[PBP2013] Gaia-Kybele

So, I had this idea to make this great new post, but for the most part, i’ve already said a lot of perfect things in this older post. Here, let me quote you something:

Many modern Pagans and Polytheist have this ridiculously romanticised vision of “nature” and the “natural world”. This idea that an untamed forest is a place of kindness, that the planet will just “give” everything needed to Herself and the creatures that live on Her surface. They forget that Gaia throws tantrums — or, if those fits are acknowledged, it’s always with the adage that “we humans deserve it” — forgetting the ill impact these fits have on other living things. While Gaia tends to eventually sort out Her droughts, and blights, and hurricane devatstations, these events still have impacts on plant life, animal life, human life, and even Her own face. It seems only logical to me that Gaia and Kybele are the same soul — They’re clearly a Goddess of opposites.

The bits before and following that bit are pretty good, too, though some of the latter portion has changed in the nearly two years since I wrote it.

Here are some other interesting bits that I’ve found:

  • According to Theoi Project (and implied in Burkert’s Greek Religion, by lack of any real index points for Gaia, properly), there was very little in the way of Gaia worship that was clearly indistinguishable from Demetre, or other Goddesses.
  • Gaia’s sacrifices, in ancient times, included black animals; more typical of Khthonic deities than Olympians. If you’re of the (thankfully not apparently all that widespread) opinion that Khthonoi are “spooky” and Their worship should be avoided, think about that —and the above fact.

Also, here’s a lovely fragment from later antiquity, but not necessarily irrelevant, as it seems to be in line with Boeotian tradition:

Suidas s.v. Ge (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.) :
“Ge (Earth): Since the earth is a seat of every city, as, supporting the cities, her image is that of a tower-bearer.”

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4 thoughts on “[PBP2013] Gaia-Kybele

  1. I have a very mixed view of Earth. I tend to think that people who want to “save the planet” are being disingenuous. They’re not wanting to save the planet, it will always be here, lol. They want to save the planet FOR US. And it seems to be very easy for these types to forget that nature isn’t nice. Lions are natural and they kill brutally. They’ll start eating before their prey is dead. Predation is as natural as it gets, and quite brutal.

    They also seem to forget that we rise from this planet, too. We are part and parcel of it as much as anyone is. If a lion is natural, and it’s natural for them to kill their prey, then we are natural as well. It either is or is not natural for us to sit in chairs, live in houses, and eat whatever we eat. We are natural, or we are not. Once you decide that, then you understand that everything we do is natural, or everything we do is unnatural and there’s no point in comparing us to everything else (we are the only ones that cook our food, you know!)

    So yes, it’s dishonest to think that “god” or divinity is found only in the good things in nature. If there is divinity in gardening (as my PBP post discusses), there is divinity in a tsunami, also. The fearsome rage of the planet is, fortunately, far less than the magnificent giving and the wealth of beauty all around us. Life is more common than death, and light more common than dark, for light is there even in the darkest night, if only our eyes were sharper to see it.

    Excellent post.

    Like

    • Oh, and not only are lions brutal killers —they don’t play fair, they’ll just as easily take something that some other creature killed, cos they’re the lion, they don’t need these “rules of decency”. They’re not called “king of the beasts” cos they’re all noble and majestic-looking (well, OK, maybe a little), but cos they’re also feudalists, and will gladly take from any other animal in “the lion’s territory” for the privilege of not being killed, too.

      They also seem to forget that we rise from this planet, too. We are part and parcel of it as much as anyone is. If a lion is natural, and it’s natural for them to kill their prey, then we are natural as well. It either is or is not natural for us to sit in chairs, live in houses, and eat whatever we eat. We are natural, or we are not. Once you decide that, then you understand that everything we do is natural, or everything we do is unnatural and there’s no point in comparing us to everything else (we are the only ones that cook our food, you know!)

      Oh, yes. This is one of those things that has ALWAYS bothered me: We’re just as “natural” as anything else that came from this planet —unless you’re a Scientologist, of course, but I don’t actually respect that as a real religion, for lots of reasons. Because we’re of he Earth, nothing we do is “unnatural” simply because we’re the only creatures on Earth to do it —echidnas are the only animals that have a seven-headed penis, and speaking of monotremes, don’t get me started on the platypus. Or how the giant panda is the only “obligate carnivore”, by design, that eats a diet that’s 90% vegetarian, and has one of the longest pauses between estrus and one of the highest rates of infant mortality due to basic malnutrition, and this is all how that creature behaves in the undisturbed wild. Serious, pandas got nothing on the VHEMT movement, they were headed to extinction long before human disruption of their natural habitat. Argh. How is what we do any less “natural”?

