Mother (Jenova) == Mother earth/mother nature ?

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#1
Do you know a hint in the game or in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII that would connect the "character" Mother (Jenova) with the idea of a Mother Earth (or a Mother Nature) ? I did not find a reference on this forum yet. Maybe you have ideas on the subject ?
 
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#3
Dissertation incoming.

I don't know if there is a 'mother earth' concept in Japanese culture, but I'm sure the developers of FFVII were aware of the existence of that concept in other cultures. In FFVII the earth is explicitly characterised as a living entity that feels pain, has a voice, gives life, and can suffer and even die at the hands of humans. Tres is of course right when he says that Aerith is the character who connects with, and speaks for, the suffering earth/planet, because she's a Cetra.

Jenova isn't a Cetra, and she isn't really Sephiroth's mother, but she's mistakenly assumed to be a Cetra and mistakenly believed by him to be his mother. She isn't a part of their planet at all; she's an alien, an infection. The Earth, via its Cetra, contained this infection, because nature can always heal if left to itself. Far from being connected to Mother Nature, Jenova is her dark opposite: she is every unnatural thing human beings unleash on the long-suffering planet through their own greed and selfish curiosity.
 
#4
If anyone, Aerith is more the one that connection is made with. Her being a Cetra and her name literally being a transliteration of the word "Earth" into Japanese and all.
Yes, I also suspect Aerith to be one of Mother Earth's representatives.

After establishing this hypothesis (Jenova being mother earth), I studied more closely the name "Jenova". The most obvious is the resemblance to the name of the god Jehovah (or Yahweh). There is also a phonetic resemblance to the word "gene". Genes are part of the basic elements of life on earth. I propose a translation of the word "Jenova" by "god who created life". But I think everyone has already seen the relationship.

It seems to me that at some point Sephiroth asks Cloud about his will to save the planet or something like that. I have to find this excerpt. Do you have any idea when it happened?
 
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#5
Dissertation incoming.

I don't know if there is a 'mother earth' concept in Japanese culture, but I'm sure the developers of FFVII were aware of the existence of that concept in other cultures. In FFVII the earth is explicitly characterised as a living entity that feels pain, has a voice, gives life, and can suffer and even die at the hands of humans. Tres is of course right when he says that Aerith is the character who connects with, and speaks for, the suffering earth/planet, because she's a Cetra.

Jenova isn't a Cetra, and she isn't really Sephiroth's mother, but she's mistakenly assumed to be a Cetra and mistakenly believed by him to be his mother. She isn't a part of their planet at all; she's an alien, an infection. The Earth, via its Cetra, contained this infection, because nature can always heal if left to itself. Far from being connected to Mother Nature, Jenova is her dark opposite: she is every unnatural thing human beings unleash on the long-suffering planet through their own greed and selfish curiosity.
My belief is that the Cetras are just the same people but that lived long ago. They had no particular power.
They made the same mistakes as the recent inhabitants of the planet (settlement, science, technology, threat for the planet ?...) and thus suffered the same vengeance (Meteor). As probably prehistoric animals before them (well prehistoric animals didn't settled down I guess.... but maybe they did multiply too much and became a threat).

Jenova might well be an infection, maybe the one that brought life to the earth... Maybe there is a difference between mother earth and mother nature, I don't know.

I'm still very interested in knowing if there are hints !
 
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#6
I don't know how there could be any hints, since it wasn't the developers' intention that Jenova should represent mother earth. However, if you want to develop a headcanon based on this theory, I'm sure it would be interesting and ingenious.

The Cetra are clearly characterised in the OG as ordinary human beings who live in harmony with the Earth. I haven't got time to find the exact quote, but that's basically what it says: the Cetra communicate with the planet and understand it. Their modern human beings are descended from Cetra who gave up the nomadic life, settled down, and lost their ability to communicate with the planet.

