Since the beginning of civilization, there has been a struggle over balance between religion and Mother Nature. Mother Nature can be described as a Goddess, a Supreme Being, directing power, creative, and a shaping force. In ancient Egypt, the goddess Isis was a giver of live responsible for natural cycles, such as, day and night, and the flooding of the Nile. Homer mentions a “mother” of Earth that “feeds all creatures that are in the world”[1]. In the Middle Ages, Mother Nature was seen as a being created by God and ordered to follow God’s laws from scripture.


Image of Gaia, Goddess of the Earth. Courtesy of

This view of Mother Nature changed as a result of the Enlightenment however. With God and the Church being challenged by all sorts of philosophers, Mother Nature took the place of disproving God’s word. Descartes created the “Cartesian view” of nature that pictured nature as “machines, constructed from separate parts, and the whole is no more than the sum of its parts.”[2] Descartes’ ideas were based on Aristotle philosophy in which a dualistic divide of mind and matter. Mind represents man, while matter is nature.

Although in some traditional Eastern Cultures, natural resources are believed to come from the body of Mother Nature. These resources are said to come out of the reproductive organs of their Earth Mother, and because of this, “miners regularly offer propitiation to the deities of the soil and subterranean world, perform ceremonial sacrifices, and observe strict cleanliness, sexual abstinence, and fasting before violating the sacredness of the living earth.”[3] After these materials have been extracted, craftsmen still often seek religious leaders to preform rituals before they craft their items.

[1][2] Dennis Jelinski, There is No Mother Nature—There is No Balance of Nature: Culture, Ecology and Conservation (Springer Netherlands: Human Ecology, 2005) 275.

[3] Carolyn Merchant, Science and Worldviews (New York: Radical Ecology, 1992) 43.