Etymology of “Mother Nature” and “Father Time”

Why are “Mother Nature” and “Mother Earth” (and perhaps other similar connotations I am unaware of) feminine personifications? The same question stands for “Father Time” – why masculine?

Any explanation as to the history and/or origin (and/or anything else enlightening) of these phrases would be appreciated, particularly as they pertain to the differing genders.


In many if not most mythologies, the earth (from which life springs forth) is feminine.

In world parent myths, there was chaos, where male and female are bound together, until separation, the sky is usually male, the earth is usually female.

In Emergence myths, a person springs forth from the womb of mother earth.

Mother Earth mythologies, are very common throughout the world. Pre-Babylonian civilizations recognized Tiamat, mother earth. Turtle Island of the Hopi indians is a female. In Mesopotamia, Ninsun is female; the Aegean had Gaia, and perhaps most importantly for Western Civilization, the Romans had Terra Mater (Mother Earth). Norse poetry refers to the earth as Odin’s wife.

Some civilizations have a paternal earth myth, but they are not common.

Cronus, or Kronos was a Titan who overthrew his father by castrating him with a scythe. Chronos is the personification of Time in pre-Socratic philosophy and later literature. Chronos was serpentine, with three heads.

Chronos was confused with, or perhaps consciously identified with, due to the similarity in name, the Titan Cronus already in antiquity, the identification becoming more widespread during the Renaissance, giving rise to the allegory of Father Time wielding the harvesting scythe. – Wikipedia

Source : Link , Question Author : Josh , Answer Author : anongoodnurse

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