I don't know how well you know this game, but it's pretty clear that Jenova is a deadly infection:

Ifalna
That's when the one who injured the Planet... or the 'crisis from the sky', as we call him, came.
He first approached as a friend, deceived them, and finally...... gave them the virus.
The Cetra were attacked by the virus and went mad... transforming into monsters.
Then, just as he had at the Knowlespole.
He approached other Cetra clans...... infecting them with... the virus...
Life existed on this planet long before Jenova arrived.
 
#7
I don't know how there could be any hints, since it wasn't the developers' intention that Jenova should represent mother earth. However, if you want to develop a headcanon based on this theory, I'm sure it would be interesting and ingenious.
How do you know that it wasn't the developers intention ?

I found the quote :
http://www.yinza.com/Fandom/Script/09.html

Sephiroth
You ignorant traitor. I'll tell you.
This Planet originally belonged to the Cetra. Cetra was a itinerant race. They would migrate in, settle the Planet, then move on...
At the end of their harsh, hard journey, they would find the Promised Land and supreme happiness.
But, those that disliked the journey appeared. Those who stopped their migrations built shelters and elected to lead an easier life.
They took that which the Cetra and the planet had made without giving back one whit in return!
Those are your ancestors.
There's no talk about modern human beings. It seems that they were the old Cetra secessionists.

Life existed on this planet long before Jenova arrived.
How do we know that Jenova was not present on Earth long before the genocide of the Cetras? All we have are ancient fables, information that did not even allow the shinra to discover the forgotten city (where there should logically be a mako reactor). I personnaly think that the tellings of Ifalna, being the mother of Aerith, the latter being very close to mother nature (if not itself - Jenova to me), cannot be taken for granted.
According to my theory, this entity also removed most of the dinosaurs from the surface of the earth.
 
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#8
You are free to believe whatever you like. I agree with you that their modern human beings (i.e., the people inhabiting their planet at the time of the OG) are decended from Cetra secessionists, that's exactly what I said.

If I were looking for information about the nature of the planet, Jenova, and the Cetra, I would tend to trust Ifalna over Sephiroth, but that's entirely your choice.

It seems pretty clear that the Cetra were already thriving on earth when Jenova arrived. They call her 'the calamity from the skies', which they would hardly do if she'd been around on earth for longer than they had.

Ifalna
2000 years ago, our ancestors, the Cetra, heard the cries of the Planet.
The first ones to discover the Planet's wound were the Cetra at the Knowlespole.
Gast
Tell us Ifalna... Where is the land called 'Knowlespole'?
Ifalna
Knowlespole refers to this area. The Cetra then began a Planet-reading.
Gast
Ifalna, what exactly does Planet-reading entail?
Ifalna
...I can't explain it very well, but it's like having a conversation with the Planet...
It said something fell from the sky making a large wound.
Thousands of Cetra pulled together, trying to heal the Planet...
The calamity from the sky fell and wounded the planet; the Cetra heard its pain and tried to heal it. The planet wanted them to leave, presumably because it knew the danger they were in. Then the entity known as Jenova emerged from the crater and began infecting the Cetra. Of course the script doesn't go into minute detail; it doesn't outright state that Jenova came on the meteor rather than being released from the earth when meteor impacted. So there's room between the lines for your preferred headcanon.

Unless, of course, someone with an Ultimania can provide definitive word on God on this.

But if you found any hints that the developers intended Jenova to represent the vengeful wrath of mother earth, I'd be really surprised. Apart from anything else, what reason would mother earth have for being angry at the Cetra, who heard her voice and lived in harmony with her? And yet it's the Cetra that Jenova nearly wiped out.
 

The Twilight Mexican

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TresDias
#9
The calamity from the sky fell and wounded the planet; the Cetra heard its pain and tried to heal it. The planet wanted them to leave, presumably because it knew the danger they were in. Then the entity known as Jenova emerged from the crater and began infecting the Cetra. Of course the script doesn't go into minute detail; it doesn't outright state that Jenova came on the meteor rather than being released from the earth when meteor impacted. So there's room between the lines for your preferred headcanon.

