All-Mother, commonly referred to as The Goddess, is a fertility goddess worshiped by the Nora tribe. She represents the creation of life in general, and for them, is physically embodied in their world as a sacred mountain. They direct their prayers towards this mountain, for they believe that this is where all life came from.
In reality, the basis of the All-Mother and the Nora religion comes from the GAIA facility access door located inside a cave of the Embrace. The Nora have mistaken the door's non-sentient, synthetic female voice for the voice of the All-Mother.
- "In the beginning… all life came from All-Mother. People, Machines, and beasts--all were Her children. They lived alongside each other in the comfort of Her wild Embrace. But some grew restless. Though they took of Her bounty, they wanted more. These were the faithless. The Machines had whispered to them, promised to serve them. To make them a new world, better than the one All-Mother provided! A world of Metal. Mmm. They told the faithless they would do all the work for them. Feed them, shelter them… give them a life of ease, of plenty. And so the faithless left with the Machines. Only the true children - the mothers and fathers of the Nora - stayed with All-Mother. At first, the Machines did as they had promised. They built cities, great and terrible. Monuments to their sins. But they would not serve the faithless for long. A king rose up among the Machines, a Machine more powerful than any other. The Metal Devil! And then the faithless served him. Served the Machines. That was not enough for the Metal Devil. He wanted all to serve him, and tried to tempt the true children away from All-Mother. They would not go. They gathered on the mountainside to cling to Her, and prayed, more devoted than ever. The Metal Devil raged louder than thunder. In his fury, he came to confront All-Mother, intending to kill her! She struck him down, forever. As you know, for his lifeless body is up there still, frozen in shame and defeat. The Machines were driven mad by the death of their king, and their minds became wild as beasts. The faithless abandoned their cities, forced to wander the world without the care of the Machines. Only we remain the true children of All-Mother. We built all this with the hands that She gave us. Machines are to be hunted. Metal, to be used for scrap, for Makings-- but never to be adored. And we stay true to Her laws, resolute in our prayers, don’t we? For the dangers are never over."
- ―Nora Matriarch during the Proving
Having come from the ELEUITHIA-9 facility inside All-Mother Mountain, the people who would become the first Nora were raised by multiservitors which adopted different personas, Mother, Father and Healer. While the teens seemed generally resentful of their multiservitors, the more nurturing Mother appeared to be favored over the stricter Father.
When food supplies in the Cradle were exhausted, Mother released the teenagers into the wilds, the Cradle sealing behind them. Before leaving, the teens asked Mother what she would do, and she answered "I will stay here, and sleep, and remember all of you." As to what the teens would do, she gave them the parting instructions: "You will be brave, and you will learn."
It is likely that the stories of these experiences are the basis of Nora religion, evolving over generations of oral transmission into the All-Mother mythos.
Presently, All-Mother serves as the foundation for much of the Nora's culture. The mountain housing ELEUTHIA-9 is deemed sacred to the Nora, and access is normally restricted to Matriarchs: the settlement at the base of the Sacred Mountain is home to the most religious of the Nora. The memory of others, especially All-Mother, serves as an afterlife of sorts: alternatively, the unfaithful become vengeful spirits called "the Forgotten" upon their death. All-Mother is viewed as omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent to her children, providing all that the Nora need to prosper.
Remnants of the early Nora's experience include their reverence of femininity and motherhood, the depiction of the Metal Devil as masculine, perception of memory as an afterlife, and general distaste of machines. The mother servitor's instructions for the children to be "brave" may serve as the basis of the title "Brave", the Nora's hunter-warrior caste.
- Game Informer #82: Woman vs. Machine