Tag Archive: mother earth


Goddess Tellus Mater

“Mother Earth” by *MD-Arts

“Tellus Mater’s themes are earth, ecology, promises, abundance, prosperity and fertility. Her symbols are the globe, soil and grain.  The Roman Earth Mother celebrates today’s festivities, the Earth’s Birthday, by sharing of Her abundance, being a Goddess of vegetation, reproduction, and increase. In regional stories, Tellus Mater gave birth to humans, which is why bodies are returned to the soil at death – so they can be reborn from Her womb anew.

According to James Ussher, a seventeenth-century Anglican archbishop, God created the earth on October 26, 4004 B.C.E. While this date is uncertain at best, it gives us a good excuse to honor Tellus Mater and hold a birthday party on Her behalf.

Make a special cake for the Earth Mother out of natural fertilizers. Take this to a natural setting (don’t forget the candle). Light the candle and wish for the earth’s renewal, then blow it out, remove the candle, and bury your gift to Tellus Mater in the soil, where it can begin manifesting your good wishes!

While you’re outside, pick up a pinch of soil, a stone, or any natural object that strikes your eye and keep it close. This is a part of Tellus Mater, and it will maintain her power for abundance wherever you go today. It will also help you stay close to the Earth Mother and honor the living spirit of earth in word and deed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“In ancient Roman religion and myth, Tellus or Terra Mater (‘Mother Earth’) is a Goddess of the earth. Although Tellus and Terra are hardly distinguishable during the Imperial eraTellus was the name of the original earth Goddess in the religious practices of the Republic or earlier.  The scholar Varro (1st century BCE) lists Tellus as one of the di selecti, the twenty principal gods of Rome, and one of the twelve agricultural deities.  She is regularly associated with Ceres in rituals pertaining to the earth and agricultural fertility.

Tellus/Pax panel of Ara Pacis

The attributes of Tellus were the cornucopia, or bunches of flowers or fruit. She was typically depicted reclining.  Her male complement was a sky god such as Caelus (Uranus) or a form of Jupiter. A male counterpart Tellumo or Tellurus is mentioned, though rarely. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia (Gē Mâtēr), and among the Etruscans She was Cel. Michael Lipka has argued that the Terra Mater who appears during the reign of Augustus is a direct transferral of the Greek Ge Mater into Roman religious practice, while Tellus, whose temple was within Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), represents the original earth Goddess cultivated by the state priests.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us: “The Roman ‘Mother Earth’ was honored each April 15 [Fordicidia], when a pregnant cow was sacrificed and its unborn calf burned.  The Romans tried to offer appropriate tribute to each divinity and they felt that the earth – pregnant in spring with sprouting plants – would especially appreciate such a sacrifice.

“Ceres” by ~rebenke

Tellus’ constant companion was Ceres, the grain Goddess, and the two of them interested themselves not only in vegetative reproduction but in humanity’s increase as well.  Therefore, they were invoked at every marriage that they might bless it with offspring.  Tellus too was considered the most worthy Goddess on whom to swear oaths, for the earth, witnessing all doings on Her surface, would see that an oath taker kept his promise.  Finally, Tellus, to whom the bodies of the dead were returned as to a womb, was the motherly death Goddess, for unlike Her Greek counterpart Gaia, Tellus was associated with the underworld as well as the earth’s surface” (p. 293 – 294).

“Nerthus” by MarisVision

On a side note, “the identity of the Goddess Nerthus, called Terra Mater, Mother Earth by Tacitus in Germania, has been a topic of much scholarly debate.”  Click here to read a fantastic article by William Reaves entitled “Nerthus: Toward an Identification”.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Tellus Mater”.

Reaves, William P. “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Wikipedia, “Terra (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Berger, Pamela C. Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint.

GardenStone. The Nerthus Claim.

Lipka, Michael. Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach.

Novaroma.org, “Fordicidia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Cels“.

Wikipedia, “Fordicidia“.

Goddess Papa

“Inward Journey” by Gilbert Williams

“Papa’s themes are providence, thankfulness, abundance, earth, fertility, weather, grounding, the harvest and the moon. Her symbols are the moon, harvested foods, rainwater and rocks.  Polynesians summon Papa to help in all earthly matters. She is, in fact, the Earth Mother who gave birth to all things by making love to the sky. To this day, the earth and sky remain lovers, the sky giving its beloved rain for fertilization. Papa is sometimes known by the alternative title Papa Raharaha, ‘supporting rock’, through which She provides foundations and sustenance for our body, mind, and spirit.

Harvest moon festivals take place during the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. The full moon here represents the earth (Papa) in all its abundance and the crop’s maturity. If it’s raining today, skip an umbrella for a moment and enjoy a little of the sky’s love for Papa. Gather a little of the water and drink it to encourage more self-love.

Carry any crystal or stone with you today to manifest Papa’s firm foundations in all your endeavors. And definitely integrate harvested foods into your menu. Some that have lunar affiliations include cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, grapes, lettuce, potatoes, and turnips. Thank Papa for Her providence before you eat, then ingest whatever lunar qualities you need for that day or for the rest of the year.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Papahanaumoku (literally, broad place who gives birth to islands), or Pāpā, is the name of the Kanaka Maoli creator Goddess in Hawaiian mythology. Together with Her husband Wākea (sky father) Pāpā is the ancestor of all people and Kalo, and mother of islands as the Kanaka Maoli manifestation of Mother Earth.” [1]

“Papa & Wakea” by Linda Rowell Stevens

Patricia Monaghan writes: “The word we use for father was used by the Polynesians to summon mother earth, who existed from the beginning in perpetual intercourse with Her lover, the say god Rangi.  They left no room between them, creating darkness everywhere, which stifled the gods that resulted from the divine union.  Finally, the young gods decided to separate their parents.  Although apart, the pair remained lovers still; the earth’s damp heat rose lustfully to the sky, and the rain fell from heaven to fertilize beloved Papa” (p. 248).

Kalo, also known as the taro plant.

“There are many legends surrounding Papa…According to [one] legend, Papahanaumoku was born in Halawa Valley, Oʻahu and spent Her early childhood there. She travelled throughout the islands, and eventually wed Wakea. Together they had a daughter, Hoʻohokukalani (literally, one who creates the stars of heaven). As the girl grew, Wakea fell in love with his daughter and began to have an intimate relationship with her. He tricked Papa (in some versions of the story, the institution of the kapu system was part of his scheme) in order to keep Her away, so that he could seduce Hoʻohokukalani. When Papa discovered the truth, She was furious. However, when Hoʻohokukalani gave birth to a stillborn baby, it was Papa who named the child Haloa and buried him in the soft earth; from that place sprung the first kalo. Hoʻohokukalani again mated with her father Wakea, and had a living child, who was also named Haloa. This child became the ancestor to all Kanaka Maoli, or all humans (depending upon interpretation). [2]

“Papahanaumoku is worshipped by Native Hawaiians, especially by women, as a primordial force of creation who has the power to give life and to heal. A women’s temple, called Hale o Papa, is the primary religious structure associated with Her worship. Hale o Papa are often built in connection with Luakini, or men’s temples (places of ‘official’ ceremony, which are primarily dedicated to the gods  and Lono), although it is believed by many practitioners that they may also exist independently.

Widespread destruction of religious structures by the forces of Kahekili II and by the Christian-converted kahuna, Hewahewa have made archaeological proof of many known sites difficult. Some also question the possibility of regular ‘covering up’ and/or ‘minimizing’ of archaeological and historical data, due to the impact of this data on development interests and other economically powerful factors.” [3]

“In the Aloha ʻAina movement, Papa is often a central figure, as Her spirit is that of the life-giving, loving, forgiving earth who nurtures human life, and who is being abused by the misdeeds of mankind, especially in regard to the abuse of nature.

Papahānaumokuākea MNM approximate boundary outlined

In 2008, Papahanaumoku and Wakea’s names inspired the newly inaugurated Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Papa”.

Wikipedia, “Papahanaumoku“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Donch.com, “Heiau: Native Hawaiian Temples“.

Hawaiialive.org, “Moku‘ula“.

Powersthatbe.com, “Goddess Papa“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Papa and Wakea“.

Wikipedia, “Rangi and Papa

 

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