Unless, of course, someone with an Ultimania can provide definitive word on God on this.
Yes, multiple passages (too numerous to bother quoting a specific one) from Ultimanias and other official resources specify that Jenova came to the planet on a meteor, then proceeded to attack the native life.

Hell, in Advent Children, Sephiroth himself says she was a traveler of the cosmos, and that he intends to kill the planet, then use it as a space vessel so he can continue doing what Jenova did in the past.
 
#10
I still don't trust Ifalna.
I don't believe that the ancient Cetras (secessionists or not) were people that could talk litteraly to the planet. Maybe they were simply praying their god in a devout manner.
I think there's really no need for anyone to tell you that a meteor just crashed on the continent you live on. They got massively wiped out. Many of the survivors had to be swept away by the diseases that usually develop as a result of disasters.
Maybe Ifalna is trying to make the Ancients Cetras more fantastic than they actually were...

Apart from anything else, what reason would mother earth have for being angry at the Cetra, who heard her voice and lived in harmony with her? And yet it's the Cetra that Jenova nearly wiped out.
1. The dinosaurs got wiped out by a Meteor, maybe they were too numerous and ate all the vegetation thus becomming a threat, or maybe the ecosystem was ready to host man and the dinosaurs had to disappear. (I really don't know)
2. The Cetra secessionists decided to settle down. This can be seen as an affront to God. In addition it prevents the migration from planet to planet that the Cetra are supposed to accomplish. Meteor.
3. The surviving descendants of Cetra continue to evolve and develop technology through the use of Mako, almost to the breaking point of the lifestream. They are about to launch the first man in space, paving the way for an upcoming migration. The Shinra decides to cut the budget in order to direct the investments towards the search for the promised land (on earth). Meteor.

These are some reasons.

I wonder if a distinction has already been made between Mother Earth (Gaia - the telluric entity) and Mother Nature (the life stream, not a name really). In this case, do you have any idea who controls the weapons ?
 
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The Twilight Mexican

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#11
I still don't trust Ifalna.
I don't believe that the ancient Cetras (secessionists or not) were people that could talk litteraly to the planet.
Again, a multitude of official source books that speak to the backstory of the game specify everything laid out by Ifalna. There is literally nothing else.

The Cetra secessionists decided to settle down. This can be seen as an affront to God. In addition it prevents the migration from planet to planet that the Cetra are supposed to accomplish.
They didn't travel planet to planet, just area to area. But you are correct that those who settled were no longer migrating; thus, turning away from the Cetra's mission of cultivation.

In this case, do you have any idea who controls the weapons ?
They attack that which the planet deemed threatening, though Sephiroth is said to have influenced them to ignore him.
 
#12
The lifestream isn't separate from the planet. The planet is a living entity, like a human being or a tree, and the lifestream is its 'spirit energy'. It lends its spirit energy to every living on earth, and when that thing dies, its spirit energy is returned to the planet and recycled into some new living creature. I suppose the closest analogy is that the lifestream is the planet's blood. But Shinra has figured out a way to draw lifestream from the planet and NOT return it (because they're using it to create electricity) and so the planet is slowly being drained of life. This is the canon version of their planey's ecology. It's laid out clearly in the scene in Bugenhagen's orrery, and also in Rufus' speech to Kadaj in Advent Children Complete.

As a living entity, the planet is sentient, but not in a human way. The Weapons are a bit like your white blood cells. You make them, in the sense that your body makes them, but you don't need to consciously order them to attack invading bacteria and viruses. The are instinctively triggered to attack when the danger approaches.

If the Cetra secessionists were an affront to God, you'd think God would attack them and not confuse them with the holy Cetra who were still living in harmony with nature.

Anyway... If you want to write an alternative universe story based on your theory, I'm sure it would be interesting. I just don't think there's anything in the canon material to support it. If you find something, I'd be very interested to see it.
 
#13
Jenova is her dark opposite: she is every unnatural thing human beings unleash on the long-suffering planet through their own greed and selfish curiosity.
How could human beings unleash unnatural things. If Jenova is an alien, how could she represent the sins of men? Do you hint that she is so tied to the human race?

