G is for Gaia
"Gaia is the spiritual representation of the Earth, the mother of all living things. Gaia is almost never encountered directly; instead she communicates with her children and other supplicants via minor spirits under her command. Gaia has many aspects and is known by a variety of names; these include the Emerald Mother." White Wolf Wiki
Gaia is the female counterpart to Pan. The twins together, for nature is as incestuous as it is promiscuous (ask any worm), is a name given to the original unified land mass of this planet. As a scientist I have had to maintain integrity by accepting the hard evidence, that the planet has physically grown by swelling out like a balloon, and may still slowly be doing so. Not only that the pangaiatic landmass fits together perfectly if wrapped into a 3D sphere, but also stretch-marks beneath the oceans support this 'theory'.
As aspects, Gaia is the word given by James Lovelock to an holistic ecological system based 'Nature' in which it is not Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' but ability to become symbiotic and establish a place within a holistic, stable ecology, that drives species evolutionary development. Lovelock followed that the holistic ecological systems have a conscious aware mind behind them, which is Gaia.
That Gaia has a long term plan for Life, that we call Evolution, the end result of which we can imagine through mysticism. Quality magicians encourage that Imagination is a key factor for Manifestation, that as a conscious aware aspect of Gaia, Humans - although no more important than a single ant in the long-term scheme of things - do have the ability to consciously affect holistic Evolution. This is a key understanding of what Magick is about.
'The whole thing may be summed up not by the word Magick, but by NATURE."
Victa Corvo Penfold, High Priest of the Order of the Morning Star
Gaia is specifically a planet Earth based Life deity, nurturing holistic sustenance by ecological balance through seasonal and climate changes. This necessitates methods of Permaculture for long-term Human survivalism.
Wheras Pan historically is a flute playing Satyr of the wild woods. Bearing affinity with the Green Man, Herne, Cernunnos; master of Druidism and teacher of how to live with-and-as Nature; revealer of her secrets to the dedicated; magician. Satyr are infamously linterinked with the cult of Dionysis who took over from Zeus as king of the gods in classical Greek mythology, itself regarded as a form of Paganism while at the same time revered, emulated and aspired to as the Classical era of European civilisation.
Pan and Gaia. These are the male and female aspect 'spirits of nature' known to many as the God and Goddess. Humanized, gender-specific forms of something vaster than gender and humanity. I recall from some religious dogma that we are not supposed to recast Gods in our own image. For the purposes of attunement and empowerment, ritual and worship, it seems necessary to do so. It is also cute and fun so long as we remember to see the Spirit in each other (before ego) as well as in whatever symbolic artifacts we choose to channel these energies through.
For me, Gaia is embodied by the John Boorman movie, 'the Emerald Forest' which explores an indigenous rainforest tribe's lifestyle and beliefs. Gaia is the forest as whole ("the forest is more than the sum of its tree's.") She is more than that; she is the living spirit of green nature. The forest is her body, from its canopy to its creatures, its springs and its scents and its soil. She is the ecological systems that permeate Life. She is the energy flow of this. She is the mind-heart that patterns where a bird drops a seed so its tree can grow for the renewal of the forest a generation hence. She contains rebirth.
Green is the colour of the Heart Chakra. The reason that we are the way that we are, is because She is the way that She is. I believe that She is in the process of resolving comprehending herself, and that that is what it is all about. That is the Nature of Nature. For this world anyway.
THE GREEN LADY
While searching for anything relating to the Green Lady concept (there is plenty of Celtic imagery of the famous Green Man who heralds change, I partially identify him with the Green Knight who Sir Gawain encountered in the Arthurian romance) I discovered the only substantial information that is available and that holds true with my feeling about her, is a painting by Brian Froud used in his Fayrie oracle cards. She is cheeky, impish, teasing-to-teach, independent, has strength from her inner-tuition which guides her more than any of her children who entertain her and seek her as their lover. She holds a mask of a leafy green dog, which is alive despite being a mask. The image speaks for itself.
Unfortunately I cannot find a copy of this particular picture on the internet and I do not have a Froudian Fayrie Oracle deck to hand.
"The Earth is full of magick. Magick is the result of loving each other and all things in Nature. It causes the plants to grow, the birds and animals to flourish and gives man the will to live and prosper." Victa Corvo Penfold, The Old Religion
With the transition from Hunter-Gather to Agriculture from demands of population expansion, the concept that Humans are Gaia's custodians become obvious. We discovered permacultural methods of living as one with nature, and this was progress. A Garden is the taming of Gaia.
(prefix) Ga- = Gaia : 'G' is a symbol for the turning of spirit into form. Contemplate; "Eastirring"
ard = (to) Earth (specifically, single-'d' is hard; 'graft' is indicated, as is 'art'. Compare; 'hearten')
den = a base; also 'D' = bow
en = in, to enter. (See H is for Here Be Dragons re; "igloo')
also; Arden = Eden (biblical mythology)
When I first moved here the garden was overgrown with nettles (yummy nutritious superfood) brambles (yummy oxidizing blackberries) and other spiky plants I don’t know the name for so I call them Saalak after the thing in StarWars because they're like it. The first stage of land reverting to wild nature, as it will if left to its own devices. Spiky's that indicate 'keep out' develop an underbrush where animals, insects, birds can dwell safely. After ten to fifteen years tree's grow up and after twenty years it is becoming a forest. In the UK that is the natural pattern. Gaia reverts to forest.
