Gaia was the goddess or personification of Earth in ancient Greek religion, one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the primal Greek Mother Goddess; creator and giver of birth to the Earth and all the Universe. Gaia was the primordial element from which all the gods originated and was worshiped throughout Greece, but later she went into decline and was supplanted by other gods. Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.
In the beginning, there was only formless Chaos; light and dark, blended in shapelessness. Then Chaos settled into form, and gave birth to Gaia. She existed before time began, for Time was one of Her children. In the timeless spans before creation she existed to herself and of herself alone.
Gaia desired love and for this purpose she made Herself a son, Uranus, the heaven, who arched over his mother and satisfied her desire. Their mating released Gaia’s creative force, both marvelous and monstrous. Uranus hated and envied Gaia’s other children, so the primeval mother kept them hidden from his destructiveness.
Eventually, however, Her dark and crowded womb grew too heavy to endure. So Gaia created a new element: gray adamant. And from it she fashioned a new tool, never known before – a jagged-toothed sickle. With this Gaia armed Her son Cronos (Time), who took the weapon from his Mother’s hand and hid himself.
Soon, Uranus came, drawing a dark sky-blanket over himself as he approached his Mother-Lover. Then his brother-son Cronos sprang into action, grasping Uranus’ genitals and sawing them off with the rough blade. Blood fell in a heavenly rain on Mother Gaia. So fertile that even the blood of the mutilated sky impregnated Her. The Erinyes sprang up; so did the Giants and the ash-tree nymphs, the Meliae, humanity’s ancestors. They threw Uranus’ testicles into the sea, causing the sea to foam and out of that white foam rose Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty.
It was Gaia who saved Zeus, (son of Gai and Cronus) from being swallowed by Cronus, after Zeus had been born. Gaia helped Rhea to wrap a stone in swaddling clothes, this was to trick Cronus in to thinking it was Zeus, because Cronus had been informed that one of his children would depose him, and so to get rid of his children he had swallowed them. Gaia’s trick worked and Zeus was then taken to Crete.
Gaia, as Mother Nature, personifies the entire ecosystem of Planet Earth. In the 1960s, James Lovelock formulated the Gaia hypothesis. It states that all life, and all living things on this planet, are part of a single, all-encompassing global entity or consciousness which he named Gaia. It is this global consciousness, Mother Gaia, that makes our planet capable of supporting life.
Gaia’s themes are abundance, providence, thankfulness, nature, divination, promises and the earth. Her symbols are harvested foods (especially fruit and grains) and soil. So sacred are Gaia’s soils that any promise made with one hand on the earth is irrevocable.
The Greeks worshiped Gaia’s power with barley and honey cakes placed at sacred openings in her surface. At such fissures, too, gifted people would read the will of the Great Mother, for she was through all ages the primeval prophet who inspired the oracles at Delphi, Dodona, and elsewhere. And it was to Gaia – even in the days when Zeus ruled the pantheon – that the Greeks swore their most sacred oaths, thus recognizing her ancient theological sovereignty. The oracle at Delphi belonged to Gaia before Apollo took over, giving her the additional attribute of prophesy.
To help keep yourself true to a promise, carry a few pinches of soil with you in a sealed container today. If you sense your resolve waning, release a little back to Gaia. This invokes her strength and sense of duty.