The Goddess called Earth - Scott Irvine
Mother Earth or Earth Mother is Mother Nature. She is the goddess that our Stone Age ancestors revered until she was supplanted by the more powerful male gods that began shaking things up a bit at the beginning of civilisation around 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The goddess still played an important role in the human endeavour but her power was greatly diminished and she was always second best to the ruling Godhead.
It is the mother that gives form to new life in her womb over nine months before giving birth when the baby is ready to taste its first breath. It is the mother (generally) that feeds and nurtures the child, teach it right from wrong until it is ready to stand on its own two feet and experience life for itself. It was the same for Mother Earth and her human children evolving through the Stone Age, hunting and gathering, making stone tools, exploring new experiences and taking life as it came. The Stone Age Mother Goddess was called Tiamat, the ‘Mother of Life’ by the Sumerian and Babylonian priestly scribes who became a ‘She Dragon’ who had to be destroyed before their male gods could achieve total domination of the spirit and mind of humanity. Tiamat was duly dispatched with her top half imprisoned at the farthest reaches of the heavens and her bottom half sent to the underworld as a vessel for imprisoning the souls of the dead after a life of struggle on the surface under the rule of the gods.
Ever since the dawn of civilisation, corporations under the control of kings have manipulated the body of the Earth goddess for their own gain; mining for stone and other precious ores, clearing forests to build temples, cities, farms and factories to manufacture goods that the population believed they wanted. Things like personal idol statues and religious tools, fancy clothes and jewellery to begin with, and then merchant warehouses and trading piazzas to store and sell commodities from exotic places were needed as trade routes reached further across the globe.
Simple waste middens became large rubbish tips where unwanted and broken goods were left to rot and pollute the land and leech into rivers. It all had a detrimental effect on the ailing Mother Earth. Before long, countries invaded weaker ones for expansion, the spoils of war and slaves as a cheap labour force to keep the royals, the priests, merchants, business and landowners living in the luxury they had become used to.
The first recorded Mother Earth was the Sumerian/Babylonian Anunnaki Ki, queen of the supreme God of the universe Anu, which means Heaven, the creative fire of existence. Anu was seen as the Bull of Heaven and Ki his sacred cow, both born from the chaos that went before. Ki, which means ‘solid or firm ground’ is the primordial goddess of nature and described as being responsible for growth both above and below ground, the queen of the mortal realm on the surface and the underworld realm of the dead. Ki was overshadowed by Anu at every instant, generally only being mentioned as his wife and queen and mother to his royal heirs. Their first child was the god of the air, Enlil, who when he was born separated his parents, Heaven and Earth and filled the space with air.
Almost as ancient as Ki is the Hindu Earth Mother, Prithivi, the ‘Vast One’. She is associated with the fertile cow and is the consort of Father Sky, Dyaus Piti, the ‘Great Red Bull. Prithivi is known for her nurturing, supportive and productive nature and is protective of all those that respect the Earth, nature and every living creature that lives on Earth. The goddess is the mother of the air god Indra and the god of fire, Agni, two of the most popular gods of the early Hindu pantheon. Prithivi became later known as the fertility goddess Bhumi, which means ‘Soil’, the life giver. Prithivi became associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, love beauty, joy and prosperity.
The Greek Mother Earth Goddess Gaia is without doubt the most well known of all the Earth Goddesses. Like the Babylonian Ki, Gaia was born from chaos alongside Tartarus, the Underworld, Erebus, the gloom of the Tartarus, Eros the force of love and Nyx (Night), the power of darkness. Without having to mate with a male, the virgin Gaia gave birth to Uranus, the starry heavens to encircle her and create a home for the gods and goddesses to come later. She generated mountains and oceans and gave life to nature both on the land and in the sea bringing into existence the basic structure of the physical world. Gaia took Uranus as a husband, a sacred union that bought together Heaven and Earth and giving birth to the Titans and all types of strange giant monsters.
The Norse Earth Goddess was Jord (Yord), a giantess (Titan) who was the daughter of Nott (Night) and Annar (Water). Her name means ‘Land or Soil’, e.g. Earth. She is a fertility goddess whose very touch causes trees to fruit and seeds to sprout and is the spirit of nature found in the untamed wild areas that still exist across the world. Jord was very often pregnant by her various lovers, one of which was the Father God Odin which produced probably the most popular Norse God, Thor. Jord is described as having ‘a belly bulging of female flesh, breasts that could drown a man and hips broad enough to spill out triplets with ease’. She was generally one of the most generous and giving goddesses one could hope to meet.
The Celtic Earth Goddess was Danu, (also known as Anu or Dan), who was the mother of the ‘fairy folk’ known as the Tuatha De Danaan, or the ‘Children of the God whose Mother is Dana’. Dana, or Danu, which means the ‘Flowing One’ was a fertility goddess of Ireland whose counterpart is the Welsh Earth Goddess Don. Danu embodies the earth with fertility, fruitfulness and wellbeing. Her name stands for knowledge, wisdom, wealth and abundance and is the mother of the Dagda, the Father God and chief of the Tuatha De Danaan, and the warrior god Nuada who stood in for his brother as king when he was busy elsewhere. Danu is also the goddess of the wind, rivers, water, wells and inspiration. She is the most ancient of Celtic gods.
The Romans called our planet, Tellus, which means ‘Productivity of the Earth’, or Terra Mater, ‘Earth Mother’, so why isn’t our planet called Tellus or Terra today? William Blake often referred to Earth as Urtha in his poetry, but who on earth was Urtha? While researching ‘The Power of Three’ for my next book, Shamash – The Sun of Sin’, I came across the Norns, three Norse goddesses who decides the destiny of both the gods and humanity as well as the dwarfs and giants that populated the planet at the time. The Norns were much like the three Greek Fates of Moerae, Clotho the spinner of the yarn, Lachesis the measurer and Atropis the cutter. The Norn goddesses were Urd, or Fate, Verdandi, or Life and Skuld, or Commitment. Urd is also known as Urth and is the power to predetermine events or the inevitable fortune that befalls a person. To me, this explains perfectly the nature of our planet and our purpose for existing on her; our fate and destiny really is in the hands of a higher authority that governs the events that make up our lives. We really do live on a planet of Fate, or Urth as we know it.
As fate would have it, the destiny of all life, and the planet itself changed forever with the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago. Everything got exponentially worse with more mining and deforestation creating more waste and pollution bringing more wealth and power to the few at the top of the human food chain. As nature suffers, so does all life on the planet of finite resources. Mother Earth is weeping with her (and our) suffering right now. She is a living entity that requires our love and support; the same love and support she gave us before the Anunnaki arrived when we were a young race of hunter-gatherers finding our way and place in the universe.
Today we are on the verge of total destruction from selfish corporations and governments that support the capitalist view of profit at all costs. We cannot eat prestige or power, gold, fancy clothes, flash cars, weapons of mass destruction or money. We cannot quench our thirst with religious dogma or government ideals, business algorithms or media propaganda. Without nature, life cannot exist on this planet called Fate. Remember that the next time you are tempted by an advertisement for some fancy utensil that you really do not need if you took the time to think about it.
Scott Irvine is the author of Ishtar and Ereshkigal
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