Gaia (also Gaea, Ge) is one of the Greek primordial deities and the goddess of the Earth who, along with Eros (Love) and Tartarus (the Underworld), arose from Chaos. She was the Great Mother of all: the primal Greek Mother goddess; creator and giver of birth to the Earth and all the Universe. The heavenly gods, the Titans, and the Giants were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea gods were born from her and Pontus (the sea).
Assisted by heavenly intervention, Gaia gave birth to the Furies. She was also the mother of Uranus, with whom she gave birth to the Titans and the Cyclopses. She also gave birth to giants and other monsters.
Her center of worship was at Delphi. Gaia’s temple was guarded by a python but was later rededicated to Apollo after he destroyed the serpent.
Some anthropologists believe that Gaia was worshipped in Neolithic times as a Great Mother, although most contemporary scholars have disputed this academic position.
Gaia’s Roman equivalent is Terra.
In the 1970s, the British scientist, author, and environmentalist James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis, which suggests that the Earth’s biosphere is a self-regulating system that maintains the conditions necessary for life. The hypothesis proposes that living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-sustaining, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions necessary for life on the planet.
Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis was influential in the development of the field of Earth system science, which studies the Earth as a system of interacting parts, rather than as separate components. The term “Gaia” has also been adopted more broadly to refer to the idea of the Earth as a single, self-regulating system. In his own words, Gaia is
a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.¹
Some thinkers see the Gais hypothesis as misleading while others adore the idea.²
Today, Neopagans revere Gaia as The Goddess.
¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis – 2011 entry
² See https://aeon.co/essays/gaia-why-some-scientists-think-its-a-nonsensical-fantasy
This article got a little help from “Assistant” (2022). In OpenAI. [Online]. Available: https://openai.com/blog/openai-assistant/.