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Goddess Sunday: Earth Day, Gaia’s Day

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

Blessings of Earth Day to you and your beloveds!

All honor and gratitude to our beautiful Mother Earth, Gaia

Today is Earth Day, first declared on April 22, 1970.

So naturally, our Goddess Sunday is dedicated to Mama Gaia, the Earth Herself.

In Greek mythology,  Gaia (or Gaea) is the Protogenos (primeval divinity) of Earth, one of the primal elements who first emerged at the dawn of creation, along with Tartaros (the pit of the Underworld) and Eros (love). While She is said to have been born of Chaos, which existed before, as the original Immortal, it was not so much a birthing as the fact that as Chaos receded, Gaia came into being.

Then from Her, all the Gods and mortal generations throughout time were born.

Gaia’s first creation was the Sky — Ouranos (Uranus).  Gaia gave birth to Ouranos to surround Herself on all sides and to be Her equal in all ways.  Gaia then brought forth Ourea (the Mountains), Pontos (the deep sea), and the Cyclopes (the Orb-Eyed). All were born to Gaia without consort, that is, without the aid of a father.

Although She then chose Him for Her consort and gave Him absolute dominion over the Heavens, Ouranos was devious and cruel, wanting to usurp all of Her power. He was so jealous of any threat to His power, he imprisoned the first three of their sons in Gaia’s womb.

So Gaia persuaded Her next children to help subdue their father. Their son Cronus (Saturn) took a flint sickle and castrated His father, throwing the severed organs into the great sea. The Goddess Aphrodite was born of the mixing of Ouranos’ blood with the foam.

Throughout the most ancient Middle Eastern religions (and later in Greece, Rome, and for many today), She is the Mother Goddess, the great symbol of the Earth’s fertility.

You may know Her by a thousand other names, including Astarte (Syria), Ceres (Rome), Cybele (Phrygia), Demeter (Greece), Ishtar (Babylon), and Isis (Egypt). All are the interwoven facets of the great Primal Mother Gaia.

The later forms of Her cult also included the worship of a male deity (Her son or lover, including Adonis or Osiris), whose death and resurrection symbolized the regenerative power of the Earth.  This theme has been carried forward into the modern era.

Goddess scholar Patrician Monaghan writes, “Even after the Earth Mother had been supplanted as the primary divinity by invading Olympians, the Greeks worshiped Gaia’s power with barley and honey cakes placed at sacred openings in Her surface.

“At such fissures, too, gifted people would read the will of the Great Mother, for She was through all ages the ‘primeval prophet,’ who inspired the oracles at Delphi, Dodona, and elsewhere.”

Patricia concludes, “And it was to Gaia — even in the days when Zeus ruled the pantheon — that the Greeks swore their most sacred oaths, thus recognizing Her ancient theological sovereignty.”

Gaia Today

In modern times, Gaia is the name of a powerful hypothesis of holistic ecology. Formulated by the chemist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, Wikipedia notes, “Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.

“The scientific investigation of the Gaia hypothesis focuses on observing how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms contribute to the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other factors of habitability in a preferred homeostasis…

“Initially received with hostility by the scientific community, it is now studied in the disciplines of geophysiology and Earth system science, and some of its principles have been adopted in fields like biogeochemistry and systems ecology. This ecological hypothesis has also inspired analogies and various interpretations in social sciences, politics, and religion.”

In Gaia’s honor, let us vow to make “Earth Day – Every Day.”

I remember the first Earth Day very well.  Although I was in high school, I was very politically active, living as we did in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. during the height of the peace and civil rights movements.

In fact, one of my classmates from Fort Hunt High School, Michelle, participated in the original “teach-in” of that first Earth day,  spearheaded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.  They were inspired by the Vietnam War protests on college campuses, and decided to organize a large-scale, grassroots event to raise awareness about the importance of environmentalism.

Over 20 million people across the U.S. participated in that first Earth Day (and remember — there was no Facebook, Twitter, or even email to connect people). But nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come and so it took off from there.

That same year, the National Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Protection Agency were founded. The environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace was founded soon after, in 1971. Within the next few years, the burgeoning environmental movement managed to pass the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Endangered Species Act.

Sadly, these groups are now struggling for financial support, with a triple whammy of a difficult economy, charity burnout, and brazen infractions by corporate scofflaws draining their legal funds.

Worse, the governmental agencies, programs, and laws created then are now being gutted. Usually this is under the false flag that environmental protections cost jobs. In fact, jobs are created in a greener economy, and jobs won’t matter if the cataclysmic climate changes we are already seeing disrupt life as we know it.

However, we’re not beaten yet.  According to the Earth Day Network (EDN), which works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries, more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Join me in honoring Gaia today, and every day forward, by making your life greener, by offering Her your service, and by electing and supporting Her champions that battle on the front lines of the Turning Blessed be.

For I am the Soul of Nature, who giveth life to the universe; from me all things proceed, and unto me must all things return; and before my face, beloved of Gods and mortals, thine inmost divine self shall be unfolded in the rapture of infinite joy.
The Charge of the Goddess, by Doreen Valiente

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