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Gaia - My Patron Deity


Introduction

Gaia is terra mater, the mother Earth, and the oldest of the goddesses. She is the personification of the "all-mother", she who gives and takes life. She sprang from Chaos, and in turn bore from herself Pontus (the sea), and Uranus (the sky) and married him. Their children are the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Hecatoncheires. With Tartarus she is the mother of the monster Typhon.

Her Roman counterpart is Tellus, the fertile soil. Other names Gaea Ge

Gaia is the the earth goddess. She is regarded as all-producing and all-nourishing, and one of the deities of presiding over marriage. She was the mother of Cronus, by Uranus. Gaia was also the mother of the Titans, the Gigantes, and the Cyclopes.

Uranus is the sky god and first ruler. He is the son of Gaia, who created him without help. He then became the husband of Gaia and together they had many offspring, including twelve of the Titans. His rule ended when Cronus, encouraged by Gaia, castrated him. He either died from the wound or withdrew from earth

Briareus or Aegaeon was a son of Uranus and Gaia. Was a giant with a hundred hands and fifty heads who helped Zeus to conquer the Titans, and guarded them when they were imprisoned in Tartarus.

Oceanus was the son of Uranus and Gaia. He was the only Titan not to revolt against Uranus

To Earth the Mother of All

I will sing of well-founded Earth, mother of all, eldest of all beings. She feeds all creatures that are in the world, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of her store.

Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children and blessed in their harvests, and to you it belongs to give means of life to mortal men and to take it away. Happy is the man whom you delight to honor! He has all things abundantly: his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered with cattle, and his house is filled with good things. Such men rule orderly in their cities of fair women: great riches and wealth follow them: their sons exult with ever-fresh delight, and their daughters in flower-laden bands play and skip merrily over the soft flowers of the field. Thus is it with those whom you honor O holy goddess, bountiful spirit. Hail, Mother of the gods, wife of starry Heaven; freely bestow upon me for this my song substance that cheers the heart! And now I will remember you and another song also.

Historica
Gaia is the Earth goddess in Greek mythology, Terra Mater, the eldest of the gods, who emerged out of Chaos and gave birth as she slept to her son Uranus (Ouranos), the Sky god. He showered fertile rain upon her secret clefts as he gazed down fondly upon her from the mountains, and she bore grass, flowers, trees, and birthed the astounding array of birds and beasts to populate them. The fertile rain of Uranus also made the rivers flow and lakes and seas came into being when the hollow places filled with water.

She mated with her son and husband Uranus to produce the Titans, who joined their brothers in prison. First came the hundred-handed Hecatoncheires, the giants Briareus, Gyges and Cottus. The three one-eyed Cyclopes (the "Wheel-eyed") were next, master smiths and builders of gigantic walls. Their names were Brontes, Steropes and Arges.

But their relationship was so passionate, and the embrace of Uranus and Gaia (Sky and Earth) was so overwhelming, that their offspring could not emerge from her womb.

You see, Uranus was afraid that one of his Titan children would end up overthrowing him and taking over rule of the Universe. The Titans were thus imprisoned by Uranus in Tartarus, a region of the Underworld. It was said that it would take a falling anvil nine days to reach its bottom. This caused Mother Earth great grief, so she conceived a sharp sickle that one of her children, Cronus, used to severe his father's genitals. The god Uranus was emasculated and the Sky separated from the Earth. From the blood of Uranus that fell on her, Gaia conceived the Erinyes (Furies), the avenging goddesses who pursued and punished murderers and evil-doers. The Erinyes were called "those who walk in the darkness". The nymphs of the ash-tree, called the Meliae, also sprang from that blood.

Uranus thus faded from the mythological scene and Cronus married his sister Rhea, becoming supreme ruler of the Universe. This was regarded by the Greeks as the Golden Age of the Titans. But Cronus was just as paranoid as his father, and, heeding the warning of an oracle, in turn he swallowed all the children he fathered with his wife Rhea, afraid that they would do to him as he did to Uranus.

