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NeutralThe Earth Mother
Image of The Earth Mother
Gender Female
Race Unknown
Occupation Mother of all creation,[1] creator of the tauren
Relative(s) An'she, Mu'sha, Lo'sho, shu'halo (children)

“Where there is darkness, you are my light. When the shadows rise, you stem the tide. Be neither troubled nor tired, nor ever afraid, for in each other you shall always find me. You are stronger together, but you are never alone.”

— The Earth Mother's promise to An'she and Mu'sha[1]

The Earth Mother, also known as the Earthmother[2][3] or Mother Earth,[4] is a gentle, seemingly transcendent and immortal being worshiped primarily by tauren (although also acknowledged by some orc shaman,[5][6][7][8][9] the centaur,[10] and at least one frost nymph)[11] as the creator of the land and mother of all creation.[1] Her eyes are the sun (An'she) and the White Lady (Mu'sha),[2] and the Blue Child (Lo'sho) is said to have been born from one of her tears. Though tauren mythology holds that she long ago gave all of herself to protect her creations from the corruption of the Old Ones, it is believed that her love and wisdom is always with the tauren.[1] Through her, the race has deep ties to nature.[12] They believe that she is responsible for weaving the strands of fate,[13] and that just as they are all born of her, they will all return to her in death.[14][15]

Mythology

Creation of the land

Before the Age of Memory,[2] before Azeroth had night or day, the Earth Mother roamed the emptiness of the world. Alone, she braved the shadows and whispers that rose from the Old Ones trapped in the depths, and they could not sway her. However, she was with child and knew she could not labor with nothing to safeguard her newborn from the darkness. She searched for a haven where she could safely give birth to "the light of her heart" but found none. She decided to craft one herself and began shaping the world, starting with forming the land and mountains. She created the first sparks of fire by grazing her nails against the mountain peaks, and her fingers cut grooves in the earth from which flowed the first waters and oceans. As she laughed at the antics of these three elements, her breath loosed the winds, which restlessly cut across the land and whipped up the newly laid dust. To show them how to be more gentle, the Earth Mother breathed upon the fog they'd created and sent it spiraling into the heavens, where it became clouds that gave off the first rains. The earth drank the rain and offered up the grass, swamps, and forests in return. Having learned their lesson, the winds danced softly through the newly-born plants.[1] A simpler version of the tale states that the creator breathed upon the golden mists of dawn to create endless fields of wheat and barley that became the basin of her works.[2]

The birth of Sun and Moon

“Good. You have shown me your strength. You have proven your power. You can withstand the dark. This world is yours. I made it for you. Watch over it, and care for all that call it home. But you must still stay safe inside my eyes.[1]

The left and right eyes of the Earth Mother,
Mu'sha and An'she.

All of the wilds were the Earth Mother's creation and sanctuary. She grew to love the elements and told them that they would make fine companions for her children, and the elements loved her in turn, providing her with warmth, water, and music when she desired it. Everything was brimming with her essence enough to keep the darkness at bay, and she decided she could now give birth to her children. With the elements' help, she labored until she brought forth a radiant son she named An'she and a gentle daughter she named Mu'sha, whom the elements called Sun and Moon. An'she and Mu'sha formed close bonds with the elements and steadily grew in power until they were able to influence the elements themselves. The Earth Mother was overjoyed by this and gently guided her twins through the ages, but she remained ever vigilant against the Old Ones and their shadows.[1]

The Earth Mother eventually grew tired from her work and constant watch and knew that she needed to rest. In order to keep her children close and safe while she slumbered, she pressed them into her eyes—first An'she, causing a peaceful night to fall on the land and calm her spirit, and then Mu'sha. After telling the elements to guard against the shadows, she fell asleep, resting first with one eye shut and then the other, since her children's light was now too powerful to fully contain.[1] When her right eye was open, An'she gave warmth and light to the land. When her left eye was open, Mu'sha gave peace and sleep to the creatures of the dawning.[2] The Earth Mother's restless watch, where she was never fully asleep, and her twins' consequent absence from the world caused the land to grow cold and created the first winter. When she awoke, she nearly wept at how the elements had changed. However, as her twins' light returned, the cold faded and everything went back to how it had previously been. The elements consoled the Earth Mother and showed her how her time of rest had allowed new plant and animal life to thrive, and so she named the seasons in her time of work (summer) and her time of rest (winter). She then showed An'she and Mu'sha how to guide the elements through these new seasons and eventually how to bring about the accompanying changes to the land at will from beneath her shut eyes in her times of rest.[1]

The shu'halo and the sorrow

Lo'sho, the tear of the Earth Mother.

