Do you feel a connection with mother earth? Are you curious to learn more about deities as you are looking for one to establish a deep connection with? You definitely have to read this article.
Today we are going to learn all about Gaia, her story, her myth, and how to honor her.
- Who is Gaia?
- Origins and myth of Gaia
- Gaia as the archetype of femininity
- What is Gaia goddess of?
- How do you know that Gaia is calling you?
- What are Gaia’s symbols?
- My favorite books about Gaia
- My favorite ritual with Gaia
- Gaia’s artwork
Who is Gaia?
Gaia (Γῆ in ancient Greek, also called Gaea in Ionian Greek) is a goddess from Greek mythology. Specifically, she was the primordial goddess, the goddess of the earth. Gaea was the mother of Cronus and Rhea, who in turn generated all the first gods of Olympus (Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Estia, Hades, Demeter) from the Titans then other Olympian gods after that using the aquatic elements. Gaia also generated the Cyclopes with Uranus.
The mother of the earth, the origin of the world, is present to some extent in all the ancestral mythologies of the human being. The earth, Gaia, joined with Uranus, the sky, and they generated all the other gods that exist on the face of the earth.
Hesiod, an author of the most famous Theogony, argues that before Gaia there was only chaos, which symbolized confusion, the primordial union of the whole. Gaia was ‘the mother of all living beings’ as an ancient Greek hymn says.
“Gaia I will sing, the universal mother, very ancient, who nourishes all beings, those who live on earth; those who walk, those in the sea and those who fly, all feed on the abundance that you grant.
Thanks to you men are fruitful with children and rich in crops ” says the ancient hymn. The cult of Gaia was deeply felt in ancient times. As civilization progressed, it became more and more generic and less and less defined.
Origins and myth of Gaia
If we analyze world mythology, we can find surprising similarities between cultures distant to us and cultures closest to us. The creation myths are very similar to each other and see a primordial deity emerging from the chaos to initiate the creation process.
For the ancient Greeks, Gaia was one of the first deities.
Who is the goddess Gaia: a different version of the myth
There are different versions of the birth of Gaia. One version claims that Gaia simply emerged from chaos, while other versions report that Gaia was born of Hydros (Hydrus), the primordial god of the waters. Still, other versions believe she descended from Aiteria (light) and Hermera (day), and from the Protogene (primordial gods). Gaia is the personification of the earth.
According to Hesiod, an ancient Greek poet, the Goddess gave birth to Ouranos (Uranus), the god of the sky. He then also gave birth to the mountains, which were divine personifications, and Pontus, the mythological personification of the sea. It, therefore, led to the existence of the basic structure of the world. Hesiod writes about Gaia, describing her thus: “[..] Broad chest, the sure foundation of all forever”. According to other poets, she was the supreme mother and the source of all the fecundity of nature.
Therefore, it was not only the physical incarnation of the earth but its true essence. The archaeological documentation indicates that the cult of Gaia preceded that of the Olympian gods. Before the gods of Olympus were widely worshiped, a female deity of the earth, known as Tellus, was widely worshiped in some parts of the Mediterranean. She continued to be worshiped even after the creation of a pantheon of new gods. Gaia probably descends from this goddess.
In ancient Greek mythology, Gaia gave birth to Uranus, who was not only her son but also her husband. They had numerous children, many of them monstrous in appearance and character. Their first-born children were the Hecatonchiri (Hundred-hands) – monsters with 100 arms and 50 heads each – and the Cyclops (according to some versions), Arges, Bronte (thunder), and Sterope (lightning). Not all of her children are monstrous beings, however.
It is said that she was the mother of the beautiful nymph Daphne, who caught the attention of Apollo. Her most famous sons, however, are the twelve Titans, who became the first gods of ancient Greece: Ocean, Thetis, Hyperion, Theia, Themes, Rhea, Mnemosine, Iapetus, Ceo, Crio, Phoebe and Cronos.