On the advice of Gaia, Rhea gave Cronus a stone wrapped in baby blankets, and the gullible Cronus "swallowed" the ruse, instead of his baby boy Zeus. The child was secretly taken to the island of Crete and raised by the Nymphs. Eventually Zeus grew up to free his swallowed siblings and with their help indeed overthrew Cronus and became the supreme Olympian.

Gaia may have saved Zeus from a fate similar to his father's when she warned him that any child born by Metis ('Thought'), whom Zeus desired as wife, would grow up to supplant him as King of the gods. Heeding Gaia's advice, Zeus swallowed Metis and in due time the goddess Athena sprang from his head.

Mother Earth even proved helpful to Zeus in his fight versus Atlas and the Titans, shortly after taking power. However, she and Zeus parted company once her twenty-four sons, the Giants, attacked Olympus. (Many claim that this battle represented the last attempt to reassert female leadership over the heavens, symbolizing the war fought between those who preferred matriarchal (women-ruled) philosophies over those who wanted patriarchal ones.)

Even though Gaia was one of the most prominent figures in the earliest myths, Mother Earth suffered a greatly diminished status with the eventual transfer of power to patriarchal (men-ruled) societies. She drifts between being an individual character and a personified conceptual entity representing the original life force of the earth.

Gaia appeared in minor roles in a handful of later myths, but eventually the shift to Zeus' rule saw him being assigned most of her responsibilities and accomplishments. Mother Earth came to be perceived as more of a concept or metaphysical notion than an active goddess. She was never part of the Olympians' council of twelve, up on Mount Olympus, because she was considered too old and set in her ways to suit the new breed of gods.

The story of the separation between Earth and Sky is an ancient one, found in a variety of forms in West Asian mythology. Gaia seems to have started as a Neolithic earth-mother worshipped before the Indo-European invasion that eventually led to the Hellenistic civilization. She is the oldest of the goddesses and the personification of the "All-mother", or "Goddess of All Things", she who gives and takes life.

Gaia's children with Uranus are the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the hundred-handed giants called the Hecatoncheires. With Tartarus she is the mother of the monster Typhon and the Giants. Her Roman counterpart is Tellus, the fertile soil. While much Greek literature uses the name Gaia, Ge, Gaia or Gea, most modern readers will recognize her as Mother Earth.

Gaia and Uranus

In Hesiod's Theogony, after Chaos appeared Gaia, or Ge, the mother of all creation. She gave a parthenogenetical birth to Uranus, the Sky, "whom she made her equal in grandeur so that he entirely covered her". Then, she created the high mountains and Pontus, "the sterile sea". Gaia united with her son Uranus and gave birth to the first divine race-the Titans. There were twelve of them, six male: Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Crius, Iapetus, Cronus; and six female: Theia, Rhea, Mnemosyne, Phoebe (1), Tethys and Themis (see genealogical table Uranus-Gaia). Uranus and Gaia then gave birth to the Cyclopes: Brontes, Steropes and Arges, who resembled the other gods but had only one eye in the middle of their forehead. Finally they gave birth to three monsters, Hecatoncheires: Cottus, Briareus and Gyges.

Uranus hated his offspring and as soon as they were born he shut them up in the depths of the Earth. Angry because her children were imprisoned, Gaia decided to take a revenge against her husband. She made a steel and fashioned a sharp sickle. Then she released Cronus, the youngest Titan, and encouraged him to castrate his father and rule in his place. When Uranus came to lie with Gaia that night, Cronus armed with a sickle, cut off his father's testicles and threw them into the sea. From the wound black blood dropped and the drops, seeping into the earth, fertilized Gaia and she gave birth to the Erinyes, the Giants, and to the ash-tree Nymphs, the Meliads. Uranus' discarded genitals broke into a white foam from which was born a young goddess, Aphrodite.

Another famous legend of Gaia is the one in which she helps her daughter Rhea when she was pregnant with Zeus, to protect the child from being eaten by Cronus (see Cronus, Zeus, Rhea). Other Gaia's Unions.

After Uranus' castration, Gaia united with another of her children, Pontus, the sea, with whom she gave birth to five marine divinities: Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto, and Eurybia (see genealogical table Pontus-Gaea).

With Tartarus, Gaia gave birth to her youngest son Typhon, a monster of prodigious strength. In other theogonies Gaia was said to have been the mother of Triptolemus by Oceanus. The giant Antaeus was also said to have been her son, by Poseidon. Other monsters considered by various mythographers as the children of Gaia include: Charybdis, the Harpies, and Python.

Cult and Representations

Gaia possessed a talent of foretelling the future. The Sanctuary at Delphi, the main centre of divination in ancient Greece, was originally sacred to Gaia, before it was won by Apollo. One of her famous oracles was the one in which she prophesied victory to Zeus in his struggle against the Titans if he liberated the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires, whom Cronus had locked in Tartarus (see Zeus, Titans). Gaia was at one time the supreme goddess, whose majesty was acknowledged not only by men but by the gods themselves. Later, when the victorious dynasty of the Olympians was established, her prestige was not lessened. It was still Gaia whom the gods invoked when they made oaths: "I swear by Gaia and the vast sky above her", Hera proclaims when, in the Homer's Iliad she answers Zeus' accusations. Later, as other divinities rose in the estimation of men, the role of Gaia gradually became less important. Her cult, however, always continued in Greece. She was particularly venerated at Delphi and at Olympia. She had sanctuaries at Dodona, Tegea, Sparta and at Athens., She was offered first fruits and grain; but when she was invoked as the guardian of the sanctity of oaths a black ewe was sacrificed in her honour. She was commonly represented in the form of a gigantic woman.

Invocation to Gaia

We ask for the presence of the spirit Gaia and pray that the breath of life continues to caress this planet home. May we grow into true understanding - a deep understanding that inspires us to protect the tree on which we bloom, and the water, soil and atmosphere without which we have no existence.

May we turn inwards and stumble upon our true roots in the intertwining biology of this exquisite planet. May nourishment and power pulse through these roots, and fierce determination to continue the billion-year dance. May we love well up and burst forth from our hearts.

May there be a new dispensation of pure and powerful consciousness and the charter to witness and facilitate the healing of the tattered biosphere. We call upon the spirit of evolution, the miraculous force that inspires rocks and dust to weave themselves into biology. You have stood by us for millions and billions of years - do not forsake us now. Empower us and awaken in us pure and dazzling creativity.

You that can turn scales into feathers, sea-water into blood, caterpillars into butterflies, metamorphose our species, awaken in us the powers that we need to survive the present crisis and evolve into more aeons of our solar journey.

Awaken us a sense of who we truly are: tiny ephemeral blossoms on the Tree of Life. Make the purposes and destiny of that tree our own purpose and destiny. Fill each of us with love for our true self, which includes all of the creatures and plants and landscapes of the world. Fill us with a powerful urge for the well being and continual unfolding of the Self.

May we speak in all human councils on behalf of the animals and plants and landscapes of the Earth. May we shine with a pure inner passion that will spread rapidly through these laden times.

May we all awaken to our true and only nature - none other than the nature of Gaia, this living planet Earth. We call upon the power which sustains thee planets in their orbits, that wheels our Milky Way in its two-hundredth million year spiral, to imbue our personalities and our relationships with harmony, endurance and joy. Fill us with a sense of immense time so that our brief, flickering lives may truly reflect the work of vast ages past and also the millions of years of evolution whose potential lies in our trembling hands.

O' stars, lend us your burning passion O' silence, give weight to our voice. We ask for the presence of the spirit of Gaia.

 

For we are a part of the Infinite Cycle