“Shu'halo. You are my love made flesh, and I brought you forth so my children would know you. An'she, Mu'sha, my Sun and Moon: teach them what I have taught you, so that they may care for the land and commune with the elements. That they may see my love in you and in all things.[1]

Her children's growth filled the Earth Mother with love and happiness, a feeling she wanted to share with the twins. The next time she slumbered, she stretched over the land so that the beating of her heart dug into the earth, saturating it with "the song of life". When she awoke, she was surrounded by new life. She sprinkled wheat over these first children of the plains and named them shu'halo (tauren).[1] An alternate version of the tale has it that the Earth Mother created the tauren by spreading her hands out across the plains of the dawn, with the shu'halo arising from the soil wherever the shadow of her arms passed.[2] On their mother's request, An'she and Mu'sha taught the shu'halo everything they knew—how to work with the elements, build homes, acquire food, sing, dance, ferry the rivers, and hunt wild beasts. The shu'halo gave thanks to the elements, to Sun and Moon, and especially to the Earth Mother.[1] They prayed to their mother and swore to bless her name until the ultimate darkening of the world.[2]

However, as the elements turned their attention to aiding the tauren, the Old Ones in the depths watched and waited. The next time the Earth Mother slept, the Old Ones stretched their influence across the land and corrupted many of the still young and vulnerable tauren with their whispers, teaching them of war and hatred, and causing them unleash the elements against one another. The distraught An'she and Mu'sha woke their mother so she could see what had happened. Upon seeing how the world she'd shaped had fallen into chaos, she wept a single tear. She realized that since she was forever connected to the lands and unable to leave them, she might one day also succumb to the darkness and thereby endanger her children. She wiped away her lone tear and then wrenched An'she and Mu'sha free from her skull, her fingers digging so deeply that their light could never return to her again. Sun and Moon tried to console their mother, but she lay paralyzed by sorrow. The twins decided to set off to hunt down the source of the corruption.

Word of the Earth Mother's sorrow and the twins' journey was carried on the winds. The siblings soon encountered a group of uncorrupted shu'halo, who presented a radiant blue infant that the twins realized had been born from their mother's tear. The group was suddenly attacked by the shadows, and though Sun and Moon held off the attack, An'she sustained a wound that Mu'sha was unable to heal. She sent a plea on the wind that reached the Earth Mother and stirred her from her grief. Though she could no longer see, she found her way to Sun and Moon with the elements' help. She hugged her children in relief and told Mu'sha that her presence was keeping the bleeding An'she alive. Upon being presented with the infant, the Earth Mother felt a slight joy once more and named the child Lo'sho.[1]

The Earth Mother's sacrifice

“Take them with you. They are young yet, and untouched by the darkness. Teach them, my children. Teach them my ways. Teach them to care for and protect the shu'halo and this world as I have taught you. And let them know that they have my love. You all do. Take care of each other, and have courage. For I am with you, as I am with all my children. Always.[1]

Knowing that the remaining shu'halo would draw the shadows to them, the Earth Mother decided to sacrifice herself to contain the darkness. The twins protested, but she quieted them and told them to take permanently to the skies, from where they'd be able to chase away any shadows she could not hold. She told them to always stay close to each other so Mu'sha could tend An'she's wounds, and gave Lo'sho to Mu'sha while telling the twins to teach the infant everything they knew. Although heartbroken, the twins obeyed her words and took their eternal post in the skies with Lo'sho, while the Earth Mother summoned the elements' aid for the last time and stretched herself across the world. She threw her arms wide to create paths the shu'halo could follow, bent her ear to the winds so she could hear the prayers of her children, and pressed her chest to the earth so that the beating of her heart dug deep once more. She rooted herself and held the shadows fast, giving all of herself for her creations, never to walk the land again, all to make the world safe for her creations. Seeing their mother's sacrifice, Mu'sha guided the tides and the winds so the shu'halo would always be able to hear and follow their mother's voice while An'she shone across the land so the way would be clear, all while Lo'sho listened to their lessons.[1]