Except now we have imported Japanese knotweed to contend with, which take over and devastate the indigenous species, and are nearly impossible to get rid of. Gaia is holistic planetary consciousness and we are a disciple part of her scheme. We are the gardeners, when we work with her, now that our days of hunter-gathering in the wild wood are gone. Gaia is progressive; shifting balances working through seasonal cycles.
"Let Nature take her course." folk wisdom
Two years later, I have not put the time into the garden as I would have liked. It is a slow process but of course I have a relationship with the brambles that grow back, which is personal and teaching me about the Green Lady. The Green Lady is Gaia personified. She has two aspects; the wild and the tamed. The way to get the best of her is to accept her for what she is and work with her. She is Life Force, she is ecology, she knows what she is doing and has her own schemes, and they are far more intuitive and integrated than man-plans. This is one of the lessons she teaches. She shows me to relax because everything will take care of itself so long as I don’t rush it.
"I've been relying on what the Devas/Spirits of the garden tell me where to plant things. Sometimes I am alarmed - but wildly it is about trust." Beth Malchus Stafa
For example; unearthing a row of red bricks at the far end of the garden and transporting them to the path along its side; building a rock garden around a slope where I have planted Willow tree’s to stabilize an embankment where the grumpy old fart neighbor has never put a fence up although he has “been meaning to do that for ten years.” I have been weaving the willow into a hedge/fence and training other plants up it, the willow is also useful for medicine, the bark contains a natural parecetemol that doesn’t thin the blood unlike the chemical parecetemol; willow bark tea for arthritis. Avoid if pregnant. The embankment naturally curves in the space directly opposite the stack of red bricks, the swollen weed patch is ideal for using said bricks to construct a permanent fire pit. So it is all coming together quite naturally, slowly and at its own pace. Exciting.
I have planted half a dozen tree’s at the far end, which cost a few quid each from various stores, a mixture of apple, plum, cherry, hawthorn (hawthorn leafs are another superfood they were my staple diet when I lived in the forest with witches). They are probably too close together at 7 feet between them but then, my boy is only little and it will be a wonderland for him exploring them in a few years from now. I have been in copses where the trees are literally a few feet apart and thriving; it should be okay. And the top branches of these trees will weave as will their roots, a unified matrix, so all the tree’s will become one tree, as with the willow hedge. More stability for a tree-house at some later time. Tree’s are only 3 or 4 feet tall yet so there’s a decades to go, but my son isn’t two yet so it’s all timed nicely for him. So long as I can stay living in this house, it’s a rental. I am very fortunate and very grateful to have this facility; let this essay stand as one reason that I am making the most of it and therefore deserving.
I planted a load of different vegetables out last year however the only things that prosper through increasingly harsh climate change in cold wet Wales is potatoes, leeks and spinach. So this years planting will be simplified to these three staples. I can’t get corn to grow at all here. The small black peppermint I planted in the herb patch has been secretly busy and abruptly as it sends up shoots, has taken over. A well-established rosemary bush is thriving. The raspberries has species-diversified to deal with climate change from the planet tilting on its axis so that UK now goes higher north and further south than it once did. I was eating fresh berries from the plants that hadn't died back during autumn as they 'are meant to', on christmas day! Admittedly it was a mild winter.
There is no way in hell that I am going to be one of these arseholes who mows their lawn on a regular basis. What we need is more tree's for oxygenation, especially in the cities and towns. We need to stop wasting time and planetary resources by making extra work for ourselves playing with lawnmowers, and more time on food growing, harvesting. Self-sufficiency. Permaculture. The answer to all humanities problems are solvable if we begin growing our own resources. There is nothing that we need, that we cannot grow for ourselves by working with Nature. Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat eater, both lifestyles can be fulfilled by hands-on gardening of one form or another. This is why we are Custodians of Gaia. That is what I mean by a Gardener. It is interesting that the guy who founded Wicca by re-invention of an mythological era, is also named Gardner. I discovered this exciting link; the voice of Gardner himself!
G is for:
Writing this blog has inspired me to do an essay on Druidism, which will be posted in D is for as and when I get around to it.
"Pan, the god of woods and fields, of flocks and shepherds, dwelt in grottos, wandered on the mountains and in valleys, and amused himself with the chase or in leading the dances of the nymphs. He was fond of music, and as we have seen, the inventor of the syrinx, or shepherd's pipe, which he himself played in a masterly manner. Pan, like other gods who dwelt in forests, was dreaded by those whose occupations caused them to pass through the woods at night, for the gloom and lonliness of such scenes dispose the mind to superstitious fears. Hence sudden fright without any visible cause was ascribed to Pan, and called a Panic terror. As the name of the god signifies all, Pan came to be considered a symbol of the universe and personification of Nature; and later still to be regarded as a representation of all the gods of paganism itself."
“Cernunnos the male horned god of the Iron age Celts. Symbol of the Hunter and the Hunted. Also known as Herne the Hunter. Modern Druidry, which derives from Celtic culture, honors Cernunnos in his ancient Celto-European form as the guardian of the forests, the defender of the animal tuatha (tribes), the source of the deep forest wisdom, and the masculine half of creative energy. His restorative work in the cycle of the year is particularly celebrated at Beltaine, and is often paired with one or another of the female deities in her maiden aspect. Druids may call upon him in reference to vital, non-violent masculine divinity.”