Follow TV Tropes


Earth Mother

Go To
Abundance, 1630
Like the Empress in the Tarot pack, a 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. She is almost always of ample and attractive proportions and will be generous and bountiful in her affections; she 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 motherly. She is both fertile and fecund, but she can get a little cranky if she is not appreciated the way she wants to be. Scorned, she can be lethal — 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, 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.

See also Mother Nature and Water Is Womanly.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: Makoto in her manga/Crystal incarnation best fits this trope with her plant powers, domesticity, wanting a family and to be more girly, and being the Team Mom of the Inners. She also acts like a surrogate mom to Chibiusa in one chapter in the Dream arc. Her dream to own either a bakery or a flower shop is mentioned extensively.

  • Allegories of Charity, whether in sculpture or painting, show an 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 polluters without mercy in defense of her beloved plants, but has also (in extremism) nurtured humans after an apocalypse with abundant fast-growing fruit and vegetables.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Gaia is goddess of the earth, the mother of the gods, and when Hippolyta crafted a figure of an infant in her yearning for a child out of her clay Gaia is the one who granted Diana life, making Gaia her other parent.
  • 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. She is an OC creation of A.A. Pessimal.

  • 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.
  • Charity Carpenter from The Dresden Files has overtones of this. She is fiercely protective of her large family.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Roseanne Barr from Roseanne, 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 in most of her roles, especially the nurturing lady vicar in Vicar Of Dibley..
  • 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.

  • 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 
  • Irish mythology mentions a people called the Tuatha De Danaan. Since it means something like "people of Danu", Danu has been hypothesized as an ancestor/mother goddess-type figure. She's also been associated with the land, making her even more of an example.
  • Classical Mythology has Gaia, though she differs from the popular image of one in a number of ways. For starters she's more associated with rocks and soil, as opposed to plant life, which she is only tangentially associated with. She's also not particularly nurturing, with most of her major stories involving her pursuing the destruction of the Olympians mostly via birthing monsters like Typhon or orchestrating the evisceration of her first husband Ouranos. Demeter has some shades of this as well, with her association with plant life, and being the leader of the agrarian gods. Though she is predominantly Olympian, and therefore celestial. There's also the rather obscure primordial goddess Physis, the goddess of nature, though she doesn't really have any extant myths about her.
  • Norse Mythology has Jord, the personified earth, who seems to be in a similar position as Gaia. She's barely mentioned except as being the mother of Thor and a jotunn. Fjorgyn and Hlodyn are considered other names for her. A male Fjorgynn is also mentioned, but he's also a shadowy, abstract figure who does nothing. The Continental Germanic tribes had a worshiped example similar to Tellus named Nerthus, called Terra Mater by Tacitus. He also mentioned an "Isis of the Suebi" who may or may not have been an example depending on what criteria he used to identify the native Germanic goddess with Isis.
  • Gender Inverted in Egyptian Mythology, where Geb is an earth father married to a sky goddess, Nut. He's pretty benevolent as far as personifications go.
  • Cel was the Etruscan version of Terra Mater/Tellus.
  • Slavic Mythology has Mokosh and (Mate) Zemyla, who may be different names for the same figure. The related Balts also called their mother/earth goddess by a name similar to the latter.
  • A particularly malevolent version is found in Songhai Mythology. Nyaberi means "great mother" and she was the cruel earth goddess. Her followers are ghosts, witches, and other evil spirits.
  • Arguably, the Virgin Mary is a Christian take on the idea: she's the Mother of God rather than a mother goddess.
  • The Tarot card of the Empress symbolizes the Earth Mother, and the star signs of Cancer and Taurus both have aspects of nurturing and motherhood.
  • Both Tara in Buddhism and Sherab Chamma in Bon religions are often considered versions of Mother Earth.

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • For the most part, averted in Golden Sun, as the earth element is associated with the planet Venus and use a Love Goddess vibe instead: the statues in the Venus lighthouse are gracefully built rather than heavy while Golden Sun: Dark Dawn shows that Cybele is a similarly beautiful woman (who attacks by throwing a weird frog-like plant creature).
  • Warcraft III: The Tauren sometimes refer to an Earth Mother (and the Tauren Chieftain's Reincarnation ability is said to come from a strong connection with her).
  • From Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake, the patron goddess of the country of Zofia is Mila. She founded Zofia in the belief that mankind deserved happiness and ease, and blessed the land so that the crops would grow without work or toil from the citizens, who often refer to her as "the Earth Mother." The conflict of the game begins when Mila's blessings suddenly cease, and Zofia is stricken by famine. Mila's belief in pleasure and happiness above all else eventually began to corrupt the more complacent, rapacious Zofian nobles, as they started to let their appetites dictate all else.
  • In the Overlord games, the elves worship a deity known as the Mother Goddess who takes the form of a heavyset woman. It's because of this that Elven Priestesses gorge themselves and it's implied to be why male Elves tend to be Chubby Chasers who serve overweight human women.

  • 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 priests called 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. The two principal Roman-British cities - Colchester and London - were completely trashed and the Romans seriously considered abandoning Britain altogether.