Who is mother Earth?

Do you let her exist in her own right? Or do you feel a need to create a character of her?

Lucy the Oracle
6 min readJun 7, 2024
Photo by Daniel Dan on Unsplash

Generally speaking, my blog is atheist-friendly. I’m not sure about this article, though. Feel free to skip if you’re not into that. (Or enjoy the metaphoric message).

Today I bring you a reflection that most people agree with, deep down. The only ones who don’t agree are the few cult leaders with daddy issues who wish they had never left their mothers’ womb. I’m saying this matter-of-factly and without sugarcoating, so take your own conclusions.

You see, there’s a phenomenon called anthropomorphising — giving human likeness to that which is not human. It’s sometimes done to gods. Is it bad? I don’t know for sure. It’s certainly not my cup of tea, but it works for some cultures. The thing is, these cultures have safeguards against the dangers of doing that; But when you aren’t a member of these cultures, and you anthropomorphise gods, that’s quite dangerous. This habit can turn you into a cult leader without realising, because of the inevitable human-god enmeshment (in a bad way) it can generate.

Personally, I have found compromise on the belief that gods are shape-shifters. They can look like us occasionally, to avoid scaring us… But they don’t have to. (Much like angels in the Bible). This would also explain why Apollon is a woman when he visits the far north, or Dionysos changes skin colour as if it was clothing. It isn’t always the same human shape, ya know.

The above probably sounds like a tangent, but it isn’t. We love assuming we’ve got everything under control. “Oh, I’m making a representation of a god here but it’s fine, I don’t literally think they’re human”. Are you sure? Are you subconsciously sure about that? Don’t be so sure. You wish you had this under control, but in truth you probably don’t.

One such problem is a god’s gender. Yes, I’m thinking what you’re thinking. Why “mother” Earth? Can’t it be father Earth (the Egyptian thought so)? Can’t it be genderless, asexually reproducing Earth? Can’t it be baby Earth? The truth is probably far beyond any of my guesses here… But when we anthropomorphise Earth, this gets a little harder to remember that “she” won’t literally be a human mother with a belly and breast milk and a protective touch full of affection and whatnot, doesn’t it?

*eats popcorn*

Can’t help it, guys. I’m pretty close friends with the Picts so I get a bit biased. (Cue their animal-shaped and abstract shape gods).

I don’t mean to insult the Ancient Greek. In fact, I agree with most of what they believed. One of my favourite parts of their traditions is the fact they didn’t name children after gods. They’d have theophoric names (derivatives, like Artemisia for example) but they didn’t straight-up give a god’s name to a child. That would be hubris. But have you ever wondered… Why was that hubris? Isn’t imitation flattering? I used to think so myself, but recently I’ve been questioning that.

You see, when you name a child after a god, maybe it isn’t bad practice because of the imitation (we’re all connected to the gods anyway). Maybe it’s bad practice because it blurs the line between human and god in our collective unconscious. That’s just like representing them in human shape, which can eventually lead to us expecting them to subscribe to human law or human thought (according to some Celtic tribes).

Blurring the line between human and god too much is bad for a number of reasons, but the one that stands out to me for the sake of this article is projection. Instead of holding space for this divine being to exist as a “separate species” with their own mysterious ways of being in the world… We project our human experience onto them. That’s similar to collecting sea water in a little glass and saying “I have the ocean in my hands”. (Half-true, but not at all respectful to the vast ocean before you).

The more I hear people saying, left, right, and centre, “if god existed, there wouldn’t be suffering in the world”, I can’t help but wonder — are they anthropomorphising god as a “helicopter mom” they wish they had as a child? Because if so, they’re not worshipping a god. They’re worshipping a wish-fulfilment fantasy. Ya know, much like some fanfiction writers create so-called Mary Sues in order to fulfil a fantasy of flawlessness which they think is beyond their reach in real life.

Gods do not exist to cater to our human whims. They look after far bigger systems which can sometimes, coincidentally, be good for us — or not! But just as the things that happen on a bigger scale can be bad for us, they can be good for other beings; Or bad for other beings and good for a third group of beings, and we’re oblivious to it all.

Humans are arrogant. How many species have we declared “extinct”, only to see them again in the wild several decades after? That’s not to say danger of extinction isn’t real — it pretty much is, and we’re often accountable — but I’m not disputing that. I’m disputing, specifically, the arrogance some people muster in order to “declare” something extinct. Wow, what an authoritative declaration! Have you searched every inch of this planet to make sure, have you turned every rock, did you dive down every trench? No you didn’t.

We’re also arrogant when we assume, and project, and say “this very subtle exertion of control over this animal is making them suffer”. Oh really? Have you possessed the animal (like a ghost) and felt the animal’s feelings to make sure that is the case? No. You haven’t. Unless it’s something obvious (ie, detectable by a vet, or the animal is screaming in agony or whatever), all we can do is speculate. But going as far as “declaring”, and creating dogmas on top of that, and closing your mind to other possibilities? What the hell.

Similarly, we become arrogant with our views on agricultural practices, farming practices, mining practices. Sure, excess is bad, but we all agree that excess is bad. I’m talking about something else — the notion that “this GMO is bad because it’s man-made” (Oh, really? And who or what made the man who made the GMO? Isn’t it ultimately within the gods’ realm and control? Or are we assuming we can spontaneously become gods and undermine their power? — Re-read my anthropomorphisation rant). “Lab crystals have no metaphysical value”. Oh, really? Would you rather keep child slavery going? And also, who made the raw material we work with in a lab? Humans are certainly not creating matter from scratch. We’re just transforming what already exists (or, as the religious would say, what god(s) already made).

“Mother Earth is a sufferer because of what we’ve done” — Oh really? You’re not only “pledging” that she’s a mother, but also that she suffers? This could be projection. We are certainly suffering with our excesses. But Earth? Nah. Learn to love yourself and save yourself. There’s no need to project your suffering onto a god (or goddess) in order to feel like doing anything about it. Love it or hate it, you have power. You have agency. You aren’t a baby in a womb. And when you don’t love yourself, nobody will.

Our arrogance can take us as far as speaking of awe and wonder, but not practising what we preach, because when someone doesn’t subscribe to our very exact and very inflexible dogma about who and what the gods are, and which ones are good or bad, and in what ways the good are good or the bad are bad… That’s all it takes for us to feel “offended”.

Last, but not least, we are so arrogant, that sometimes we read a piece and “the shoe fit” and we think the writer is vindictive just because it’s an acquaintance — not knowing that it’s a pattern, not an individual, which inspired the piece.

Remember the 3rd Delphic maxim. (I’ll let you Google it). It gives us all enough food for thought. On that note, see you next time.

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Lucy the Oracle

Oracle learner / spirit worker based in Ireland. Buddhist/polytheist. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.