The myth of Gaia- The Mother- Earth and Nourisher
The myths of creation state that before Gaia there was nothing with an exact shape; Chaos reigned in what was an empty space, a whirl of light and of darkness of the sea and land, when above and below were united in a total envelopment, all still completely undifferentiated and, as a result, enmeshed.
The psychological reference is very interesting: the ancients were in this way describing the unconscious, something extreme being capable of containing undifferentiated oppositions.
In fact, the term “before creation” means “before the appearance of the conscience“, a reign where there was totality otherwise symbolised by the circle that represents a symbol of perfection, but we know that there is no individual life in perfection, because the conscience has not yet formed, and then there is no separation, individuation.
Thus, Gaia is first of all seen as a divinity that is extremely primitive, something that rose from chaos; an atavistic female that we can define “ancestrally” in everything that precedes the Greek concept of “cosmos” or order (a term that obviously suits the conscience, male, sight as the organising centre of the psyche).
Chaos then assumed a shape that was called Gaia “Goddess of so many profound breasts”, suddenly assimilated to the Earth (due to her solidity and stability), to the Mother and to Nature that is the universal mother and nourisher at the same time; a female that has an immense potential in terms of fertilisation, of giving life and for growth.
In fact, it is from the desire to create and from Gaias ability to self-fertilize that the myth states her great representation of Creation of opposites. In fact it is said that Gaia was extremely tired of always being alone in a state of limbo; she tired of living in a state of contemplation to the point that she decided to generate a companion, the SKY, herself – that she called Uranus, God of the Starry Sky, that was her spouse and with which she began to give birth to children, or rather, populate the world.
Also in this part the myth underlines something that in the present we can understand properly with the help of psychology: in fact, in a world where the unconscious reigns there is no room for time or space; the unconscious is the “priority”, something that is beyond both; only the birth of polarity and of separation (birth of Ego – male – conscience) divides Everything into above and below (Sky and Erath – Female Light and Shade – Male and Female) and can give life over the course of time that is a factor that regards the conscience that is separate from the rest and that, as a result, has a birth and then a beginning and an end.
Also, in Theogony Hesiod tells us about Gaia as an original Beginning of the universe, together with Chaos and Eros that is fertilised energy that Gaia exploits to give life to the world.
Obviously Gaia was considered the goddess of the Earth whose cult was very much practiced in archaic and matriarchal Greece, even before the cult of the lunar triplicity. Her symbols were generosity and fecundity because it was she that allowed nature to give all the fruits that were needed for the maintenance of mankind, animals and the gods.
She was often represented like a huge figure lying on the land with her symbols nearby: the cornucopia, ears, a cow, a female boar and almost always a snake; there were also children close to her symbol of her ability to give life.
In the Roman world there was a Mother Goddess; there is still today in the Altar Pacis a depiction of the Goddess Tellus that was practically the same as the Greek Gaia.
Gaia was considered a symbol of life and of death, in the sense that, since Nature could be “mother or stepmother”, the Goddess could also give or take life: in fact, her immense uterus cavity could produce or devour live beings.
As a goddess of nature she could also give life to great famines that were a hard test of survival for vegetation and mankind.
The myth of Gaia and Taurus Zodiac Sign
In the nature Taurus we find a great deal of these symbols; in fact although Taurus is an extremely “female” sign, it nevertheless shows meanings that are very different from the Lunar meanings that represents – on a symbolic level a part of the Yin nature, more empathic and emotional and tied to the ability of taking care and of establishing that subtle and profound connection that lasts a liftime.
In Taurus we have a more archaic, earthly, unemotional, but incredibly effective female in terms of “growing” and planting roots and of being supplying and giving continuity to everything necessary to ensure life, from the uterus phase up to death.
The Taurus female nature is therefore enclosing, territorial, possessive and devouring: the bright side is therefore in the representation of the uterus that is Earth which welcomes and gives protection, stability and support: on its dark side it can instead be something that it keeps back, that it encloses and that does not allow individuality to see the light and that favours the processes of possession and of avidity.
In fact, Gaia also has an “inhibiting” side that we can trace symbolically in “motherly overshadows” that relates to her children – especially males – that cannot express themselves and are sacrificed by the mother who does not allow them to be released, forcing them to remain in the arms of the undifferentiated forces of nature. Nature symbolises the collective, something that beforehand she supports but that she then suffocates without letting individuality emerge with all its differences.
Gaia started having children with Uranus but her companion did not, of course, prove to be a good father: jealous of the potential of his children and disappointed by their capability they were not perfect – Uranus sentenced the children being born to a life sunk into the gut of the Earth, without seeing the light.
Thus, Gaia, as the primordial mother, had to make a plan “to save her children” and take revenge against her companion Uranus; so, she extracted iron from her own gut, with which she produced a sickle; later on she calls toghever the children in a kind of “familiar gathering” in which the destinies of their father had to be decided.
Gaia designated Cronus, the Lord of Time, to stop the excessive power of his father who was preventing their potential emerging, and so together they decided upon a plan of action.
Cronus waited and in the evening Uranus went to embrace his mother and then he entered into action: he seized the genitals of his father and cut them off with the great sickle made by his mother. The blood that fell on the Mother gave life to the Erinni, to the Furies, to the Giants and to the nymphs of the woods, while the masculine part was cut and thrown into the sea and gave life to Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and harmony, a symbol also of the possibility of being able to finally integrate male and female.
In this trait of the myth we can see how it expresses the Taurine womanliness that has a primary task of giving life and feeding her creatures; this is a priority compared to the love of any companion. For Gaia the Earth, the territory and her children are fundamental, to whom she can leave all that she has created and that belong to her, and in all this, there is a strong sense of the continuity of life. There is a Taurine trait in which the priority given to ones own progeny, ones descendants, is strongly visible, rather than to the companion who is seen as the “necessary tool” to give life to ones own creatures.
Gaia is the great Matriarchal Goddess and primogenial nourisher, considered the Goddess with the widest breast dispensing in abundance.
The Mother Goddesses also had a brighter and sublime side associated to the “feeding of the psyche”; in fact the myth sees an evolution of the same ones that, over time, also become “Sophie”, or goddesses able to support the philosophers, obvious reference to their abilities of feeding not only the body but also the mind and the soul. In fact, this is also a symbol connected to the figure of “X”, the planet of Taurus, which sees its exaltation in the sign of Sagittarius, where Jupiter is placed side by side for the second time with the planet, already ruler of Taurus, putting together two different supporting sides: physical and psychic.
According to mythology Gaia lasted up to the arrival of the patriarchy that changed completely the cult, moving it from the Earth and Moon to the Sun and to the heroic side of the male; obviously from that moment on all sacred symbols were projected on the Gods of Olympus, headed by Zeus and the solar heroes.
The only female image that remained in the patriarchal era to incarnate some features of the Great Mother was Demeter, the sister of Zeus, famous for her relationship with her daughter Kore-Persephone and for her behaviour on occasion of the kidnapping of her daughter by Hades.
Demeter was also a Mother, nourisher and goddess of Nature and was very well known in Greece to have founded a mystery religion called the “Eleusinian Mysteries” together with her daughter Persephone.