Gaia and Zeus according to mythology
Gaia played a fundamental role in the dethronement of her husband. Uranus had buried their children (in one of the versions) in the depths of the womb of Gaia, causing considerable pain to the latter. Gaia then encouraged her youngest son, Cronos, to challenge his father, while the others refused.
She created a scythe herself from her own body and told her son to hold it. When Uranus lowered himself (at night) to make love with his wife, Cronos hurled himself with the scythe at him and castrated him, becoming the new lord of the skies.
The cult of Gaia never slipped into the background as her husband did. It is present in many myths, including the overthrowing of Cronos by his own son, Zeus, as well as others. She was still highly revered throughout Greece and the Middle East and there is archaeological evidence of the cult of Gaia and Zeus in Crete, Dodona and Sparta.
By studying the myths and legends relating to this mythological figure, we can see that Gaia was the “Great Mother” of the gods; without her, the ancient Greeks would have had no god to worship. She was the foundation of the cosmos and the very foundation of the Greek belief and religious system.
Gaia as the archetype of femininity
The cult of mother earth as seen is very ancient.
In all the ancient cultures that were originally matriarchal, the same symbolic connections are found based on female fertility, the union of opposites, the life / death / life cycle, the magic circle.
Often the myths, rites, and religions of primitive humanity based their principles on the symbolic formula: woman = body = vase = world, from which the respect one had in matriarchal era for the female figure, at the basis of religious practices aimed at the adoration of the Great Mother.
To better understand the strength of this archetype, we can think of the figure of Pachamama, revered by the South American peoples of the Andes, whose cult includes respect, love and care for the land, how to sing in his honor while working the land. Seeds are sown and food is gathered, sometimes to be buried alongside a piece of land or wood as an offering.
This archetype, therefore, represents universal love, not self-centered love, because it is rooted and aware of the life / death / life cycle. It is present in us when we feel attracted to a universal bond, much more powerful than any human bond when we feel the urge to take root in the body and through it to take root in the earth.
It is the archetype thanks to which we return to nature and nourish our bond with the universal principle.
For me, it is a very important archetype, thanks to which I never felt alone again, but I started to “feel” part of the whole.
What is Gaia goddess of?
She is a goddess of the Earth, Mother of All Creation.
How do you know that Gaia is calling you?
- If you feel your femininity is taking over
- When you feel the need to fight for female rights
- When you feel attracted to all things nature
- When you feel connected with the Earth
Best ways to connect with Gaia
- Spend some time out in nature
- Practice green magick
- Do something to honor your femininity
How do you honor Gaia?
To experience this precious archetype and let yourself be inundated by the force of nature, to rediscover the connection with your body and cyclicality, I recommend that you dedicate yourself to any activity related to nature and working the land.
What are Gaia’s favorite offerings?
Gaia’s favorite offerings are apples and apple trees.
Why the apple?
Era’s golden apple orchard is the Garden of the Hesperides in mythology. The consumption of a golden apple from this special orchard translates into immortality. Hera was given the original apple branches by Gaia, the primeval deity and mother of all life, for her wedding present when she married Zeus.
You can also offer barley and honey, leaving them in the ground to show your thanks and gratitude for her fertility towards the earth.
Prayer for Gaia
“Gaia, Mother Earth
I honor your ancestral energy
I honor your roots
I connect with you
I feel the connection taking over
Your gifts are around me
I harvest them in the name of gratitude and loving awareness
Bless my life with your magick, your energy and your precious gifts
So be it”
What are Gaia’s symbols?
The new symbol, widely used by various environmental/esoteric movements, tends to highlight the generating force of the earth with the spiral, a symbol of change, placed in correspondence with the female belly.
My favorite books about Gaia
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (Oxford Landmark Science) – James Lovelock
This book is a wonderful read. It will teach you to become more and more aware of Mother Earth and all the incredible gifts she has for us. If you want to establish a deeper connection with the earth, cultivating more awareness is the mandatory first step!
The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype – Erich Neumann
If you want to dive deeper into the archetype of the great mother as the feminine energy ruling the whole universe, this is the book you have to read. It’s also a wonderful read for exploring your femininity and rediscovering the roots of ourselves as women.
Gaia: Body & Soul – Toni Carmine Salerno
If you love colored and illustrated books, this one by Toni Carmine Salerno is just great. You will find many ways to honor Gaia and her energy while having a gorgeous, deluxe book to cherish forever!
My favorite ritual with Gaia
Shamanism is a form of religion (with many interesting magical and esoteric aspects) typical of Siberia and Central Asia, although (in a simplified and incorrect way) it is often imagined as typical of Native Americans.
I have some notes about it, and I may share them with you as a historical / philosophical reading for the weekend.
Shamanism uses many rituals to find harmony with Mother Earth and stimulate her healing. One of them is connected with the hunt for the soul and allows us to return the parts of the soul that we have stolen from the Earth.
This ritual is simple and extremely powerful and can be performed by everyone, even alone, by creating a solitary (and quiet) personal space. It has a particular significance when done in the form of a shamanic journey, but it can still be experienced by anyone. It is a series of guided visualizations and can also be used as a form of thanks and exchange towards the planet.
You can also consider it, if you are not initiated into the shamanic religion, also as a splendid moment of meditation to be included in a practice of natural magic (or green, as you prefer.)
If you want to experience this ritual, you can record the sentences that follow in a sweet and relaxed voice, leaving ample time to fully enjoy the fruits between one instruction and the next, taking into account that the experience should last at least half an hour. Use the recording to guide yourself or your friends through this experience.
First, relax, lie down comfortably so that your whole body is supported by the Earth and put a bandana over your eyes to cover them.
Start breathing and let any tension and muscle cramps in your body dissolve.
Now imagine that you go to a natural place that you like, or to which you are linked by positive memories.
It can be a meadow, a clearing, a valley, next to a stream …
Imagine the sensations caused by the place where you are: a warm breeze on your face, the earth under your bare feet, the scents of the air, the rustling of the leaves and the song of birds.
Feel connected with Nature; at some point, you will feel a form calling you from a tree; approach him and ask permission to be near him.
Lie on the ground next to the trunk, and begin to merge with the environment: the earth beneath you, the life of the tree next to it, the air around it, the sun …
Merge with the tree: feel the sap flowing, the energy that is collected by the leaves, the roots that penetrate the soil in search of nourishment …
Feel the water, the mineral salts that enter your body through the roots; feel the nourishment, the energy that from the earth reaches the branches, facing the sky …
Feel the nourishment that penetrates your every cell, that pervades you, live it as a vital vibration …
After traveling through the trunk of the tree to the branches, the same energy now travels through the trunk of your body to your limbs …
Feel the energy that enters you, the vibration that also reaches the cells of your body as well as those of the tree …
Begin to feel your connection with Mother Earth, with the energy of the sun, with all forms of life, with Nature …
Feel your roots go deeper and deeper …
In the meantime, the time has passed, autumn has come and the leaves of the tree fall and cover you in a soft embrace, like a blanket that will protect you from the rigors of winter …
Then spring arrives, the sap flows again on the earth and around you, life swarms everywhere, and you feel surrounded by loving brothers …
It’s summer again, but the heat doesn’t bother you because the leaves protect you …
It is new autumn, new leaves are falling, and the layer of leaves is thickening …
Time begins to pass faster and faster, a year lasts less than a minute, and you sink more and more into the warm and protective womb of the Mother …
Now that you are wrapped in her loving embrace, think back to all the ways in which you may have stolen her soul and return it to her, asking her for a sign of her forgiveness and acceptance …
When you feel that you have received this sign, slowly and gently return to the awareness of your physical body …
Calmly, without hurrying, move the bandana from your eyes to the third eye and bring your attention back to the physical plane …
Stand up, play sweet, celebratory music, and dance your newfound harmony with Mother Earth.
The most iconic Gaia Artwork sees a pregnant woman, pregnant with the world. She is colored with the green of nature, the blue of the sea, the brown of the earth representing all things linked to our planet. Her hair is made up of green leaves.