Follow TV Tropes

Following

Earth Mother

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Caritas_EarthMother_8800.JPG
Advertisement:

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.

Advertisement:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: Makoto" 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.

    Art 
  • 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.

    Comics 
  • 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.
  • 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.
Advertisement:

    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.

    Literature 
  • 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 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.
  • 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 favors such as Greece, Egypt, and the Middle East.

    Music 
  • 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 
  • Mother goddesses exist/existed in many religions. Unfortunately, neopagans have a bad habit of misinterpreting almost every goddess under the sun as a mother/fertility goddess even when there's no evidence to support their claims. Yet they still claim to be worshiping the actual religion of some dead, ancient society instead of their own made up hokum. At least Wiccans admit their religion is Newer Than They Think.
  • 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 this trope.
  • Classical Mythology: Generally not very prominent in Greece, probably due to a mix of most of the writers of myth being city dwellers and thus having no need for earth deities, Greece being extremely poor for farming, and the society being patriarchal. Most of the popular mother goddesses were imports, like Cybele and Isis. Cybele in particular was bizarrely associated with Rhea, who only existed in backstory to give birth to Hades, Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Poseidon, and Zeus and then promptly disappeared from myth. None of her kids seem to miss her much. Hera in The Iliad visits her foster mother Tethys instead of her. Gaia is, if anything, a twisted subversion. She's the personified earth who's the grandmother and great-grandmother of the Olympians, but she's outright hostile to them and sends her kids the Gigantes to overthrow Zeus. The only kids she was ever interested in protecting were the monstrous ones. Aside from this, she is solely an abstract concept that received no cult worship. Demeter was the closest thing the ancient Greeks really had to this trope. She was the goddess of grain and agriculture (among other unrelated things) and heavily associated with her daughter Persephone. To say she was upset when Hades kidnapped her is an understatement. Together the two were the focus of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Hera may have been this to at least some of her worshipers and some scanty references seem to imply she was a goddess of childbirth at one time, but normally Eileithyia and/or Artemis are thought of as being the goddesses of childbirth. However, mythology supports no such view; she mostly exists to take revenge on Zeus' mistresses and their kids though it's probable the written myths record a lopsided view of the goddess. Neopagans mostly seem to ignore her for other goddesses mythology treats more kindly, such as Artemis, Athena, and Aphrodite.

    • The Romans seemed to have been a bit more keen on them, though considering their soldiers were farmers in the off-season, this makes a lot of sense. In addition to Ceres, they actually worshiped their version of Gaia, Tellus, later to become better known as Terra Mater. She seems much closer to this trope than Gaia could ever hope to be. A Spear Counterpart called Tellumo or Tellurus is rarely recorded. Juno was notably a goddess of childbirth (under her epithet Juno Lucina). Diana only seems to have become a goddess of childbirth due to syncretism with Artemis. Cybele and Isis were popular as imported goddesses among the Romans as well.
  • 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.
  • Arguably, the Virgin Mary is a Christian take on the idea: she's the Mother of God rather than a mother goddess.

    Radio 
  • 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 the 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).

    Webcomics 
  • 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.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback