Gaia was the ancient Greek goddess of the earth. She was seen as the personification of the earth itself and was one of the very earliest primordial deities, the mother of all. Through a union with Uranus (the sky) came most of the gods and much of creation. This story always reminds me of the words of Carl Sagan “the ancient peoples recognised that we are children equally of the earth and the sky.”
Gaia has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years thanks to the scientist James Lovelock and his 1970’s Gaia Theory. This is a hypothesis that all “organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.” It suggests that organisms “co-evolve with their environment”, that things influence their environments and are in turn influenced by those environments. It is a theory that has gradually been refined and is now beginning to gain acceptance across a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines.
In my spiritual practice, Mother Nature, or more specifically the Earth Mother is central. I often call her Dana rather than Gaia though and I say a prayer of praise to her often to help express my attitudes of reverence, gratitude and awe at the wonderful world around us. She is personified on my altar with a central tree, the world tree, and I am hoping to get hold of a statue of her at some point too. I have previously written of that prayer here. Do you honour the Earth Mother, Gaia, in your spiritual practice? How do you do this?