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
This weekend, we celebrate Earth Day, first declared on April 22, 1970.
So I am calling on all who are reading this to consecrate these days on behalf of 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.
For more details of the somewhat grisly Greek Gaian family story, visit my 2012 Goddess Sunday post dedicated to Her.
Goddess Gaia in the Ancient World
Throughout the most ancient of the 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, such as 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, the late 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 Endures 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.”
More and more evidence is being discovered that supports this hypothesis, like in the ways that trees and other plants communicate with one another, with something that is akin to consciousness. Naturally, scientists are going to be conservative before making firm such a pronouncement, as it would completely shake the mainstream understanding of humanity’s place in the hierarchy of life to its (pardon the pun) roots.
Still, it is clear that Gaia the Goddess, and Gaia, the science, intertwine in modern times. Like all good mothers, She teaches us that there are laws, rules, and boundaries that must be understood, respected, and honored if we, Her children, are to thrive.
In Her honor, “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.
The Systematic Destruction of Science
Every one of which is now being gutted.
And the oversight agencies that were created are now fighting for survival under an anti-science, profiteering, war-hungry administration that is ravaging the laws meant to protect the health and safety of our human families, as well as the biosphere of All That Lives.
In the past, it’s been bad enough that brazen infractions by corporate scofflaws have drained our environmental advocates of their legal funds. But the current administration is hell-bent on destroying the programs and legal structures that challenge unfettered chemical, water, agricultural, and climate catastrophe.
Previously, such decisions have been promoted under the false flag that environmental protections cost jobs. In fact, jobs are created in a greener economy.
Worst of all, the current government administration in power in the U.S. shows a complete, insane hostility towards science in general, and environmental science in particular. From the unraveling of our public education system, to the hostile takeovers of our energy, natural resources, and parks services, we the people are paying the price of this madness.
Jobs and profits won’t matter if famine, or the cataclysmic climate disasters we are already seeing destroy life as we know it.
Walking the Talk of Deep Green Religion
I find it fascinating that Pagans and Witches, who for millennia have been characterized as strange, ignorant, superstitious primitives, are some of today’s most passionate, well-informed stewards and protectors of the environment.
Earth-centered spirituality has been, rightfully, called “Deep Green Religion,” and many of us are the very ones leading the way to protect our Mother Earth, as scientists, researchers, and teachers of sustainable environmental wisdom.
But regardless of your beliefs, the need for all of Gaia’s children to stand strong on Her behalf, and on behalf of the scientific evidence that protects life on our planet has never been more urgent.
We are at a crossroads, and our choices now will endure for however many generations humanity itself will survive.
Be a part of the movements that are resisting those who would destroy the fundamental premise that our leaders should be making evidence-based policies. Take back the power from those who would like to see us return to the Dark Ages, or else be catapulted into their notion of “End Times.”
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, and a billion others, in honoring Gaia today, and every day forward, by making your life greener, by offering Her your service, and — especially in this pivotal year — by electing and supporting Her champions that battle on the front lines of the Turning. Act on behalf of Mama Gaia with song, prayer, and by making your life greener.
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