In Gaia

In Gaia we are just another species, neither the owners nor the stewards of this planet. Our future depends much more upon a right relationship with Gaia than with the never-ending drama of human interest.

James Lovelock, The Ages of Gaia (2010)


Earth, our home and Mother

Instead of looking at the solstice as a remote event “out there” in space somewhere, I saw that it was intimately connected to life here on Earth. Though we often speak of “solar holidays,” the solstice is not a strictly solar event. It’s an Earth-Sun event. Nothing happens to the Sun, after all; nothing changes there, though we seem to see changes from our place here on Earth.

It’s here, Earth, our home and Mother, that I’ve come to understand as both a sacred place and a divine being. Divinity is not “out there” but right here. As Glenys Livingstone writes in PaGaian Cosmology, “When I speak of Mother, I understand Her as Holy Context, Place to Be.” We are not separate from the Mother; we are all a part of her. She is the place where all humanity lives, and a being in which we all participate.

Spinning in Place, Bart Everson


Gaia, whose ways are bloody

My blood is holy nourishment. My blood nourishes the growing fetus. My blood becomes milk to nourish the young child. My blood flows into the ground as holy nourishment for the Great Mother, Gaia, Mother Earth.

Gaia, whose ways are bloody. Woman, whose ways are bloody. Blood of nourishment. But bloody. Bloody menstrual blood, bloody birth blood. Blood of peace, nourishing blood. Blood of health/wholeness/holiness, not of sacrifice. The Wise Woman tradition is a bloody-handed woman, a bloody-thighed woman, a woman who gives birth, a woman who sees to the other side of things.

Blood Mysteries,” Susun S. Weed

Autopoietic Gaia defined

Autopoiesis […] refers to the living nature of material systems. Well within the materialist view that recognizes the physical-chemical composition of organisms, autopoiesis refers to the self-making and self-maintaining properties of living systems relative to their dead counterparts. Autopoietic, unlike mechanical, systems produce and maintain their own boundaries (plasma membranes, skin, exoskeletons, bark, etc.). […] The smallest autopoietic systems, spherical and less than a micrometer in diameter, are bacterial cells. […] The largest autopoietic system, so far incapable of reproduction, is the modulated surface of the Earth that Lovelock has named Gaia. […] Gaia is defined as the large self-maintaining, self-producing system extending within about 20 kilometers of the surface of the Earth.

Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis and Evolution, Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (2013)


larger Mind

The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger Mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system. This larger Mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by “God,” but it is still immanent in the total interconnected social system and planetary ecology.

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind


a primal regime of planetary cognition

Some three or so billion years ago, when a critical mass of abiotic, biotic, and biogenic elements fell into a closed loop locking in an emergent level of metabiotic autopoiesis, self-producing life coupled together with its increasingly modulated environment to induce a primal regime of planetary cognition. When placed within a Gaian temporal frame, over geobiological time, the metabiotic emergence of meaning systems—those systems specific to minds and societies for which cognition operates in semiotic mediums of meaning—can then be seen in their deep Gaian contingency as more recent epiphenomena. Our forms of consciousness and communication are ramified recursions of that Archean event.

Bruce Clarke, Gaian Systems


Gaia is an evolving system

Gaia is an evolving system, a system made up from all living things and their surface environment, the oceans, the atmosphere, and crustal rocks, the two parts tightly coupled and indivisible. [She] is an “emergent domain” – a system that has emerged from the reciprocal evolution of organisms and their environment over the eons of life on Earth. In this system, the self-regulation of climate and chemical composition are entirely automatic. Self-regulation emerges as the system evolves. No foresight, planning or teleology are involved. […] The Earth might in certain ways be alive, not as the ancients saw her, as a sentient goddess with purpose and foresight, but more like a tree – a tree that exists, never moving except to sway in the wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and the soil.

James Lovelock, Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine


Gaia is not an organism [edit]

Gaia is not an organism. […] Gaia, the living earth, far transcends any single organism or even any population. […] Gaia, the system, emerges from ten million or more connected living species that form [her] incessantly active body. Far from being fragile or consciously petulant, planetary life is highly resilient. […] The sum of planetary life, Gaia, displays a physiology that we recognize as environmental regulation. Gaia [her]self is not an organism directly selected among many. [She] is an emergent property of interaction among organisms, the spherical planet on which they reside, and an energy source, the sun. Furthermore Gaia is an ancient phenomenon. Trillions of jostling, feeding, mating, exuding beings compose her planetary system.

Lynn Margulis: The Symbiotic Planet. A New Look at Evolution.