It seems pretty clear that the Cetra were already thriving on earth when Jenova arrived. They call her 'the calamity from the skies', which they would hardly do if she'd been around on earth for longer than they had.
This is true only if Jenova is the Calamity from the sky.
To me the Calamity is the Meteor and all the deseases and suffering that his fall provoked afterwards.
Mother Earth was surely there beforhand.

Yes, multiple passages (too numerous to bother quoting a specific one) from Ultimanias and other official resources specify that Jenova came to the planet on a meteor, then proceeded to attack the native life.
Why not try to quote one ? I don't know these Ultimania books, do they really develop more than what is presented in the game and available to the player? I want to believe that all the answers come from the game. I think it was conceived as a work in its own right .

Hell, in Advent Children, Sephiroth himself says she was a traveler of the cosmos, and that he intends to kill the planet, then use it as a space vessel so he can continue doing what Jenova did in the past.
They didn't travel planet to planet, just area to area. But you are correct that those who settled were no longer migrating; thus, turning away from the Cetra's mission of cultivation.
Sephiroth
They would migrate in, settle the Planet, then move on...
Who would settle an entire planet then move on... to the same planet. Sephiroth seems in need for migration as the humans and their god should be travelers of the cosmos
I think I remember that there's an other dialog in which the migration of the Cetra from planet to planet is evoqued, but I have not been able to find it for now.

Another thing that striked me (maybe too hard).
If we look at the engravings in the Temple of the Ancients, we notice that a large number of people are present alongside a particular character who tends a black rhombus (black materia?) In the direction of a meteor. Do these people belong to a clergy? In any case it seems they invoked the Meteor, did they sacrifice themselves? Perhaps people who still believed in god had become a minority (in the present time the religion seems to have been abandoned, I see only the dilapidated church in which Aerith officiates as a relic of a possible religion related to Mother Earth). Did someone pushed or manipulated them to trigger this apocalypse?

A reflection that probably goes too far from the original material : The survivors were apparently the Cetra who had abandoned their faith, it is probably they who had to undergo a real nightmare awake and made the story of "The calamity from the skies". Is it they who built the temple of the ancients, I doubt it. I think this place is made of magic, it is not the result of men's work. It's a mirage like many others I suppose. A mirage designed to make Cloud understand what his real mission is.
 
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The Twilight Mexican

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#14
How could human beings unleash unnatural things. If Jenova is an alien, how could she represent the sins of men? Do you hint that she is so tied to the human race?
Licorice meant that in a literary sense.

Why not try to quote one ? I don't know these Ultimania books, do they really develop more than what is presented in the game and available to the player?
Here's the passage on Jenova from the FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania's terms section:

"A life form from another planet, which arrived on the planet on a meteorite approx. 2000 years ago. While it is not yet completely clear what it truly is, it is extremely intelligent and has the ability to mimic any other living being. It has an instinctive drive to destroy planets, and is a highly dangerous entity, so as the ‘Calamity from the Sky’ it was sealed by the Ancients."
----

Similar passages can be found in half a dozen other books, such as in the Crisis Core Complete Guide:

"The 'life form excavated from the earth' mentioned in the 'Ancients Project Outline' document in Scene 03-18 refers to 'Jenova,' an intelligent life form known as the 'calamity from the skies' which crashed into the Knowlespole on a meteorite approximately 2000 years before. Jenova has an instinctive drive to destroy planets, and utilising its abilities to inject a virus into its target and transform them into monsters, and to mimic other forms according to its opponent’s thoughts, it drove the Ancients to near extinction. It was later sealed away by a counter-attack by the Ancients, and remained dormant in the ground until it was exhumed 30 years ago."
----

I want to believe that all the answers come from the game. I think it was conceived as a work in its own right .
The game did lay it out there, though. You just ignored Ifalna for some reason. :monster:

Who would settle an entire planet then move on... to the same planet.
Because it's not the entire planet. "Planet" is just referring to the land in that sentence.

