GAIA was, in both Romanian and Greek mythologies, the primordial goddess, a personification of the planet Earth – or Terra in the Roman version of the story.
In Greek legends, she was regarded as the central figure from which other gods were created. It is a story filled with hidden meanings, perhaps, according to certain beliefs, personifications of historical eras or geographical regions.
On the other hand, Romanian mythology was mostly preserved in ballads, fairytales, traditional songs and expressions, even customs, without apparent interconections. This mysterious myths may even be hidden in our ordinary speech, from times immemorial to this day. Some of them depict a mother goddess who brings her children into the world, who gives them a body, and offers them an opportunity to experience this world. This primordial being is olso the one who can bring her immortal children into the next world, or afterlife.
Vasile Lovinescu, a Romanian esoteric philosopher, who analyzed numerous ballads and fairytales, explained that “earth is a spiritual, subtle and bodily organism. She has energy vortexes, knots of power that have to be loosened, channeled, sublimated, resorbed (and of course not destroyed), supreme operations concerning all aforementioned elements are reserved to God and his representatives. The human representatives preserve, without understanding, the ruins of the old traditions, most times connected to such a distant past, that it would be impossible to determine, and for this reason we are content with simply referring to them as the obscure field of prehistory”.
Olso, Lovinescu quoted his mentor, Rene Guenon: “the true ideas do not change and do not evolve, but remain in an eternal present, transmitting themselves in a mysterious way from generation to generation. The deep interesting elements of all traditions, considered folklore, reside especially in the fact that they are not of folkloric origin (…) having a real symbolic value, not only are they not of folkloric source, but they are not even of human origin. What can be considered of folkloric source is only the fact of survival (…). When the traditional initiation organization is about to perish, its last representatives can voluntarily pass on this collective memory, which otherwise would be irreversibly lost. ”
But how do you guarantee that content will not be changed or distorted over time? You make sure that those who hold the truth are not aware of the real value of myth. They will say probably that it’s all just fairytales.
For example, let’s look at the popular Romanian saying, that we will render here as: “may GAIA take you”, where “gaia” is apparently understood as death. This could have a secondary, esoteric, meaning, underlying the obvious, apparent level, because the philosophy of death is so different now, as opposed to 2000 years ago. The Dacians had a different kind of perception regarding this concept, Death was only a transition to a higher stage, there was nothing dangerous in this passing, and no fear. Herodotus, the greek historian, stated, refering to dacians that they “believe they are immortal” – and this aspect is well known about Geto-Dacians. So, this old-new wish, was positive then, negative now, because we live in a different culture.
An other form of the wish is “may mother GAIA take you”, with the same meaning. Gaia could also referred to a predatory bird, but this ancient saying shows us that she also represents the mother, a mother who can bring you death. Maria Gimbutas, the reputed anthropologist and archaeologist pointed out that the mother-goddess was actually anthropomorphic, depicted as a female-bird. She suggests that “ the bird-goddess was the old Europe godess.”
If we try to make sense of everything from this ancient, perspective, we’ll have to understand why is death not only necesary, but rather desirable. The mother who brought you in this world, who gave you a body, and gave you an opportunity to experience this world, is the one who can bring you into the next world. If you grasp the spiritual laws of the game, you most likely have no reason to fear. Though it might be difficult for us now, we can understand something about an old culture which felt that this expression is a blessing. Today, this particular phrase is used with a negative intention, like a punishment or curse; but within it lies hidden a different meaning. The difference in perception may arise because in the current age we fear death, like a cold and unforgiving god. Even though it is the same god, you see? Only people’s perception has changed over time. The underlying truth is eternal.
The Greeks can help us understand the story better. Poets and historians remind us that the gets are the descendants of the Pelasgians, the first people on earth, and they are now spread across all of Europe. Many historians support the theory that even the name of “gets” presumably has the same root as “Geea”, and would supposedly mean “that which belongs to Geea”, the children of mother Earth.
So, are we really the children of Geea? We can at list wander and search furder.
Nicolae Densușianu, a Romanian historian, best known for his book “Prehistorical Dacia”, stated: “The origin of this deity (Geea), as a principle and personification, was located around the north of the Lower Danube, where Homer and Hesiod placed the genesis of the gods, on the old river called Okeanos, Potamos or Istru, where the holy island of Geea resided, with the golden apples.”
There were scholars who even drew a very interesting parallel: ” the Romanian fairytale <The youngest brave boy and the Golden Apples>, was borrowed in Greek mythology, under the name of “Hesperides Garden”. Now, we are back to the greeks, with a Romanian story to tell…
Densusianu suggested that the Pelasgian empire (initially called Geea) was ruled by the “gods” of the Greek pantheon, in fact real characters. And here we have a story that brings Greek and Egyptian mythology together: Uranus and his eldest son, Saturn, are Pelasgian kings, under whom the empire extends westward, into Europe, and south, into the entire Balkan peninsula, all the way to Egypt. Saturn had two sons, from different mothers – the first, Typhon (Set, in Egyptian version), the second, Osiris. Between the two brothers starts a fight – we know how it unfolds from the Egyptian version – and that marks the end of the great prehistorical kingdom. All this struggle remains in the memory of the peoples in myth form. But a myth could be more than merely a story. We remember, from the beginning of this article, that: myths are only a form of encoding information. But what do all these stories of Geea mean?
Lovinescu asserted that mythology or fairytale is “an externalization of secret rituals that were performed in the sanctuary”, such as a liturgy – its purpose was to remind, update and periodically share the exaltation, downfall and resurection of a god, precisely in this order, to be an example and catalyst in this process for the whole world. Because without death, there is no eternity.
But all these ideas, if there is any truth in them, they are beyond time, and are therefore ever-present. All myths are also about us somehow. However the story of GAIA goes, we go along. And the story will probably continue, like every Romanian fairytale does: it all happened “once upon a time”, because if it weren’t so, it wouldn’t be told. And all is already said.