Religious and Spiritual Ideas in Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower”

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Words: 601


“Parable of the Sower” is one of the most significant and valuable science fiction novels written by the famous American writer Octavia Estelle Butler. Thus, it is no secret that the creation of this woman is quite difficult to overestimate. Her non-standard and creative thinking, flexible mind, and originality helped her look at the broader and more profound picture of the world, “see ahead,” and imagine the future that may come. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” includes a collection of knowledge and ideas that help a person learn how to survive and thrive in adverse external conditions, corruption and violence, natural disasters, and threats. The book gives the modern reader a particular “food for the mind” and helps comprehend the past and the present to better prepare for the formation of the future. A discussion of religious and spiritual ideas developed in Lauren’s Earthseed philosophy and the impact of these concepts on society will be presented in this essay.

Earthseed Ideas

The world presented in “Parable of the Sower” is a place in which chaos and devastation, disease and suffering, greed, avarice, and inequality in many aspects reign. Amid this chaos, a reader meets a young black woman, Lauren, who travels around her native lands to seek safety and security from adversity. During her pilgrimage, she forms and develops a religion, Earthseed, the ultimate goal of which is to travel beyond the Earth to “take root among the stars” (Butler, 2012). For instance, the young woman says: “The universe is Godseed. Only we are Earthseed” (Butler, 2012). These principles laid down in this philosophy help to accept certain earthly foundations as reality, fact, or a given gift by the Deity. However, through joint actions and efforts, humanity can bring society to a new, high level and change the world and the future for the better, more just side.

How Earthseed Philosophy seeks to Orient People Toward a New Basis

Lauren’s Earthseed philosophy insists that humanity should look for “seeds of benefit” that can bring harmony, joy, happiness, justice, and unity to everyone in such a “lonely place,” regardless of physical or personal criteria. Moreover, the young woman claims, “All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change” (Butler, 2012). Undoubtedly, there are many obstacles that a person faces, but these challenges provide a unique opportunity for change. Hence, everyone can use the ideas of Earthseed to reflect on the past and present and help form a “new form” of reality. Changes are inevitable, and they must be directed in such a way as to dictate a person’s life. Consequently, if people cannot adapt to cardinal innovations and transformation, then they risk resorting to conservatism and indulging in old, irrelevant ideas. Such actions can fundamentally change a lot of events and phenomena, like a seed that does not receive elements essential for growth and development.


“Parable of the Sower” is primarily a source of wise and bright thoughts that allow one to see the situation from a different angle and look. The new religion developed in this book, Earthseed, has those principles and concepts. A person can change for the better as if a tiny seed sprouted into something valuable and meaningful. The author of such wise philosophical reflections and ideas, like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi, wants to do good and sympathize with other people, abandoning aggression and hostility. She strives to see cheerful and bright moments that others do not see and desires everyone to start with themselves to make the world a more attractive place.


Butler, O. E. (2012). Parable of the sower. Open Road Media.