Tengri and Eje

Father Sky and Mother Earth

Long before the city glow of modern towns blotted out most of the stars in the night sky, everywhere that anyone looked was marked by the sharp divide of the horizon. The sky above and the earth below were the most prominent features in the world of our ancient ancestors. In line with this, more than ten thousand years ago, people all across the globe began to worship Father Sky and Mother Earth. That was more than five hundred generations ago and counting, which isn’t that far back if you think about it. Granted, there are those who still keep things going along with this as best as they can, like some of the remaining indigenous tribes in America who carry on with old traditions that date back millennia.

Since the stars and planets were so significant to the ancient astrologers and astronomers of the prehistoric world, many times the Sun was thought of as God and the Earth was Goddess, at least in part. As a result of this, the original celestial and terrestrial deities then served as major figures in the oldest polytheistic pantheons on the planet, and they still do in certain places. For instance, in Mongolia and Turkey, among certain groups of people, the old Sky Father is still known as Tengri and the Earth Mother is Eje, to this very day. Plus, there are native African, Australian, Asian, European, and American deities alike. Of course, many of the ancient gods and goddesses no longer have anyone honoring them.

As mythologies have evolved from animistic to polytheistic and then on to monotheistic faith-based systems, spirituality has changed with it, for better and for worse. Ten or fifteen thousand years ago, Father Sky and Mother Earth were central to the relationship between humanity and divinity. This is when animism began giving way to polytheism around the world. At the same time, Father Sky was often viewed as the Supreme Being in many instances, which set the stage for monotheistic beliefs as well. Therefore, as humanity moved from prehistory into history, people took their faith in the Sky God and the Earth Goddess with them.

In ancient Mesopotamia, the deification of the Earth took the form of Ki, the consort of An. In line with this, the relationship between Father Sky and Mother Earth was often pictured as a firmament that stretched over a flat surface. Later the ancient Egyptians reversed the roles by worshiping the Sky Goddess and Earth God, nonetheless, the essence of the two beings remained. Following this, the Greeks came to personify the Earth as Gaia, and to this day people still talk about Mother Earth as a kind of metaphorical expression for the planet and its unique biosphere. This is especially pertinent in the midst of the current climate crisis.

According to a rather controversial theory, put forward by James Lovelock, the living matter on the Earth collectively defines and regulates the material conditions necessary for the continuance of life. Thus, the planet, or rather the biosphere, is likened to a vast self-regulating super-organism. This account of the Earth then works to explain how the evolution of organisms affects the stability of global temperature, atmospheric oxygen levels, the salinity of seawater, the maintenance of a hydrosphere, and many other environmental variables that affect the habitability of our homeworld. In 2006, the Geological Society of London even awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal in part for his work on the Gaia hypothesis.

The thing is that nowadays in the fast-paced modern world of high-tech gadgetry, Earth worship seems to have taken on the form of a kind of atavistic veneration of nature. As such, the meme remains more or less the same even though the zeitgeist seems to change a great deal. More to the point, modern deifiers and celebrants of the Mother Earth Goddess typically express their supernatural beliefs through more contemporary things like environmental activism, more so than classical prayer. Either way, although the names of Father Sky and Mother Earth may have changed along the way, people all around the world still acknowledge them, at least in part. With that being said, I believe that we should keep the spirit of this alive for as long as possible.

Praise be to Father Sky and Mother Earth!!!

An Eclectic Autodidact Polymath Writer and Researcher

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