We usually think of her as mother, indeed she has granted us life and is well-deserving of the term. As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, let’s explore other metaphors for our relationship with nature through the multi-faceted lens of the feminine. Thinking of her as a lover, a romantic partner, a friend, your sister, or even a child each cause us to relate to her in different ways. It is fun, refreshing, and valuable to reconsider the way we relate to our home planet.
I have mused about this idea for years and written about it from different perspective. In Collaborating with Gaia I explore the concept of co-evolution with our biosphere. From this perspective we find ourselves right in the middle of an improvisational jam-session between all life forms. Isn’t that a bit more exhilarating than considering that everything is inanimate and soulless? In Ending the Conquest of Nature we delve into the historical roots of belief systems that have pitted us against nature. Nature is often seen as our oppressor who will punish us or a slave to exploit and conquer.
If we see her as a passionate lover who wants to co-create with us, it will certainly change the way we interact with each other and our environment. I know… nobody wants to see their “mom” (Mother Earth) in a sexually erotic embrace naked before the night-time sky with her lover. However, there is no harm in us changing the way we look at her. She is an all-powerful goddess and definitely able to shape-shift with a little help from our imagination!
Artist, Lisete Alcalde takes a selfie next to her painting “Mother Earth and Space”
Like all relationships, our relationship with the planet is complex and can be multi-dimensional and fluid, changing over time. We all love to think of our planet as “Mother” but that may contribute to some of our problems. Humans often act like immature little children not cleaning up our messes, fighting over toys, acting disrespectful of our mother while hoping to not be reprimanded. Perhaps we can grow up a little and get past the rebellious teenager phase of our evolution?
New ways to look at old stories.
What if we saw the earth as someone we had a crush on and needed to catch her eye or win her respect in courtship? How about a romantic companion that we grow and journey through life with as equal partners in discovery? I also like to wonder what if we treated her like she was our child, one that we needed to protect from predators and those who would harm her? By changing the way we look at her, we change the way we relate to her. It also changes our role in this world and redefines who we are.
Though humans have struggled through history to survive, there is something about love and passion that makes friction less oppressive. She could be a hot-tempered and erotic partner like the Goddess Pele who fell in love with Kamapua’a. Pele is named after a volcano, she is full of fire with red hair of molten lava. Kamapua’a has the power to bring rains that cool Pele’s lava and turn it into soil which grows the crops. This turbulent love affair created the abundant lushness called Hawaii.
Above: The Artwork of Mark Henson
Visual art has the ability to shift our consciousness and change the way we perceive the world. Mark Henson is another artist who allows his audience to see the elements of nature as lovers intermingling. These images help us to undo the divisive and false stories like Social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) that still wreak havoc in our lives today. Indeed cooperation of species has played a much larger role in our evolution than competition, yet we are fed the competition narrative because it is central to the capitalist ideology.
Cooperation of species may well be the missing story to resolving much of our planets problems, and art might be the most powerful way to convey this idea. Humanity’s capacity for destruction and discord is equally matched by it’s ability to create beautiful inspiration. Sex, or better yet, making love is not limited to naked bodies but includes the concept of procreation with a paintbrush, a musical instrument, a dance, or the exchange of mutual respect within the larger community of life. –Sex & Nature, the Evocative Artwork of Mark Henson
Poets and musicians sing praises to nature which is so necessary, yet no lover wants to be put on a pedestal. In addition with love and adoration, reciprocity and mutual respect are essential for any healthy relationship. We all know that feeling when the breeze gives us a gentle kiss on our skin. We have looked at the night sky and seen the darkness cuddle our planet with love. We have had the morning sunlight brush our forehead sweetly from across the universe and invite us to wake up in the morning. The ways that the earth loves us are indeed endless, yet we are only at the very beginning of learning how to love her back. Let’s ravish her with passion and beauty!
As we evolve the way that we look at our world, we change the way we look at ourselves and each other. This sets a stage for beautiful collaborations. Let’s reconsider our relationship with the planet and the feminine in all of it’s forms.
Call her a creative partner, and she might just invite you to join her in the creative process. In some ways she will always be our mother, but she is so much more than that. Grandmother, daughter, sister, mother, friend, lover, partner, nurturer, we have much to be grateful for on International Women’s Day!
FEATURED IMAGE, PAINTING BY PENNIE AUSTIN