Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The Mother Earth Conspiracy: an Australian Episode1

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

It has become almost a truism in Religious Studies that not only is the belief in a Mother Earth universal but also that this is amongst the most ancient and primordial of all human religious conceptions. Olof Pettersson has criticized the validity of this assumption as a comparative category, whilst Sam Gill has demonstrated the problem in applying the paradigm to Native American traditions. This article extends their re-examination of Mother Earth, taking the particularly revealing case of the Australian Aborigines. It is shown that those academics advocating an Aboriginal Mother Earth have clearly taken this leap beyond the ethnographic evidence with a Classical image in mind, and with either theological or ecologist agendas influencing their thinking. It is further revealed that this scholarly construct has, in only the last decade or so, been internalised and accepted by Aboriginal people themselves. Far from being an ancient belief, it is argued that Mother Earth is a mythic being who has arisen out of a colonial context and who has been co-created by White Australians, academics and Aborigines. Her contours in fact only take shape against a colonial background, for she is a symbolic manifestation of an "otherness" against which Westerners have defined themselves: the autochthonous and female deity of indigenous people against the allegedly world-defiling patriarchy of Western ideology.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation