Conception and Birth of the Living Earth
by Oberon Zell
Foreword by Alex Vikoulov
Publisher: Left Hand Press
Release Date: July 30, 2022
From the publisher:
“Oberon Zell was the first person to conceive and publish the biological and metaphysical foundations of what has become known as the ‘Gaia Theory’— the unified body and emergent soul of the living Earth. Oberon’s profound reconciliation of science, mythology and spirituality inspired and infused worldwide neo-Pagan, pantheistic movement. His visionary sculpture of the ‘Millennial Gaia’ is a three-dimensional revelation, an artistic masterpiece that fuses evolutionary biology with sculptural elegance. For over 50 years Oberon has been writing and lecturing on Gaian consciousness, and it is high time that he put it all together into a book!” ~ Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus, California Institute of Integral Studies & Founder-President, The Green Earth Foundation)
In the early 1970s, noted philosopher and mystic Oberon Zell was the first to propose and publish the radical idea that the biosphere of Earth is a single vast living organism. His initial article on the subject electrified the emerging modern movement of Earth-based spirituality.
The excitement was the result of a simple yet profound idea. Imagine for a moment that Earth is alive. Not just teeming with living things, but a living, vital organism. This is more than imagination or mere metaphor. GaeaGenesis is the first work to fully integrate the mythological, spiritual, biological, and social history of what has become known as the Gaea Thesis. It expands upon this history by exploring the profound implications of this paradigm, which is as significant to our understanding of the world and our place in it as Galileo’s heliocentric theory of the solar system and Darwin’s theory of evolution./span>
GaeaGenesis culminates five decades of work developing Zell’s thesis, building on his own original ideas as well as those of renowned scientists, philosophers and spiritualists who preceded and followed him. Foundationally, GaeaGenesis builds upon the author’s original paper: “TheaGenesis: The Birth of the Goddess,” which appeared in Green Egg magazine in June of 1971.
The present book takes the idea beyond the metaphorical realm postulated by James Lovelock in his “Gaia Hypothesis” and posits that the entire evolution of life on Earth is the literal embryology of a single vast living being — one replicating continuum of DNA and protoplasm. This distinction has significant implications for the subject of this book: the proposition that Mother Earth is a living, sentient being with a “soul” that humans can perceive if they are aware enough to sense it. In essence, the living beings that populate the Earth are cells within a greater macro-organism.
My review will repeat some of the things the publisher stated but I added the publisher’s part after I had written my review so I hope you will excuse the duplication.
As I begin this review, I will apologize to Oberon, because I know that cannot possibly do justice to reviewing this complex volume of facts and lore that he has dedicated much of his life to writing. I cannot possibly spend enough time on it to absorb anywhere near enough of the information that I should. It is one of those books that I will be coming back to for years!
GaeaGenesis is a beautiful volume written by by the foremost, probably the most influential pagan alive in the world today, the man who gave birth to the pagan religion as we know it in America – Oberon Zell. This book, in his own words, spans fifty years of his life, and has been fifty years in the writing. He is co-founder of the Church of All Worlds (CAW). After 18 years, he is the much-beloved, just-retiring headmaster of The Grey School of Wizardry (GSW) which he also founded.
This book has a full color cover that features his sculpture of Gaia which is truly a work of art. Do not fall for the knock-off ‘bootleg’ versions of this statue available around the internet. Order it direct from https://www.themillennialgaia.com/ It is available in sizes from 4 inches to 24 inches.
This is not Oberon’s first book. He has many others. Most of them are bestsellers. He has others in the works. Many of his apprentices have used their ‘Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard’ and ‘Companion for the Apprentice Wizard’ until they literally fell apart and had to be replaced. A special expanded hardcover edition of the Grimoire is in process according to a note in this book.
Other than CAW & GSW, The Green Egg is one of his greatest accomplishments. Since he dedicated this book to the glorious Morning Glory, I will mention the issue of the Green Egg that was a memorial to her – June 2014, issue #163. It isn’t currently available to order from the archives of Green Egg but is you should ever get a chance to get a copy, do so! I cherish my copy!
Moving on to this book, it is basically an encyclopedia rich with information and images. I will be quite honest. It is not a book that can be digested in one reading. This is a book you will return to again and again. It is worth much more than the purchase price. You will keep it on your bookshelf or the table beside your chair and refer to it over and over. He covers a long period of what the human creature calls time – from our distant past into our future. Speaking of religion, if you came to this book knowing nothing of paganism, you would not leave it the same way. You will have learned much of our history and our teachings, of our myths.
“Everything is alive. Everything is interconnected.” We are cells inside a greater living being. Gaia is alive!
“TheaGenesis: The Birth of the Goddess” was published GreenEgg in June of 1971. This book is a continuation of that work.
The book is divided into five major sections.
Section 1: Anima Mundi
Section 2: The TheaGenesis Papers
Section 3: The Gods of Nature, The Nature of the Gods
Section 4: The Changing of the Gods
Section 5: Visions of the Past & Memories of the Future
It also has numerous appendixes, a bibliography, and an index.
I cannot possibly touch on it all so I will mention parts that really stood out to me. When I read through again, I am sure different parts will catch my eye and that is as it should be!
