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Earth Mothers

  • By: Joani Mortenson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The concept of an Earth Mother, Mother Goddess, or Great Goddess derives primarily from the Greeks. The Romans worshipped her as Tellus, or Terra Mater, whom Varro (116–27 B.C.E.) called the Great Mother. Largely suppressed during the beginnings of Christianity, period, she emerged again in the 18th century, when references were made to the Earth as Mother Goddess.

Interest in the Earth Mother and the Great Mother increased significantly in the 19th century. In classical Greek mythology, Gaia was the Earth Goddess. Another manifestation of the Earth Goddess or Earth Mother is the Greek Goddess Demeter, one of the deities that people in Greek society prayed to for a bountiful harvest. She was tied to the underworld; symbolizing the cycle of life, birth, death, and rebirth. ...

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