The earth mother archetype is based on the consideration of earth as a mother, ensuring birth, growth and evolution of life. The earth is considered a point of fertility giving birth to life and nurturing it. Although in ancient times, the mother earth or earth mother was a goddess, later, it was personified with motherhood. The psychoanalytic expert, Carl Jung, has termed mother earth or earth mother as a part of collective human consciousness.
Evolution of Earth Mother Archetype
The earth mother archetype has evolved from Greek myths. In Grecian myths, the goddess Gaea is called the mother earth or the earth moth. It is believed that she has created herself out of chaos, giving birth to live and living things on this earth. Therefore, the earth mother is responsible for life, or what is called the vast earthy ecosystem on this earth, providing nourishment to live on the planet earth. Hence, it was believed that Gaea was responsible for life on this earth. Later, James Lovelock also named this theoretical perspective as Gaia Theory, by which he meant that earth is not only self-regulating but also a conscious system that maintains and sustains life on it.
Earth Mother Archetype Symbol of Fertility
The earth mother archetype has become a symbol of maintaining and sustaining life on this earth as follows.
- The earth mother satisfies life’s emotional, physical and spiritual requirements.
- The earth’s mother works to heal and nurture life through a complex ecosystem.
- The earth mother symbolizes femininity, protecting life.
- This archetype also works to encourage all living things and non-living things to live in harmony to benefit life.
Earth Mother Archetype Traits
The earth mother archetype is the mother of all life, life nurturing things, objects and life growth systems on this earth, facilitating life to grow and spread. Therefore, it is an animate thing that is not only intelligent but also wise. It provides knowledge and experience to provide an intuitive sense of making and remaking situations conducive for sustaining life. This archetype possesses not only intellectual but also spiritual qualities to provide motherly advice, assistance and consultation. It is a kind, loving and all-encompassing spirit that pervades all living and non-living things.
Negative Traits of Earth Mother Archetype
Although the earth mother archetype inspires others and demonstrates her powers, she actually takes these powers from some other sources. Therefore, she owes much to some other source, a feature that could become her vulnerability. Staying hidden, secret and away from life may be termed as her worst or negative qualities, but it is the role of the earth mother that needs to be caring, patient to the point of obduracy as well as stubbornly persistent.
Earth Mother Archetype Examples
The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
The character of Glinda Good Witch in the novel, The Wizard of Oz, as well as the movie of the same title shows the characteristics of the earth mother archetype. She demonstrates all those features and character traits that the earth mother archetype should have. She assists the people against oppression and subjugation, and the Oz public demonstrates all love for her. When it comes to the journey of Dorothy to the Emerald City, she demonstrates the support of a mother figure.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The character of the elf, Gabriel, proves an example of the earth mother archetype in the novel on account of her motherly figure. She not only helps others on their journey, but she also provides solace and facilitates assistance when all others leave. Almost all of her powers, such as healing, creating, protecting and preserving, demonstrate her maternal qualities though she is blessed with a ring of power, the reason that she has all the earth mother traits. She is one of the best earth mother archetypes created by Tolkien.
Charlotte’s Web by W. B. White
The character of Charlotte, a spider, is highly interesting as she proves a real earth mother due to her maternal role for Wilbur. She seems a strange earth mother character, for generally, a spider does not demonstrate such love and care associated with mother figures. This relationship between Wilbur and Charlotte shows her earth mother qualities that come into play when she takes care of her, and the bond between the two continues for the rest of the storyline.