Gaea, Gaiea, Ga, Ge
Gaia is a primordial Greek goddess, representing the Earth. The Greek word for ‘land’ is ‘ge’ or ‘ga’. Gaia’s other names include Mother Earth, the Deep-Breasted One, or Great Mother of All.
She is thought to have been born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe. She later gave birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (the Sky).
Gaia had many offspring through her union with Uranus, including the Giants, Cyclopes and the three monsters Hecatonchires, and the twelve Titans, led by her son Cronos/Kronos.
Uranus was so fearful of their offspring that either Gaia hid them or they were imprisoned within her womb. Upset with this, she persuaded her son Cronos to castrate his father. This was thought to separate Earth from Sky and prevent more monstrous offspring.
Gaia predicted that Cronos would be overthrown by one of his own children. As a result, Cronos devoured all of his children except one, Zeus, who was hidden from Cronos by his wife Rhea with help from Gaia. Once Zeus returned from Crete, he overthrew his Titan father and became leader of the Olympians.
Gaia gave birth to the Sea Gods, Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia, through her union with Pontus (the Sea). She is also thought to have given birth to all mortal creatures which were sprung from her earthy flesh.
Earth Mother goddesses are common in many pantheons. In Roman mythology, she was known as Tellus or Terra Mater (Mother Earth). The Celts worshipped Anu/Danu as their Earth Mother. Other Earth Mother goddesses include Nerthus (Germanic), Mut (Egyptian), Cel (Etruscan), Tiamat (Babylonian), and Papatuanuku (Maori).
Gaia was considered a goddess of prophecy, and it was believed that the Oracle at Delphi was powered by her earthly energy.
Today, many Neopagans honor Gaia as the Earth itself or the embodiment of the Earth’s power and energy.
© A Year And A Day (2013)