      Now, things we do might not be the most sensible, or might be self-destructive in the long run, and things we do that make the planet uninhabitable for us also make it so for other creatures. That may be selfish behaviour with no sense of forsight, but it’s not “unnatural”; hell, I’ve no doubt that if wolves had opposable thumbs and similar mental capacities as human beings, they’d be doing pretty much the same thing.

      There’s certainly nothing wrong with acting out of environmental concern, I do many things for such reasons, but I do so out of concern for this and other species, not because I think Gaia cries over every person who doesn’t reduce their environmental footprint; if She wanted to take us all out, She could’ve easily done so centuries ago. Maybe She’s giving us more chances out of sympathy, but if anything, She’s probably the most impersonal half of The Great Mother (or any deity) I’ve tried to forge a relationship with.

      Like

  2. I have a very mixed view of Earth. I tend to think that people who want to “save the planet” are being disingenuous. They’re not wanting to save the planet, it will always be here, lol. They want to save the planet FOR US. And it seems to be very easy for these types to forget that nature isn’t nice. Lions are natural and they kill brutally. They’ll start eating before their prey is dead. Predation is as natural as it gets, and quite brutal.

    They also seem to forget that we rise from this planet, too. We are part and parcel of it as much as anyone is. If a lion is natural, and it’s natural for them to kill their prey, then we are natural as well. It either is or is not natural for us to sit in chairs, live in houses, and eat whatever we eat. We are natural, or we are not. Once you decide that, then you understand that everything we do is natural, or everything we do is unnatural and there’s no point in comparing us to everything else (we are the only ones that cook our food, you know!)

    So yes, it’s dishonest to think that “god” or divinity is found only in the good things in nature. If there is divinity in gardening (as my PBP post discusses), there is divinity in a tsunami, also. The fearsome rage of the planet is, fortunately, far less than the magnificent giving and the wealth of beauty all around us. Life is more common than death, and light more common than dark, for light is there even in the darkest night, if only our eyes were sharper to see it.

    Excellent post.

    Like

    • Oh, and not only are lions brutal killers —they don’t play fair, they’ll just as easily take something that some other creature killed, cos they’re the lion, they don’t need these “rules of decency”. They’re not called “king of the beasts” cos they’re all noble and majestic-looking (well, OK, maybe a little), but cos they’re also feudalists, and will gladly take from any other animal in “the lion’s territory” for the privilege of not being killed, too.

      They also seem to forget that we rise from this planet, too. We are part and parcel of it as much as anyone is. If a lion is natural, and it’s natural for them to kill their prey, then we are natural as well. It either is or is not natural for us to sit in chairs, live in houses, and eat whatever we eat. We are natural, or we are not. Once you decide that, then you understand that everything we do is natural, or everything we do is unnatural and there’s no point in comparing us to everything else (we are the only ones that cook our food, you know!)

      Oh, yes. This is one of those things that has ALWAYS bothered me: We’re just as “natural” as anything else that came from this planet —unless you’re a Scientologist, of course, but I don’t actually respect that as a real religion, for lots of reasons. Because we’re of he Earth, nothing we do is “unnatural” simply because we’re the only creatures on Earth to do it —echidnas are the only animals that have a seven-headed penis, and speaking of monotremes, don’t get me started on the platypus. Or how the giant panda is the only “obligate carnivore”, by design, that eats a diet that’s 90% vegetarian, and has one of the longest pauses between estrus and one of the highest rates of infant mortality due to basic malnutrition, and this is all how that creature behaves in the undisturbed wild. Serious, pandas got nothing on the VHEMT movement, they were headed to extinction long before human disruption of their natural habitat. Argh. How is what we do any less “natural”?

      Now, things we do might not be the most sensible, or might be self-destructive in the long run, and things we do that make the planet uninhabitable for us also make it so for other creatures. That may be selfish behaviour with no sense of forsight, but it’s not “unnatural”; hell, I’ve no doubt that if wolves had opposable thumbs and similar mental capacities as human beings, they’d be doing pretty much the same thing.

      There’s certainly nothing wrong with acting out of environmental concern, I do many things for such reasons, but I do so out of concern for this and other species, not because I think Gaia cries over every person who doesn’t reduce their environmental footprint; if She wanted to take us all out, She could’ve easily done so centuries ago. Maybe She’s giving us more chances out of sympathy, but if anything, She’s probably the most impersonal half of The Great Mother (or any deity) I’ve tried to forge a relationship with.

      Like

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