The first part of the book presents the idea that the earth is a huge living being. It includes OZ’s art, writings by him, Morning Glory, Tom Williams, Peter Russell, Iona Miller, and Kirsten Johnson. “The Gaia Hypothesis supposes the Earth to be alive, and considers what evidence there is for and against the suppositon.” (James Lovelock) Oberon gives us very convincing arguments that the Earth is alive. He also inserts an addendum on the spelling/pronunciation of Gaea/Gaia. If you have ever been criticized for saying it one way or the other, you will find it interesting – he says it can be pronounced either GUY-a or GAY-a depending on the æ diphthong you prefer 🙂
He speaks to why Gaea as a mother calls to such a large majority of the population: “For too long, we’ve been motherless children. After 3,600 years of monotheism, there is a deep collective longing to open our hearts and restore the Goddess to Her rightful place among the great religions of the world. After millennia of patriarchal dominion and brutal suppression of all things female—from mortal women to the Goddess Herself—we are now embarking upon a new Millennium and a new age of reconciliation and reunification of all humanity.” (GaeaGenesis)
OZ tells us about reading “Stranger in a Strange Land” (Robert A. Heinlein) and finding how it articulated many of his own thoughts. He relates the founding and growth of the Church of All Worlds – which was started in 1962 and is still going strong. The Church of All Worlds is a religion with roots deep in the Earth, and branches reaching out to the stars. Our favorite mythology is science fiction (GaeaGenesis) “CAW’s members, called Waterkin, espouse Paganism, but the church is not a belief-based religion. Members experience Divinity and honor these experiences while respecting the views of others. They recognize ‘Gaea’ The Earth Mother Goddess, and the Father God, as well as the realm of the Faeries and the deities of many other pantheons. Many of the ritual celebrations are centered on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.” (Wikipedia)
There is a very good explanation of religion and how each religion’s devotees see their particular religion. Personal reality is subjective. From the standpoint of human consciousness, there IS no other reality than what we experience, and whatever we experience is therefore reality—therefore ‘true’. Putting this into my own words here to sum up – what is
‘true’ for you may not necessarily be ‘true’ for me!
I found this next bit particularly interesting! “Tracing our evolution back nearly four billion years, through mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and so on, we eventually wind up with ONE SINGLE CELL that was the ANCESTOR OF ALL LIFE ON EARTH.” No matter how often or how long the cells multiply and divide, the new cells comprise ONE SINGLE LIVING ORGANISM. All life on earth comprises one single living organism! We are literally all one!
He tells us that it is an established fact that all life on earth contains only L-amino acids. The equivalent D-acids are simply not found in living organisms on this planet. The blue whale and the redwood are not the largest living organism on Earth. The entire planetary biosphere is. His research is here for us to follow along with—the sources, the experts, the facts, very well documented indeed. Each creature on earth is the equivalent of of a single cell in the vast body of Gaea. Each biome (pine forest, coral reef, desert, marsh, etc) is the equivalent of an organ, the substructures consisting of types of plants and animals. All the components are essential to its proper functioning. The nonliving components serve Gaea as the nonliving components of our bodies serve us. Since She is a single living organism, Her parts cannot be rearranged without consequence.
In addition to to speaking of religion, divinity, and the awakening of planetary consciousness, he speaks of the extermination by the human race of whole species of other great and wonderful creatures. This has long been a subject close to my heart so I was glad to see it addressed so eloquently here. He explores the Big Bang Theory and contrasts it to Continuous Creation (infinite and eternal – with no beginning and no end), black holes as wormholes to other galaxies – or to the past or the future. He considers that each galaxy may be its own mini-universe.
Mother Nature and Her children are gone into quite some detail as are the Gods of Nature and the Nature of the Gods. He explains paganism as well as I have ever seen it explained.
It would seem that I have given you a lot of information but really no, that is only the very tip of the iceberg. You must get this book for yourself and dive into it for yourself. I am so very thankful that my copy happened to be a hard copy though I would have been glad to have gotten a Kindle version if that is all I could have had. I certainly recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in the evolution of Gaea consciousness or even in the history of Oberon Zell’s work. This book is destined to be a classic!
About the author:
Master Wizard Oberon Zell
Oberon Zell is a modern Renaissance man. A transpersonal psychologist, metaphysician, naturalist, theologian, shaman, author, artist, sculptor, lecturer, teacher, and ordained Priest of the Earth-Mother, Gaia. Among the many projects he has undertaken in his lifetime, Oberon is one of the founders of the Church of All Worlds, is the first publisher of Green Egg
Magazine, the Headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry, the founder and curator of the Academy of Arcana. Those who know him well consider him to be a true Wizard in the traditional sense.
On this site you can learn more about Oberon, read about or buy his books, inquire about having him as a lecturer or guest at your event and catch up on his latest activities and writings.
From June 2018 – February 2020, Oberon was on a world-wide walkabout. You may follow his adventures at his Blog here.
About the Author:
Katy Ravensong is a practicing green witch in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. She was raised here where she ran barefoot & free. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, voracious reader, crocheter, and amateur herbalist. She glories in the freedom that comes with being a Crone ~ when she is gone, she will not be known as a woman who could keep her mouth shut! She is disabled, yet tries to make disability work for her. She is an advocate for human rights. She is Dean of Wortcunning and Assistant Dean of Natural Philosophy at The Grey School of Wizardry. She has studied with various herbal teachers, with Witch School International, with Avalonian Institute of Metaphysical Arts, and is a priestess with the Sisters of Earthsong, Order of the White Moon. Her poetry has been featured in several publications including ‘Pagan Poetry for the Festivals and Seasons’ by Wyrdwood Publications edited by Edain Duguay, 2008. Her favorite quote is from Emily Dickinson “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”