Mother Nature (sometimes known as Mother Earth or the Earth-Mother) is a common personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it in the form of the mother.
The word nature comes from the Latin word, natura, meaning birth or character (see nature (innate)). In English its first recorded use, in the sense of the entirety of the phenomena of the world, was very late in history in 1266; however natura, and the personification of Mother Nature, was widely popular in the Middle Ages and as a concept seated between the properly divine and the human, it can be traced to Ancient Greece - though Earth or Eorthe in the Old English period may have been personified as a goddess and the Norse also had a goddess called Jord Earth.
The earliest written and safely dated literal references to the term "Mother Earth" occur in Mycenaean Greek ma-ka (transliterated as ma-ga), "Mother Gaia", written in Linear B syllabic script (13th or 12th century BC). The various myths of nature goddesses such as Inanna/Ishtar (myths and hymns attested on Mesopotamian tablets as early as the 3rd millennium BC) show that the personification of the creative and nurturing sides of Nature as female deities had deep roots. In Greece, the pre-Socratic philosophers had "invented" nature when they abstracted the entirety of phenomena of the world as singular: physis, and this was inherited by Aristotle. Later medieval Christian thinkers did not see nature as inclusive of everything, but thought that she had been created by God; her place lay on earth, below the unchanging heavens and moon. Nature lay somewhere in the centre, with agents above her (angels) and below her (demons and hell). For the medieval mind she was only a personification, not a goddess.
Folklore, Religions, and Myths