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Gaia

Gaia

Pre-Olympian Greek earth goddess, worshiped as mother of all. She mated with her son Uranus and bore Titans, the Cyclops, and Hectoncheires. Worship of Gaia continued after the rise of the Olympians, and she was regarded as a powerful influence in marriage, healing the sick, and divination. She was represented as a gigantic female form. Earlier cultures also had religious concepts of a great earth goddess.

The concept of Gaia as earth goddess has been revived in New Age ecological and mystical beliefs. On September 6, 1970, Otter G'Zell, founder of the Church of All Worlds, one of the early modern Neo-Pagan organizations, had a vision of the unity of the Earth's planetary biospherea single organism. He shared the vision with other church members and wrote about it in 1971 in the periodical he edited, The Green Egg.

Atmospheric biochemist James E. Lovelock had a very similar idea at somewhat the same time and through his books Gaia (1979) and The Ages of Gaia (1988) emerged as the leading proponent of this modern Gaia hypothesis of the earth as a living organism. His books propose a dynamic interaction between life and environment, with earth regulating life, and life regulating earth, virtually a single self-regulating entity.

The controversial aspect of Lovelock's concept is the extent the earth may be regarded as a living organism in which life and environment form one dynamic interacting whole. Although not unsympathetic to modern environmentalism, Love-lock proposes a broader frame of reference, and in The Ages of Gaia states: "At the risk of having my membership card of the Friends of the Earth withdrawn, I say that only by pollution do we survive. We animals pollute the air with carbon dioxide, and the vegetation pollutes it with oxygen. The pollution of one is the meat of the other." The Gaia hypothesis has stimulated New Age and Neo-Pagan veneration of Gaia as a living earth goddess and become an integral part of the revival of goddess worship in the last two decades.

The modern Gaia hypothesis was earlier prefigured by such writers as Gustav Fechner (1801-1887) and Francis Younghus-band.

Sources:

Derrey, Francois. The Earth is Alive. London: Arlington Books, 1968.

G'Zell, Otter. Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. London: Oxford University Press, 1979.

. "Theogenesis: The Birth of the Goddess." Green Egg 21, 81 (May 1, 1988): 4-7, 27.

Olson, Carl. The Book of the Goddess, Past and Present. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott, 1983.

Pedlar, Kit. Quest for Gaia. UK: Sovereign Press, 1979.

Stein, Diane. The Women's Spirituality Book. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1987.

Younghusband, Sir Francis. The Living Universe. London: John Murray, 1933.

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Gaia

Gaia

In Greek mythology, the goddess Gaia represented the earth. Also called Gaea or Ge by the Greeks and Terra or Tellus by the Romans, she was a maternal figure who gave birth to many other creatures and deities. Gaia was the child of Chaos, an early deity who produced the gods of the underworld, night, darkness, and love. Gaia gave birth to Uranus, who represented the sky; Pontus, the sea; and Oure, the mountains.

Gaia had numerous other children who appear in a variety of myths. She mated with her son Uranus to create gods, including the Titans, and giants such as the Cyclopes. She was also the mother of Aphrodite*, Echo, the Furies, and the serpent that guarded the Golden Fleece. When Gaia's son, the Titan Cronus*, had children, Gaia and Uranus warned him that one of his offspring would challenge and defeat him. Cronus therefore swallowed each child at birth. However, his wife, Rhea, managed to trick him and save the youngest one, Zeus*.

Gaia is mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid * and the Theogony * by the Greek poet Hesiod. She was widely worshiped at temples in Greece, including the shrine of the oracle at Delphi*. The Greeks also took oaths in Gaia's name and believed that she would punish them if they failed to keep their word.

See also Aeneid, the; Cyclopes; Delphi; Echo; Furies; Golden Fleece; Titans; Uranus; Venus; Zeus.

deity god or goddess

underworld land of the dead

x

Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus

oracle priest or priestess or other creature through whom a god is believed to speak; also the location (such as a shrine) where such words are spoken

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Gaea

Gaea (jē´ə), in Greek religion and mythology, the earth, daughter of Chaos, both mother and wife of Uranus (the sky) and Pontus (the sea). Among Gaea's offspring by Uranus were the Cyclopes, the Hundred-handed Ones (the Hecatoncheires), and the Titans. To Pontus she bore five sea deities. Because Uranus had imprisoned her sons she helped bring about his overthrow by the Titans, who were led by Kronos. She was worshiped as the primal goddess, the mother and nourisher of all things. The Romans identified her with Tellus.

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Gaia

Gaia in Greek mythology, the Earth personified as a goddess, daughter of Chaos. She was the mother and wife of Uranus (Heaven); their offspring included the Titans and the Cyclops.
Gaia hypothesis the theory, put forward by the English scientist James Lovelock (1919– ) in 1969, that living matter on the earth collectively defines and regulates the material conditions necessary for the continuance of life.

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Gaia

Gaia (Gaea) In Greek mythology, mother goddess of the Earth. Wife (and in some legends, mother) of Uranus, she bore the Titans and the Cyclopes.

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Gaia

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