The Great Mother, also known as the Great Earth Mother, or simply the Mother - as well as various other names - was a Mother goddess that was worshipped by most Cro-Magnon. The Great Mother is considered the most significant and powerful of deities worshipped by Cro-Magnon, believed to have created and given birth to all living things. Hence, all the creatures of the world, including humans, are regarded as being Her children, or the Earth's Children.
Myths and Legends Edit
According to legend, the Mother was born from a "whirlwind" in a great dark void, before the beginning of the Earth. Lonely and knowing that the world could be so much more, the mother used "the dust of her birth" to create a companion, her "pale shining lover", or the moon, known as Lumi by the Zelandonii. Lumi and the Mother became lovers, but the Mother was still not satisfied. She began to yearn for a child and ventured into the void to find the "spark of life", battling a malevolent being known as Chaos to receive it. The Mother was then able to conceive a child, a "golden" son - known as Bali by the Zelandonii - who represented the sun.
The Mother adored her son, but Bali grew restless and eventually slipped away from the Mother to travel. Unfortunately, he was enticed by Chaos, who imprisoned him in the void. The Mother sought the help of Lumi and together they battled Chaos to save Bali. Although Bali was freed from the void, he was forever parted from the Mother, who grieved the loss of her only child. As a result, the Mother used last "spark" of life to conceive more children, labouring long and hard to give birth to all living things, including plants, trees and animals, known as the Earth's Children. The Mother's birth waters were said to have formed the world's rivers, seas and lakes. Although the Mother was happy with her children, she wished for children who would consciously know Her and so she created humans, first Woman and then Man. She also gave to them the Gift of Pleasure, so that they would know love, then, finally content, she rested. This creation myth is the subject of the Mother's Song.
The Mother is generally seen as a wise and benevolent being, but if her Children displease, anger or offend her in some way, she can be wrathful, causing natural disasters or misfortune. However, she can also grant good fortune and bestow gifts upon those who honour her and her laws. She is believed to particularly generous towards those of Her children whom she highly favours. For example, Jondalar of the Zelandonii is believed to be a favourite of the Mother, to the point where it is believed that the Mother would refuse him nothing - several times over the course of his life, Jondalar has asked the Mother for certain things, such as for Ayla to be blessed with a child of his spirit, which have come to pass. However, being favoured by the Mother can be a double-edged sword, as She is sometimes said to to call those she loves best back to her early, such as in the case of Thonolan, Jondalar's brother, who was believed to favoured by the Mother and tragically died young in a cave lion attack. The Mother's Gifts can also be difficult to bear at times; a prominent example would be Ayla, who is believed to have been granted many special abilities and talents by the Mother, some of which she finds overwhelming to cope with or in conflict with her other dreams and goals.
As well as having command over the earth itself, the Mother is believed to directly affect reproduction; as Cro-Magnon do not initially associate sexual intercourse with pregnancy, they believe instead that the Mother chooses when people - and animals - shall have children. It is believed that the Mother takes the spirit of a male and female and mixes them to create new life. Usually, the spirit of the man she chooses will be a woman's mate or a man she is in close proximity to, but this is not always the case and, although many men wish for their mate's unborn child to be a child specifically "of their spirit", ultimately, it is the Mother who decides.
The Mother is known by many names, depending on the culture. To the Zelandonii and Lanzadonii She is known as Doni. Amongst the Mamutoi, She is called Mut. The Losadunai call Her Duna and the S'Armunai know her as Muna. The Sharamudoi (consisting of both the Ramudoi and Shamudoi) call the Mother Mudo. The name of each tribe usually incorporates their name for the Mother within it - for example, Ma-mut-oi, or Losa-duna-i.
It is implied that most Cro-Magnon in Europe believe in and worship the Mother, in some form. Most Cro-Magnon cultures in the series have a group of shamans (also referred to as holy-men or holy-women) dedicated to serving the Mother and by extension, their people. They are sometimes known as Those Who Serve or, singularly, One Who Serves, the Mother. These shamans fulfill various roles, depending on their particular interests and skills. This can include spiritual advisors, healers, communing with the spirit world and more. These shamans are considered to be the spiritual leaders of their tribe and are the Cro-Magnon equivalent of Mog-urs and medicine women. Those who Serve often feel compelled to do so; it is believed that the Mother often 'Calls' those whom she desires to Serve her directly, sometimes in the forms of dreams, visions or unusual occurrences.
After completing their training, shamans will usually give up their names and take on a title similar to the name of their tribe, to symbolise that they have fully accepted their role and duty as a servant of the Mother and to put their people's best interests first. Henceforth, they are usually referred to by that title rather than their given name, though some people occasionally use their old names in certain circumstances.
- Mamutoi: mamut
- Zelandonii: zelandoni
- Lanzadonii: lanzadoni
- Losadunai: losaduna
- S'Armunai: s'armuna
Typically, one camp or cave will have its own shaman. To avoid confusion, their title is extended to also refer to their particular camp or cave; for example, the Zelandoni of the Twenty-Ninth Cave would be referred to as 'Zelandoni of the Twenty-Ninth Cave' at Summer Meetings, whilst Mamut might be referred to as 'Mamut of the Lion Camp'. Amongst their own cave or camp though, they would simply be called 'Mamut' or 'Zelandoni'.
Each culture has its own customs and practices for their holy-men and women, though there are some universal principles and beliefs. Shamans-in-training are known as acolytes; however, not all acolytes go on to become shamans. Some do not feel a strong pull to Serve the Mother or feel they are not suited to the lifestyle. In more serious cases, acolytes can be expelled for severe crimes against the Mother or their tribe.
Notable shamans Edit
- Zelandoni Who Is First ('First Among Those Who Serve the Mother'; originally named Zolena; was Zelandoni of the Ninth Cave before becoming First)
- Mamut (mamut of the Lion Camp)
- Ayla (Zelandoni of the Ninth Cave, has not yet given up her name)
- S'Armuna (s'armuna of the Three Sisters Camp; originally named Bodoa)
- Mut, the name the Mamutoi give to the Mother, is also the name of the Ancient Egyptian mother goddess, most likely meaning 'mother' in the Egyptian language. This is a very fitting name for the prehistoric mother goddess - it is unknown if this was intentional or not.