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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living On Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... the perception in various cultures of the earth as Mother.


CURWOOD: It's the time of year to wish a happy Mother's Day to that most famous mother of all, Mother Earth. Our use of that term is hardly new. Most cultures have long conceived of an earth mother, an all-powerful, inexhaustible source of vitality and life. It's reflected in folk tales, mythology, and language across the globe. The Aztecs had Coatlique, with two fanged serpents on her face, and a necklace made of hands, hearts, and a skull. The serpents represented fertility. We're not so sure about the skulls. The Babylonians had Mu-Mu-Tiamat, which, roughly translated, means "The Goddess of Earth, from Whom all things come." In Hindu mythology, Mother Earth rests on the head of a cobra. Pious Hindus offer her a prayer before taking their first steps each morning. Our own Mother Earth has roots with the ancient Greeks. They worshiped Demeter, the goddess of fruitful soil of the Earth. The word 'Demeter' is made up of variants of the Greek words for 'earth' and 'mother.' So, happy Mother's Day. This week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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