|The Earth Mother|
|Position||Embodiment of nature and life, creator of the tauren|
The Earth Mother is the tauren ideal of all the spirits of nature. 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.Tauren mythology describes her as the creator of the land, and the tauren. The sun (An'she) and moon (Mu'sha) are her eyes. 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.
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.
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.
Philosophy and Cultural Purpose
The Earth Mother is regarded in tauren culture the same way Elune is in Kal'dorei culture. Both are meant to be the stabilizing factor in the shifting lives of their respective peoples. The Earth Mother, kept in this spiritual way, is far more capable of fulfilling her role in the non-physical form that she appears to take.
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.
- One theory holds that the Earth Mother is Therazane the Stonemother, an elemental lieutenant of the Old Gods. While the benevolence of the Earth Mother and the incomprehensible evil of the Old Gods and their servants may make this identification seem tenuous, Therazane is described as the most benevolent of all four Elemental Lords (not actually evil but lawful neutral). However, the primordial role that the Earth Mother is described as serving seems far greater than the power that a lieutenant of the Old Gods would have wielded. She is believed to have created the world itself, the sun and moon, and the Tauren people as well. Druids of the Wild see her as the embodiment of all that is peaceful and calm about the world.
- Another theory contends that the Earth Mother is Alexstrasza the Lifegiver, of the red dragonflight. However, the Dragon Aspects were empowered by the titans to look over Azeroth, and are not recorded as taking such a major role in the shaping of Azeroth as the Earth Mother does in tauren myths.
- Yet another being sometimes considered to be the tauren's Earth Mother is Eonar, a member of the Pantheon and patron of all life. In the shaping of Azeroth by the Pantheon, she would have likely been responsible for creating fields of grain and the tauren themselves, just as the myths describe the Earth Mother doing. It was she who empowered Alexstrasza and Ysera to watch over her creative works on Azeroth. It is often noted by supporters of this theory that the tauren, along with the trolls, are depicted in the carvings and statues of Uldaman, along with depictions of the Earthen. Recent revelations of an offshoot of the tauren race called the taunka in Northrend may also suggest a titanic involvement in their creation, due to the presence of Ulduar. Another support of this theory is that Eonar is thought to be based on Demeter, greek goddess of agriculture and sister of Zeus, who is supposedly Aman'Thul's base. Demeter means "earth-mother" in greek.
- One speculation is that the Earth Mother could be the tauren's embodiment of all of the Titans, giving a single face to all of the working force that the titans put into the creation of Azeroth.
- Another theory is that the Earth Mother is one of the Elemental Spirits (either the Spirit of the Earth or the Spirit of the Wilds), or a representation of all of them.
- Adversely, the Earth Mother may be a groundless belief; a construct designed to explain the existence of Azeroth itself.
Given her status in tauren culture, which is extremely similar to Elune's existence in the night elven culture, it is possible that the Earth Mother is none of these things, but something else entirely or some peek at something greater than what we have discovered.
The connection with the Earthmother and the bovine Tauren, probably indicates to the Hindu legend of Aditi the Cow, a primordial entity from which all life began. She is similar to that of the Earthmother with her connection to nature, with the injunction "Do not injure Aditi the Cow" as a warning to protect the Earth and nature.