Gaia is the Greek Goddess, believed to be the first Goddess to emerge from Chaos. Gaia’s absolute powers are fertility, life, abundance, and nature. The planet Earth is Gaia’s personification, and nature, an integral part of the Gaia system, is her incarnation. Since Gaia gives birth to all life and living beings, she can also decide when to end it.
Because Gaia created herself from Chaos, everything that came after her has been attributed to her creation. She is the mother of the sky, the oceans, other planets, and every living thing on Earth. As a mother of all creation, she is also the mother of all the Goddesses, Gods, and deities that the Ancient Greeks worshipped. She is the definite beginning and the end of all life.
According to Greek Mythology, Gaia’s first creation was Uranus, the Sky, who, despite being her son, also became her lover. Together they had many children, including Titans (the parents of many Olympian Gods), the Cyclopes and the Giants.
When Uranus began ruling over the Earth, he also started to control Gaia and, with time, became paranoid. Out of fear that his own children would take away Gaia’s attention from him, he trapped them in Gaia’s womb, which caused her unimaginable pain and anguish, making her heavy and unable to move. Also, not being able to see her own children triggered unbearable pain. Gaia grew desponded towards Uranus and began plotting against him. After persuading her other son, Cronos, to castrate Uranus and dethroned him, she was granted her freedom again.
When Uranus was castrated, his semen sprang and each time it touched the ground, it gave birth to more deities and Gods, including the Goddess Aphrodite, born when Uranus’ semen touched the Ocean’s foam.
Cronos took the reins after Uranus and married his own sister Rhea. Together they had six children: Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hestia, Hera, and Zeus.
Like his father before, Cronos also became apprehensive of his children. He feared that one of them would overthrow him just like he did his father. He swallowed the first five of his kids to stop that from happening. However, when Rhea was about to give birth to her sixth child, in desperation she sought Gaia’s help. Together they planned to hide Zeus away and instead offer Cronos a stone to swallow, which he did without noticing what he consumed.
Later in his life, Zeus freed Rhea from Cronos and established a long reign of the Olympian Gods, which makes Gaia the grandmother of all the Olympian Gods. However, it doesn’t mean that she approved or agreed to any of the new “rules” her grandchild wanted to institute over her or the planet itself.
Since Gaia didn’t like the new order Zeus tried to establish on Earth, she fought him fiercely. Unfortunately, she lost the fight and hence the patriarchal society we live in now. Gaia surrounded herself into a new cosmic order in a defeated state. The frequent fights between Gaia and her children/grandchildren Uranus, Cronus and Zeus symbolically illustrate the transition from a matriarchal society, with deep Indo-European roots, to the current patriarchal society.
Gaia is the mother goddess, and the Greeks believed that an oath sworn by Gaia was the strongest one, as no one could escape from the Earth herself. The ancient Greeks prayed to Gaia in nature and/or in caves.
In the Roman tradition, Gaia didn’t have as much symbolism as in Greek culture and was referred to as Terra Mater – Mother Earth.
In modern times, the term Gaia has been used to represent the living planet itself. Since Gaia gives all of us everything that we need to thrive, we should respect her in return. However, instead, humanity has abused and wrecked her creation for generations. We should appreciate Gaia’s fertility, kindness, and patience. She is omnipresent, surrounding us everywhere; we ought to pay attention to her selfless giving and respect her creation.