The Certainty of Gaea
“I am the Mother of all things and my love is poured out upon the earth.” (1)
Spring is coming! Yesterday I saw six fat robins sitting in the maple tree! The ground has two feet of snow on it but the temperature is a little warmer and there is the expectancy of Spring in the air! Ostara is coming and we turn to the Goddess of Spring in our meditations and rituals. This is Gaea as the Maiden, also called Eostre, the pregnant mother who holds the egg and the hare as Her symbols of fertility.
As Wiccans we say that we are a nature-based spirituality and we honour the Divine in nature. How exactly do we do that? First we have to experience Gaea as a real living person and to do that we must expand our consciousness. When someone is drawn to the Wiccan Way they read everything they can get their hands on and jump in with great enthusiasm! One of the first things they learn about is the Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. What does that have to do with experiencing divinity in nature? The Air is Her breath, the Fire is Her warmth, the Water is Her blood and the Earth is Her body. We hear Her voice in the wind, meet Her in forest and field and touch her when we touch the soft fur of a living creature.
Meditating on an element shifts the consciousness
Meditation on an element shifts the consciousness and helps us to experience Gaea. In silence we meditate on the deep earth and as we do an expectancy creeps into us, a hope to discover something wonderful! A shift in our perception clicks! We feel a presence all around us and we know She is within the earth, She is the earth and everything is connected to that awareness.
Her story from Greek Mythology is very interesting! In the beginning, the time before time, was a formless chaos of light and dark. Out of this formlessness the huge form that was Gaea was born. Gaea, desiring love, created Uranus, the heaven who arched over her. Their children were Cronos (time) and many other children. Uranus was jealous of these children as he wanted Gaea all for himself so Gaea kept the children hidden safely within her womb. Finally her womb was so crowded that she could no longer contain them and she created a weapon for the first time, a jagged-toothed sickle, which she gave to her son Cronos. As Uranus came to destroy the children Cronos cut off his genitals and as his blood spilled out upon the fertile soil of Gaea the Erinyes, the Giants and the Meliae were born. The Erinyes were three immortal black maidens with serpent hair and poisonous blood that dripped from their eyes. Clad in gray, bearing brass-studded whips, baying and barking like dogs, they roamed the pre-Hellenic world in pursuit of those who dared offend the primordial laws of kinship. They were the “strong ones” who punished anyone who dared to spill kindred (maternal family) blood. The Meliae were Ash tree spirits and they conceived humans within their roots. It is said that the Meliae were all women and that they were the mothers of humankind. (2)
The Greeks worshipped Gaia at fissures into the ground with barley and honey cakes. We can do that to by creating an altar outside around a natural fissure or even a hole dug into the ground. Earth meditation is best done outside but if it is not possible where you live remember that the earth is alive beneath the snow!
Manifesting the Certainty of Gaea
The earth meditation and rituals to honour Gaea create a certainty within us that She is alive! This is a non-verbal awareness born of experience. This certainty begins to permeate our lives in a desire to honour and care for the planet. It may manifest in many ways such as recycling, buying local, eating organic, growing our own food, wearing natural fibers, rescuing animals or participating in reforestation projects such as Tree Sisters www.treesisters.org (3). Your intuition and your love create the vehicle for honouring and caring.
Spring is a great time to start a new project to help the planet and to teach the children as well. When I read about the Meliae, the Ash Tree Women Spirits who were supposed to have been the Mothers of all of us I thought about my deep love and connection with the Standing People (also known as trees). I wanted to do something more than just sit under them. My new project is to support and promote Tree Sisters as a way to honour Gaea. It seems like such a daring project to think about empowering women to reforest the planet! I think that one step at a time leads you to the end of the journey! This is a good example of how we can honor the earth through the conviction and certainty that Gaea, Mother Earth is a living being.
Happy Ostara to everyone reading Pagan Pages!
- The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente
- The Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan
- Tree Sisters is Registered Charity No.1149961. They are a growing global network of women supporting the emergence of embodied feminine leadership and crowd funding tropical reforestation.
They are a small team spanning three continents. Their plan is to help make it normal for everyone to give money for trees every month, to help reforest the tropics – and, it is so much more. This is as much about the empowerment of women as it is about reforestation.
Their two primary areas of work are:
1. To engage and empower diverse women to join, spread and amplify the movement with their own creativity, experience and courage
2. To co-create a meta-reforestation strategy with existing tree organisations and to lay out a plan for how to help reforest the tropics within 10 years www.treesisters.org