The tauren believe that the Earth Mother's essence still cradles the world under the now ever-present glow of the Sun and Moons, listening to all that happens, and that her love and wisdom will always be there to guide them.[1][3] When the murderous centaur horde came from the black lands of the west and the Earth Mother's blessed ones could not defeat them, the tauren were forced to leave their ancestral holdings behind and become nomads forever after. However, it was held that one day the scattered shu'halo tribes would find a new home under the loving arms of the Earth Mother.[16]

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

The Earth Mother is the tauren ideal of all the spirits of nature.[17] She is the benevolent goddess of the tauren, who believe that the deity is responsible for all the natural beauty of the world. They see her smiling face in the sky, the stones, the sands, and the seas.[17]

She lives in the rivers, trees, plains and mountains of Azeroth. She is the embodiment of nature. All lesser nature spirits come from the Earth Mother, and return to her upon death. The Earth Mother represents all the animistic forces of nature. River-spirits, sea-spirits, tree-spirits, rock-spirits, and animal spirits all reflect one facet of the Earth Mother.[17]

In a sense, tauren see the Earth Mother as a sort of universal consciousness. While individual spirits represent a particular location, animal or object, such as the spirit of a single tree or the spirit of a valley, the Earth Mother represents the land. She is everywhere life and nature is. The only spirits separate from the Earth Mother are the spirits of sentient creatures. Tauren ancestor spirits live in harmony with the Earth Mother, but are not part of her.[17]

Tauren religion teaches to respect and love the Earth Mother by treating her body, the land, and her children, the plants and animals of the world, with respect. Tauren disrupt the natural balance of the land as little as possible. They take only what they need from the land and eschew mass logging and mining. They respect the animals they hunt and never wastefully discard animal carcasses.[17]

The shaman and priests of the Wildhammer dwarves entertain the people on cold nights with myths of nature and the Earth Mother.[18]

Priests of the Earth Mother can gain access to the Animal, Elements and Spirits domains.[17]

A theory contends that the Earth Mother is Alexstrasza the Lifegiver, of the red dragonflight.[19]

RPG notes

  • The tauren elders say that the kodo were created and given to the tauren by the Earth Mother.[20]
  • There is also a Deep Mother, which seems similar, but unrelated to the tauren.[21]
  • Wildhammer dwarves worship the Earth Mother.[18]

Notes

  • Tauren chieftains hold such sacred bonds with the Earth Mother that they can very rarely be reincarnated after dying in combat.[22]
  • According to Bena Winterhoof, the Earth Mother spoke to her and told her to save the Forsaken.
  • According to Torwa Pathfinder, the gorilla U'cha is one of the Earth Mother's greatest sons.[23]
  • According to legend, three powerful shu'halo artifacts—the Rattle of Bones, the Drums of War, and the Writ of History—were gifts from the Earth Mother herself.[24]
  • There is also a Sky Father. Dead tauren are traditionally cremated, and as their ashes fall to the earth while the smoke rises to the sky, they are welcomed by both the Earth Mother and the Sky Father.[25]
  • According to Loh'atu, the Earthmother "is in all things on this planet and beyond [and] her eyes, one dark and one light travel across the skies always gazing down on us."[26]
  • According to Sergra Darkthorn, "the land, the water, and the sky are all as one. It is your eyes that deceive you with such separation. The Earthmother is all those things and more."[9]
  • The ogres of Outland created a powerful gem called the Tear of the Earthmother,[27] seemingly unrelated to the tauren Earth Mother and her tear Lo'sho.
  • In 2011, a Blizzard Game Master claimed to a player that the Earth Mother had sent the Blue Child away to learn about the universe because of the coming of the Burning Legion,[28] as a lore explanation for the fact that the Blue Child was missing from the in-game skybox between patch 1.10.0 and patch 5.0.4.
  • Earth mother goddesses paired with a sky father are a common theme in many mythologies.
    • The way the Earth Mother created the elements and elementals strongly resembles the creation myths of various indigenous peoples of the Andes Mountains, especially the various myths of Pachamama.
    • Her role as the mother of Sun and Moon resembles various goddesses, such as Pachamama (mother of Inti and Mama Killa) and the Greek Leto (mother of Apollo and Artemis). Mu'sha and An'she's birth from the eyes of the grieving Earth Mother is especially similar to how the Japanese god Izanagi produced Amaterasu (the sun goddess) from washing his left eye and Tsukuyomi (the moon deity) from washing his right eye after seeing his sister-wife's dead body.
    • The depiction of the Earth Mother in "Eyes of the Earth Mother" resembles the goddess Te Fiti's appearance in a notable scene from the 2016 Disney film Moana.

