
  • Paivatar: Finnish summer deity
  • Pattinidevi: Sri Lankan summer deity
  • Rafu Sen: Japanese spring deity
  • Vasantadevi: Tibetan Buddhist spring deity
  • Vesna: Slavic spring deity
  • Yaya Zakurai: Japanese spring deity


Photo Credits

1: Pinterest

2: Gods and goddesses in Celtic Mythology

3: Ancient History Encyclopedia

4: Pinterest

5: Wikipedia

6: Wandering Through Mythology

7: Pinterest

8: Pinterest

9: Revolvy

10: La Audacia de Aquiles

11: Twitter