Earth Mother

Like the Empress in the Tarot pack, a big hearty smiling lady who is invariably portrayed as heavily pregnant and holding a brimming cornucopia, or nursing a baby, while children play at her feet. We are talking here about big homely gals who have a lot of love to give, who are generous, who are bountiful, who can make green things grow and flourish, and who want to share that love and bounty in one way or another — food being a particularly popular one. They want to love and support and nurture others and generally be mother. She is fertile and fecund - her sexuality can scream Big Beautiful Woman and the downside is that she can get a little cranky if she is not appreciated the way she wants to be. Scorned, she can be lethal — and god help you if you get between her and one of her babies.

A goddess of the earth/nature/fertility/motherhood is more often than not an example of this trope. If an Earth Mother is afflicted or badly aspected, she can shade into the Jewish Mother or the My Beloved Smother. And bear in mind the flipside of Brawn Hilda is a vengeful Valkyrie with a very big spear. Compare and contrast Apron Matron.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • When Sailor Jupiter grows up, she will most likely be this - when she's not mowing down Mooks with incredible lightning powers. Her dream is to own either a bakery or a flower shop, and she has a protective streak a mile wide.

  • Allegories of Charity, whether in sculpture or painting, show a Earth Mother, often nursing one of the plentiful children about her.
  • During the French Revolution, before the iconography of Marianne properly evolved, the French Republic was often personified as a mother, which provided a useful excuse to show her with one or both breasts bared.
  • In the crypt of the Völkerschlachtsdenkmal in Leipzig, which was completed in 1913 for the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Nations, there are four giant statues allegorizing patriotic virtues. One of them, Volkskraft ("strength of the people", which apparently means fertility) is a mother suckling two children.

  • While childless, Batman's adversary Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) shows nurturing love for all things green and growing and is cranky on issues such as pollution and pesticides. She has attacked pollutors without mercy in defence of her beloved plants, but has also, (in extremis), nurtured humans, after an apocalypse, with abundant fast-growing fruit and veg.
  • Marvel Comics has the Earth-goddess called Mother Earth (alternatively: Mother Nature), who under various names is member of every single Pantheon. Among others she is Gaia (Hercules' great-grandmother) in the Greek pantheon and Jord (Thor's mother) in the Norse one.

    Fan Works 
  • The character of Doctor Davinia Bellamy in the Discworld. Davinia is a mumsy faded blonde in her middle-to-late thirties who trained as an academic botanist, and ran florists' shops in Ankh-Morpork. She came to the attention of the Guild of Assassins through her ability to understand the language of flowers - she could say Drop Dead! in a variety of interesting floral ways. A loving wife and mother of three boys, she now teaches botany and Aggressive Flower-Arranging at the Guild school. Her ability to nurture difficult flora is legendary. And Gods help anyone unwise enough to threaten her husband or sons. Unexpected bouquets have been delivered.

  • Sybil Vimes in the Discworld stories. Especially after her giving birth to Young Sam Vimes.
  • Eva Wilt in Tom Sharpe's Wilt series. A larger-than-life mother of quadruplet daughters and wife to Henry. Although she is a prime example of the cranky underappreciated kind of Earth Mother.
  • Molly Weasley in Harry Potter. It takes all of two meetings with Harry for her to welcome him into the fold and treat him like an extra son.
  • Charity is represented as a nursing Earth Mother in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.

    Live Action Television 
  • Roseanne Barr, naturally.
  • Television gardener Charlie Dimmock on Ground Force. Charlie was famous for going bra-less while gardening on TV, alleging that it was more comfortable. She managed to upstage her two male co-stars in every show, especially if she wore a loose T-shirt with an open neck, and if it ever rained on their gardening tasks, she was Queen of the Wet T-Shirt on British TV. And what was generally overlooked was that she knew her gardening, too.
  • Comedienne Dawn French, especially in her nurturing Vicar of Dibley aspect.
  • Long-running sitcom The Good Life revolved around a suburban couple who give up the rat race to become completely self-sufficient. Barbara Good (Felicity Kendal) is a woman who typifies the other sort of Earth Mother - the green-fingered garden goddess who makes things grow and flourish. She nurtures her animals with love and acts as caring mother to husband Tom, an overgrown adolescent who hasn't quite made it to mature adulthood yet.
  • Comedienne Miranda Hart is an expy of the Earth Mother. Built way over scale and dwarfing her elegant, tiny, mother, the six-foot-plus Miranda is a woman brimming with love, nurturing to her friends, and seeking the right man.
  • Piper's role when she gets temporarily turned into a goddess in an episode of Charmed.
  • TV archaeologist and historian Bettany Hughes is also a woman who gets close to the earth. Archaeologists bend over a lot whilst digging, trowelling or exploring with fingertips to get the Earth to give up its secrets of the past. Bettany has a lot in common with Charlie Dimmock when on digs, especially in the warm sunny climes she favours such as Greece, Egypt and the Middle East. Hey, there's a lot of archaeology and history there. And shorts, flimsy low-cut t-shirts or vests are mandatory in hot climates.

  • Space rockers Hawkwind were for a while fronted by The Amazing Stacia, a stage dancer who interpreted their music, frequently naked. Stacia stood a little over six feet tall and boasted impressively large breasts. In the unofficial band history, other band members confirm her habit of selecting young, attractive, and preferably inexperienced boys from the audience, whom she would sexually initiate. Recipients of her affections say there was nothing predatory about it - she came across as caring and loving.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Hecate Sisters are a related trope. Mother Goddesses exist in many religions.
    • Babylonia: Ishtar/Astarte
    • Ireland/the Celtic world: Dana, Fand, Brigid
    • Greece: Hera, Demeter, also to some extent Rheia (mother of Hera and Demeter, and also of Hestia, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus) and her mother Gaia (pretty much everybody is ultimately descended from her).
    • Scandinavian and Germanic mythology: Freya (Frigg) and Jord (Hjördis)
    • Rome: Juno, Ceres, and Oriental imports Cybele and Isis
  • Arguably, the Virgin Mary is a Christian take on the idea - more Mother of God than Mother Goddess.

  • The role of Hattie Jacques on Hancock's Half Hour was, as often as not, to be motherly and comforting to Tony Hancock and the boys, usually after some far-fetched get-rich-quick scheme had failed. She often tries to do this through food, even though she was not the world's best cook.

  • The four central characters of Olympic Dames are American high school girls who are suddenly and bizarrely thrust into this role. But nobody else around them appears to notice they have become heavily pregnant overnight...
  • The goddess Cybele in Tales Of The Galli appears in dreams and visions to Katia and Daphne, who she saves in the Colosseum. She is known as The Great Mother and has her her own cult and followed by the Galli.

    Real Life 
  • The British warrior queen Boudicca, who led an ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the Romans. Her spur to doing this was rage at witnessing her daughters being raped by Roman soldiers. The alleged spikes on her chariot wheels were a courtesy detail.