Notice as well that the word translated as "settle" there is the same word Aerith used earlier in the game in the line translated as "The Cetra were born from the Planet, speak with the Planet, and unlock the Planet."

Here's the Japanese text of Sephiroth's line that was translated as "They would migrate in, settle the Planet, then move on":

旅をして、星を開き、そしてまた旅……

And here's Aerith's line:

セトラの民、星より生まれ 星と語り、星を開く

開く refers to opening, unsealing, or unfolding something -- or bringing it into bloom. In these sentences, 開く means something closer to "cultivate" than "settle down on."

For that matter, Aerith says it right there: the Cetra were born from the planet. They aren't from space.
 
#15
Tres is right, I meant that Jenova metaphorically represents humanity's misunderstanding of nature and how misusing nature leads to our own downfall. Jenova isn't evil any more than ebola is evil or a cobra is evil, although the humans afflicted by it feel its effects as evil. Jenova can't be evil, because she's just a virus. She's But Sephiroth is evil. He has a malignant will. That's the human in him. Also, he's wrong. He misunderstands the nature of Jenova and misunderstands Cloud. And as Rufus states in ACC, life mandates that we always struggle against chaos and entropy, and win.

It seems to me, Kerrigan, than you have a very specific thesis in mind that you want to prove. You're ignoring or rejecting the enormous body of canon evidence that disproves your thesis about the significance of Jenova and focusing only on any little thing that can prove it.
 
#16
They would migrate in, settle the Planet, then move on...
Because it's not the entire planet. "Planet" is just referring to the land in that sentence.
I'm sorry but a planet is a planet, not some patch of land. Planet seems to be written each time the same way in the Japanese sentences that you provide. Moreover the actions of opening, unsealing, or unfolding are things that are usually done only once. I guess even more so if you're talking about a planet.
In any case, nature never needed humans to bloom.
Are there really many ways to understand this sentence ?
 

The Twilight Mexican

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TresDias
#17
I'm sorry but a planet is a planet, not some patch of land.
We're talking about a setting in which the most informed character present (Bugenhagen) says things like "spirit energy makes it possible for Planets to be Planets."

The word "planet" gets used in a variety of ways throughout FFVII and related projects -- to mean everything from the spiritual essence of the world; to the entirety of the physical mass of rock and dirt inhabited by that spiritual essence; to limited parts of that physical mass rather than the whole of it.

Moreover the actions of opening, unsealing, or unfolding are things that are usually done only once. I guess even more so if you're talking about a planet.
In any case, nature never needed humans to bloom.
And in real life, a whole continent wouldn't get covered in ice because there was too little spirit energy available in the vicinity to grow grass. Due to it all being used to repair a giant meteor-induced crater. But that's what happened to the northern continent of FFVII's world.

The facts of the matter are that, in this setting, nature did need some help. The FFVII Ultimania Omega says this on the subject:

"They spoke with the Planet and helped to cultivate it, channeling the Lifestream to many places, inciting an abundant cycle of life."

The Crisis Core Complete Guide says:

"The Ancients are said to have opened up Lifestream veins in the land, working to make the planet fertile."

Other books say similar things -- and I'd argue that the game itself made all this clear anyway. Ifalna spoke of cultivating the land, while Elder Hargo at Cosmo Canyon says "The life of the Ancients is one continuous journey. A journey to grow trees and plants, produce animals, and to raise Mako energy."

I'm not saying you're the only one to have ever misunderstood this plot point, but I am saying that the subject comes across in the game even without the books.

Are there really many ways to understand this sentence ?
Well, how many ways are there to take "The Cetra were born from the Planet"? How do they "return to the Planet" if they aren't from it? Why is the Lifestream their Promised Land?

You're trying to make a very simple story into something profoundly paradoxical, and ignoring more than half a dozen official resources (including the game itself) to get to that desired destination.
 
