Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SpiritScope #1: Gaia, The Mother Earth

"First in my prayer, before all other deities,

I call upon Gaia, Primeval Prophetess . . .

The Greek great earth mother."


Gaia is synonomous in the modern mind twith the Earth Mother..and She has a long history to back up that fame!
In ancient Greek, 'Gaia' translates literally as 'earth' or 'land', She occupied a very important role in Greek spiritual belief as a primordial Mother Goddess and Cthonic (underworld) Goddess as well. Many of us are familiar with the ancient oracle located at Delphi in the old world- and some scholars now believe that Gaia was originally the sponsor of this orcale.

In many cultures acorss the globe and time itself, the Earth has been seen as a nurturing Mother figure. Aside Greece, Sumerian, Akkadian, Norse, Irish, Hindu & Lithuanian path's all celebrated a Supreme Goddess figure who was identified with the Earth itself. In Hinduism, the Divine Mother is often called 'Gayatri' which has a striking similarity to the name 'Gaia'.

According to a great entry on Wikipedia regarding Gaia, "the broad-breasted Gaia' arose from chaos as the primordial Creatrix giving foundation and creation to the great Gods of Olympus and made Uranus (the starry sky) to cover her own body. Hesiod says in his creation story...

"Gaia, the beautiful, rose up,

Broad blossomed, she that is the steadfast base

Of all things. And fair Gaia first bore

The starry Heaven, equal to herself,

To cover her on all sides and to be

A home forever for the blessed Gods."

In ancient Greece, any oath sword in the name of Gaia was considered to be the most binding of all!

In traditional mythology, Gaia was represented by Her sacred animals- Serpent, Bull, Pig and Bees. She was also symbolised by the poppy and pomegranite- both multi-cultural symbols for death and rebirth.

In modern scientific theory Gaia still plays a role in what is called 'the Gaia hypothesis' where is is proposed that all life on earth are parts and parcels of a greater living entity (the Earth itself). Many Neo-Pagan and environmentally-based spiritual paths have adopted a similar view of this great Goddess in how they rever and interact with Her.

In our modern lives, we can often become very disconnected from Gaia... Our ancestors relied completely on the land in a way that put them in direct contact with the blessings of the Earth every day. If crops, livestock, weather, seasons and so forth did not happen in the right way- it could mean a dire death. Our ancestors were acutely aware of the importance of forging a loving relationships with the Earth, their home and Mother. In our world- most of us never have to plant a seed, harvest a vegetable or worry about losing everything to a drought and so we have become fundamentally disconnected from the power of the Earth as a nurturing Mother. Once way we can tap this power is to cimply engage in some form of gardening (porch, container, etc.) and spend more time appreciating the beauty, intelligence and healing splendour of the natural world.
Traditional Hymn Prayer to Gaia
Oh Goddess, Source of Gods and Mortals,

All-Fertile, All-Destroying Gaia,

Mother of All, Who brings forth the bounteous fruits and flowers,

All variety, Maiden who anchors the eternal world in our own,

Immortal, Blessed, crowned with every grace,

Deep bosomed Earth, sweet plains and fields fragrant grasses in the nurturing rains,

Around you fly the beauteous stars, eternal and divine,

Come, Blessed Goddess, and hear the prayers of Your children,

And make the increase of the fruits and grains your constant care, with the fertile seasons Your handmaidens,

Draw near, and bless your supplicants.

~Orphic Hymn to Gaia~
translated and interpreted by Virginia Stewart, M.Ed.

I hope this spring finds you healthy, joyful and abundant in the 'deep-breasted' nurturing of the Earth mother!

Peace & Great Blessings,
Josh Williams

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