Friday, May 18, 2012

G is also for ... Ritual to Gaia

This ritual was written for the September Esbat last year.  I have also felt a strong connection to Gaia as the Mother Goddess, (not necessarily through her aspect as the mother of the Titans in Greek mythology) for many years.  Feel free to modify this ritual for your own use.  For example, you may choose to light a red candle for the elemental direction of South/Fire; I chose brown at the time this ritual was to be performed because I live in Texas, which was experiencing somewhat severe drought and fighting wildfires - I didn't want to accidentally add fuel to those fires!  Being that this is southern TX, and when it is dry the landscape is dusty and brown, it worked.

Ritual to Honor Gaia as Earth Mother / Mother Goddess

Items needed:
1 Green candle - North; All Life
1 White candle - East; the Air we breathe
1 Brown candle - South; Fire, which brings renewal
1 Blue candle - West; for the Water which sustains us
Mother Candle (white) - Center
Tealight oil warmer (t.o.w.)
Tealight candle
Rose essential oil
Incense (optional)
Flowers - as an offering to Gaia
*Materials for activity
**Cakes and Ale

Altar Set-up:
                   Green Candle
          t.o.w (lit)
Blue Candle   Mother Candle                  White Candle
          *flowers scattered around*
                   Brown Candle
To begin the ritual, light the candles starting in the North.  As each candle is lit, say the

North: "We light this green candle to represent the direction of North, Element of Earth, and all life in and on the Earth."

East:   "We light this white candle to represent the direction of East, Element of Air, for the wind and the Air which we breathe."

South: "We light this brown candle to represent the direction of South, Element of Fire, and the warmth of Fire's gift of Renewal."

West:  "We light this blue candle to represent the direction of West, Element of Water, Water which sustains all life."

Center:  "As we light our Mother Candle, we dedicate our ritual to Gaia, the Great Earth Mother Goddess.  Gaia, please accept these flowers we have placed on our altar as our offering to you.  Be with us as we learn your story, so that we will better understand you.  Bless our ritual, and receive our thanks."

Our ritual tonight honors Gaia, as the Great Earth Mother.  As the Great Goddess, Gaia is the Earth, Mother to all life.  Though she also brings destruction, with death comes rebirth; new life.

While the name Gaia is derived from Ancient Greek myths, in which Gaia played an active role, today the name more often refers to Her as the Great Earth Mother Goddess.

In the Greek myths, Gaia was born of Chaos.  She proceeded to give birth to various children, some of whom she later mated with.  From the Greek Goddess Gaia, came the Titans, followed by the Olympian gods.

However, the concept of a Great Mother dates back to prehistoric times.  This is evidenced by drawings on cave walls that tell of what is believed to be spiritual rites and ceremonies.  Additional proof of an Ancient Mother Goddess is found in the many female statuettes, the most famous may be the Venus of Willendorf.  These figures depict motherly women, though the limbs are only suggested, and none have defined facial features.  The fact that these figures are found spread across multiple continents indicates that most, if not all, prehistoric peoples shared the same basic tenets of a belief system.

The Great Goddess has experienced several incarnations through the ages.  We can trace the roots of many goddesses back to the Earth Mother. Gaia, of course, but also the Greek goddesses Artemis and Demeter; the Sumerian Mother Goddess, Ninhursag; Maimata, from the Hindu Rigveda; and Hathor was the Supreme Egyptian Goddess.

The modern "Gaia Hypothesis", as presented by scientist James Lovelock, brings forth his opinion that Gaia is the Earth, literally.  He theorized that the Earth is, in fact, a kind of self-regulating, super-organism, in which all the life-forms, plants, animals, humans, etc., all the waters, everything, function in a way similar to the way any life-form's systems and organs function.

Today, Gaia is simply the name that resonates with many, and conveys the feeling of the Great Goddess.  She is the Earth, She is our Mother.  All goddesses may be an aspect of Her; some goddesses are an incarnation of Her.  All women may count themselves as Daughters of Gaia; all men are Her sons.

Because all life and everything of the Earth is sacred to Her, She has very few specific associations.  All plants, insects and animals are Her creatures.  Stones and rocks are Her bones.  The Earth is Her body; the Wind is Her breath.  Fire is Her creative, and destructive, force.  The Seas are Her birth waters.

She is worshipped in open places, and deep in caves.  She is all around us, and within us.

She is our Great Mother, in whichever incarnation we are called to serve her.

Activity:  Offering Cups to the Goddess
Ceramic pots
Paint brushes
Plastic cups (for water)
Newspaper or paper towels to line under project
Each participant can paint her/his cup in any way that represents the Goddess to her.

Activity to be followed by a brief meditation; quietly watching the flames of the Mother Candle, listening for any personal messages from the Goddess.

Final words:
          "We have been blessed in our ritual.  We have learned about a Goddess who is as complex as she is simple.  Tonight, we have taken a first step toward developing a deeper connection with Gaia. From here, we will each choose whether to pursue this relationship at this time.

Put out the candles in reverse order, beginning with West, and leaving the Mother Candle for last.  As each candle's flame is extinguished say the following:

West:  "We offer thanks for life sustaining water."

South: "We offer thanks for the renewal of the land and spirit that comes after the fire has raged."

East:   "We offer thanks for the Air that fills our lungs, and the wind that carries us."

North: "We offer thanks for the Earth that provides nourishment and is our home."

Center: "The Great Mother Goddess has been with us.  May she remain always."

Cakes and Ale

I didn't keep track of all the references, but the primary ones are as follows (though not necessarily in this order): (don't ask- I don't know what the SortaSingles part is all about)

No comments:

Post a Comment