Earth Science - Other

Gaia and us

Janette Peel's image for:
"Gaia and us"
Image by: 

The magic of nature exists in plants, flowers, trees, elements and in you, and, above all, is supported by the living Earth.

In 1979, a scientist James Lovelock announced his Gaia Theory. He argued that the Earth is a living creature and that, far from life evolving as a result of the right pre-conditions, life created and continues to create planetary conditions. The Earth's own intelligence regulates the atmosphere and environment in response to what is needed to support life.

This radical theory was new to modern scientific thought, but it was not new to humankind. Philosophers and sages have always maintained that the Earth is a mother and Lovelock even named the theory after Gaia, the original Earth Mother of Greek mythology.

If you regard the Earth as a living creature, and nature as its collective consciousness, it is no longer possible to regard the planet as an inert machine to be used and discarded at will. The Earth is part of you and your existence plays a part in its creation.

If Gaia is the Earth Mother and the people of Earth are her co-creators her arms and legs then you should see that the following symbols are closely associated to the magic of Gaia and of nature.

Breath: The cycle of atmospheric gases is equivalent to the action of breathing. You absorb oxygen and emit carbon dioxide, which is used by trees and plants.

Blood: The water system of the Earth equates to the circulation of blood.

Skin: The ozone layer protects the ecosystem from the Sun's rays, and in the same way your skin protects you from external pollutants.

Body: The Earth itself, as a single organism with many parts, can be symbolized by the human body.

Discover the many ways in which you can celebrate Gaia, and harness the gifts and energies of the Earth Mother.

Connect with the energies of Gaia by meditating outdoors. With your eyes closed, be aware of your body as it sits upon the bare earth. Feel Gaia's steady presence beneath you and her grounding qualities. Listen to the beat of your heart pumping life blood around your body and feel the air on your face and how your skin keeps you separate from everything around you.

Breathe in life. Focus on your breathing. Contemplate how the in-breath nourishes your blood, which carries nutrients to every cell of your body. Notice your out-breath how the carbon dioxide you emit is breathed in by the plants, which in turn release oxygen. Allow yourself to feel at one with Gaia.

Spend time in nature and really try to take in the inter-connection of all that Gaia provides. For example, grass is eaten by cows, which in turn provide you with milk and meat. You also eat vegetables from the earth and the peelings from your cooking make compost, which nourishes the soil.

Give thanks to Gaia for all she provides by gathering fresh foods from outdoors fruits, nuts, herbs and leaves. Make a feast of your findings, then pile the leftovers in your garden and over time, watch them transform back into earth. This is your gift to Gaia.

According to the Ancient Greeks, there were laws of Gaia that were closely tied to the moral behavior of humans. When people were just, the land flourished and there was no war. When people had bad thoughts and were unkind, unfair and lacked awareness, then their minds were polluted and the land degenerated. There would be famine and war.

Honor Gaia by respecting your own body, by being kind to others and by making a small effort to cleanse the land. With a cheerful smile, sweep the pavement outside your house, and the next time you walk to the shops, pick up any rubbish lying on the ground. Recycle glass jars, tins and paper. After a short time, you should begin to notice how these actions enhance your sense of well-being.

Whenever you begin a ceremony by calling in the four directions, you are working with the power of Gaia's body. When you call the east, the direction of air, you are calling on the sky, mountains and treetops everything that is high, including lofty thoughts and spirits. When you call to the south, you summon the energetic fires of volcanoes and deserts. Sensitive, emotional water lies in the west Gaia's oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds and streams.

The north is the element of earth, from where no light comes but which is grounded, unchanging and provides everything in life that is practical and steady.

Do your bit to keep the planet clean and tidy. In meditation, become aware of the symbiotic relationship between yourself and plants. Harvest the gifts of Gaia to make a feast of fruits, nuts, herbs and leaves. And, call upon the four directions to harness Gaia's power from skies, mountains and earth.

More about this author: Janette Peel

From Around the Web