Speculation

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Name

Gaea seeds are a type of seeds which Tammra Windfield imbued with the blessing of the Earth Mother in order to use them to regrow the Charred Vale in the Stonetalon Mountains.[29][30] The name "Gaea" is also found on items such as  [Gaea's Embrace] and  [Gaea's Raiment]. Since Gaea is the personification of earth in Greek mythology, this may be the Earth Mother's actual name in Taur-ahe.

The identity of the Earth Mother

The Earth Mother is often speculated to be the same individual as many other similar deities in other cultures.

  • The Earth Mother could be Therazane the Stonemother, one of the four Elemental Lords.
  • She could be Eonar, a member of the Pantheon and patron of all life, or Eonar's servant Keeper Freya, who populated Azeroth with organic life.
  • She may also be the tauren's perception of Azeroth, the slumbering world-soul within the planet itself. Baine Bloodhoof associates Azeroth's world-soul with the Earth Mother; when Azeroth was dying during the Fourth War, he said it was the Earth Mother who was dying.[31]
  • Adversely, the Earth Mother may be a groundless belief; a construct designed to explain the existence of Azeroth itself. Alternatively, she may the result of tauren storytellers conflating traits from several different beings and treating them as a single deity.

References

 
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Eyes of the Earth Mother"
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mists of Dawn
  3. ^ a b Sorrow of the Earthmother
  4. ^ Spirit Walker quotes
  5. ^ Earthmender Wilda: May the Earthmother watch over you.
  6. ^ Earthmender Torlok during N [25-30G] Escape from Coilskar Cistern: Praise the Earthmother. I am certain that Wilda will find her way home. Please accept this as a token of our appreciation.
  7. ^ Aggralan during H IconSmall Goblin Male.gifIconSmall Goblin Female.gif [1-20] Victory!: May the Earth Mother watch over you.
  8. ^ Aggralan during H [35-40] Target of Opportunity: Telaar: Earth Mother willing, you and the shadow hunters will expel the Warsong from Telaar.
  9. ^ a b Sergra Darkthorn
  10. ^ H [15-30] The Wilds of Feralas
  11. ^ N [10-30] Unfit for Death
  12. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 67
  13. ^ The Long March: "Legends say that [the Oracle] saw the strands of fate as they were woven by the Earth Mother. It alone can show you your destiny."
  14. ^ H [1-10] Last Rites, First Rites
  15. ^ H [10-30] Honoring the Dead
  16. ^ Hatred of the Centaur
  17. ^ a b c d e f Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 92. ISBN 9781588467720. 
  18. ^ a b White Wolf. Alliance Player's Guide, 144. ISBN 9781588467737. 
  19. ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 52. ISBN 9781588460714. 
  20. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 211
  21. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 135
  22. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, Tauren Chieftain
  23. ^ N [55] The Mighty U'cha
  24. ^ B [15-30] The Writ of History
  25. ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 32
  26. ^ Loh'atu during N [47] A Land Filled with Hatred
  27. ^ N [25-30D] Tear of the Earthmother
  28. ^ File:Bluemoon.jpg This information was presented as coming from a Blizzard Game Master and it should be noted that it has not been made clear if Blizzard representatives hold the authority to create or even clarify lore, so this information may or may not be canon. It is also possible that the screenshot is not authentic and legit at all, so this information should probably be taken with a grain of salt until confirmation.
  29. ^ H [23] Cycle of Rebirth
  30. ^ H [25] New Life
  31. ^ H [120] A Bitter Reunion "The Horde has a sickness in it. We wage war while the Earth Mother dies."
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