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The Engineer
#18
The concept of "The Planet" being sentient in some way and having a river of spirit energy that behaves like its blood is a very common world-building trope in the entire Final Fantasy series. Just off the top of my head, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 14 all have some type of "reincarnation" cycle where when something living dies, it becomes spirit energy which goes to the River of Spirit Energy to energize the Planet and is then reborn as something else. "The Planet" is very closely tied to "The Land" and generally speaking, as goes the Land so goes the Planet and vice-versa. If the River of Spirit Energy is the Planet's blood, the Land is the Planet's skin. This goes so far that things like ecology are tied to how well the Planet is doing and less to where on the Planet a given location is. The Northern Crater in FF7 is cold and snowy, not because it is in the far North, but because there's a massive wound to the Land there that drains Spiritual Energy to heal it. FF14 has a similar thing going on in Corthas where the land became aspected towards ice spirit energy during a catastrophe and is now permanently frozen over.

How sentient the Planet is varies a lot from game to game though. FF8 barely has a Planet present at all even though it does seem to have a River of Spirit Energy. FF14's Planet is so sentient, she is practically her own character (and, fortunately for everyone, wants the life on her to stay alive). Most Planets fall somewhere in-between though and are more like if a planet had an instinct for it's own survival more then anything else. FF9 is a good example of this with one dying Planet trying to absorb the River of Spirit Energy of another Planet.

What does tend to be the case for all Planets though is that the life native to them is almost considered to be a sub-part of the Planet itself. In the Cetra's case, the Cetra are considered part of the Planet because they are native to the Planet. The Planet doesn't really consider them to be separate from itself. You could almost say that the Cetra were how the Planet healed itself before Jenova came and messed things up.

Most things that are considered "alien" to Planets are life that did not originate on the Planet. Jenova in FF7, the monsters from the Lunar Cry in FF8, and the other planet (I forget its name) in FF9 and Midgardsormr, Omega and Ultima, The High Seraph, in FF14 would all be considered to be beings that did not orrginate on the Planet they are on when we run into them. And pretty much all of those are hostile towards the life that does orrginate on the Planet it is on.
 
#19
Here are some pretty direct words of god that I found on this website :
https://thelifestream.net/canon-of-ffvii/is-ffvii-connected-to-ffx-and-x-2/

Is there a connection, for example, with Shinra’s name, which of course reminds one of FFVII? The “last mission” line and Rin’s “I am not alone in my thinking” line from “Detective Rin” have strong implications.

Nojima:
“As a matter of fact, yes. Shinra quits the Gullwings, receives enormous financial assistance from Rin and uses Vegnagun to extract mako energy from the Farplane. However, he can’t complete the system to utilize the energy in a single generation, and the Shin-Ra Company is built on another planet in the future once travel to distant planets is possible, and stuff like that … Those things happen about 1000 years after this story, though.”
The Cetra are really migrating from planet to planet, I guess that's a fact now.
 
#21
Nojima simply proves by this answer that the Cetra travel from planet to planet.
To do this they extract the Mako used to operate their technology. Nothing more.
 
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The Twilight Mexican

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#22
@S.L.Kerrigan
You've concluded that a people who lived in harmony with the planet were utilizing mako extraction to power advanced mechanical technology -- precisely the opposite of living in harmony with the planet? That's literally the central conflict of the game.

How are you associating the use of technological convenience that abuses nature with the Cetra who followed their culture's mission to facilitate the planet's growth? We're talking about people who used giant shells as houses rather than cutting down trees.

Who are you claiming then are supposed to be the Cetra who Sephiroth mentions "stopped their migrations, built shelters and elected to lead an easier life"? What appreciable difference would there be between them and the Cetra who didn't change lifestyles?
 
#23
Nojima simply proves by this answer that the Cetra travel from planet to planet.
To do this they extract the Mako used to operate their technology. Nothing more.
I'm not sure how you go from the Nojima quote, which says that some people travelled from Spira to FFVII planet (probably only in one ship but we're not sure), to the conclusion that the people who came from S[ira were Cetra. When Shinra crash-landed on FFVII's planet, it was already populated.

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with having headcanon for an AU.
 
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