Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them.Hesiod goes on to explain that Gaia then gave birth to Pontus and Uranus (the sea and sky), the Titans, the Cyclopes, Cottus, Briareus, and Gyges (the Hecatonchires), Erinyes, and the Gigantes.
Gaia took her son Uranus as her mate. Unthinkable to us, but let's face it... when you're mama to absolutely everything... finding a non-familial mate just isn't possible.
Uranus feared many of their offspring, requiring Gaia to hide them away within herself to protect them. Eventually, the pain of carrying them became too much for Gaia to handle.
Recognizing the danger she and Uranus had birthed, she asked Cronus (her son by Uranus) to help her severe the union between her and his father (whom he despised) to prevent any further monstrous children.
Cronus laid in wait for Uranus, and when he came to lay with Gaia, Cronus castrated him. When Uranus's blood touched the ground, the Giants, Nymphs, and Furies sprang into being.
With her union to the Sky thus ended, Gaia took Pontus (the sea) as her mate. Together, they birthed Thaumus, Nereus, Ceto, Phorcys, and Eurybia. With Tartarus (her brother in Chaos), Gaia gave birth to Echidna and Typhon. Gaia is Zeus's grandmother.
The relationship between Earth and sea, and Earth and sky, according to the Greek myths, is quite complex as a result of these primordial unions. And the need for balance obvious. In more modern terms, Gaia holds a very special place for many of the Pagan faiths found today. A deep respect and reverence of nature is often associated with her. How could it not when Gaia is a divine representation of the Earth itself and the mother of the many, many gods worshiped in Greece and beyond?
Charles Leland's Vangelo Delle Streghe (Aradia: Gospel of the Witches) contains a similar creation story to that related in Hesiod's Theogony, with Gaia's role given to Diana. The Vangelo is said to have been passed to Leland by Maddalena, an Aradian witch. Leland's work is largely allegorical, portraying complex themes in simple ways. Even so, the creation myth related within is reminiscent of that found in Hesoid's Theogony. It's an absolutely beautiful story.
To gain a true sense of the importance of Gaia's role in mythology (and modern Paganism), I highly recommend giving both it and Hesiod's work a read. You can find a translation of Theogony here, and the Vangelo here.
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