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Sources for the Gaia Mythos

The Gaia Mythos is a story about us, the human species, and where we come from, told in the perspective of a more inclusive story that relates the cosmic drama of Gaia, the Earth Goddess. So far the narrative of "human evolution" could not be treated in this way because an essential part of the story has been missing. The Gnostic scenario of the "fallen goddess" called Sophia provides the missing elements. The story ahead draws upon unique features of Gnostic cosmology that explain who Gaia was before She came to be known as the indwelling divinity of the Earth, as well as upon a range of other materials, poetic and scientific, ancient and current. This prefatory essay sets out the background and sources of the Gaia Mythos.

A New Cosmic Story

The Gaia Mythos is an imaginative improvisation on themes found in ancient myths and indigenous lore from around the world. It relies more on poetic resources than on scientific theories, although it does draw in places upon scientific evidence, as distinguished from the schemes and speculations attached to that evidence. (For instance, a photograph of colliding galaxies taken by the Hubble orbiting telescope is evidence, distinct from the elaborate theories and arcane mathematical formulae that purport to explain what the photograph shows.) If the Mythos occasionally borrows a notion, such as "singularity," from astrophysics, it does not attempt to recast the entire body of astrophysical theory in mythological terms. Unlike The Universe Story (1992) by Brain Swimme and Thomas Berry, the Gaia Mythos is not a mythologized version of the current cosmological scenario. As Theodore Roszak notes ("Nature and Nature’s God", pp. 103-136 in Alexandria 5, edited by David Fideler):

    The approach taken by Swimme and Berry may have too much undisguised teleology about it to pass muster in the academic mainstream — it features highly personified natural forces that plan and seek and do — but the general outline of what they have to tell is not so very different from similar works by established scientists.

The Gaia Mythos is a vast depature from the cosmology proposed by established scientists, and while it also features "highly personified natural forces," it does not develop them in the way that Swimme and Berry do. The Universe Story is an inspired tour de force that goes deeply into imaginative and empathic dimensions of mythmaking, but (as Roszak observes) it remains limited by the current cosmological schema.

The aim of the Gaia Mythos is neither to emulate the accepted science of the day, nor legitimate itself by association with that science. Rather, it is to introduce the narrative frame for a sacramental science of the senses, a visionary pathway that might be called biomysticism. The Mythos is a consecrating narrative intended to restore our species to an empathic bond with nature. To reconnect with Gaia as loving allies aligned to Her purposes, we need a vision story with the power to turn us into visionaries, not merely a story that enables us to visualize in quasi-mythological terms what current science is telling us about Her.

The Usual Plot

The plot-structure common to modern science and Biblical narrative presents "the universe story" in three epic phases or chapters:

Chapter 1: Creation of the Cosmos

Bible: God proclaims "Let there be Light," then He fashions the heavens and earth from the chaos of the deep (the primordial waters)

Science
: the Big Bang happens, followed by a flash of light, then massive clouds of elementary particles spread in all directions as space itself is created. Eventually galaxies emerge from clouds of elementary particles.

Chapter 2: Evolution of Life on Earth

Bible: God fashions the kingdoms of nature, provides the oceans, the air, etc., and fills the world with creatures of all kinds.

Science: Millions of suns are born from cosmic chaos and in one galaxy a planetary system arises where conditions for organic life emerge from the inorganic realms by random actions that unfold over billions of years. The planet we inhabit begins to form 11 billion years after the Big Bang, roughly 4.5 billion years BP (Before Present). Eventually the Earth acquires an atmosphere that supports millions of species.

Ch. 3 The Emergence of Humanity

Bible: God creates Adam and Eve by a special act separate from the rest of His creative activities, and endows them with dominion over the earth and all its creatures. But no sooner has he conferred upon the parents of our species a privileged status, He curses them for tasting a magical plant that induces a god-like state of illumination. To punish our primal parents for the sin of tasting the forbidden fruit, the Father God exiles them from Eden, the paradisiacal state of communion with nature.

All this happens around 6000 BP according to the calculations of Bishop Ussher, a 19 th century fundamentalist who opposed evolutionist theories. By 3500 BP, a little more than halfway to the present, human beings begin to write stories (e.g., the Babylonian cuneiform cosmologies) explaining how the world came to be and how humanity is situated relative to the Creator. The Biblical account of the Flood and other main plot-factors in the Old Testament all derive from old narratives found in Mesopotamian writings.

Science: From the formation of the Earth, about 4.5 billion years BP, it takes until 55 million years BP for the first primates to emerge; then the first hominids appear around 7.5 million BP. Hence the human species emerges very late in the evolution of the planet. (If the entire period required for the evolution of the Earth were compared to one day of 24 hours, the human presence on the planet would correspond to less than the last second of the day.)

In The Universe Story, Swimme and Berry dedicate chapters 1 through 4 to the pre-terrestrial cosmos, chapters 5 through 8 to the evolution of the earth before the human species appears, and chapters 9 through 13 to the evolution of humanity up to the present era. At least nine scientific disciplines are needed to develop this plot-structure: general cosmology (including relativity and quantum theory), astrophysics, inorganic chemistry, planetary physics, geology, organic chemistry, biology, paleoanthropology, and historical anthropology.

The pattern of the Gaia Mythos does not follow the plot-lines outlined here. The Mythos does not recount the emergence of the cosmos from an indeterminate void. It starts with a pre-existing cosmos and focuses on an event that occurs in a particular galaxy, just one in a universe filled with billions of galaxies. The Gaia Mythos is told in Episodes that recount the experience of Gaia as a cosmic divinity, an Aeon in Gnostic terms. Hence, this is truly Gaia’s story, not a cosmic narrative in which Gaia plays a limited role.

Empathy for Herstory

Scientific theory and the Biblical narrative agree on plot-structure but differ on the dynamics of action, obviously. The most striking divergence of narrative occurs where human evolution is treated. Since the famous debates of the 19th century Biblical evolutionism and Darwinism have been in violent conflict. Like all current prehistorians who accept scientific orthodoxy, Swimme and Berry follow the Darwinian account of human evolution. Here again the Gaia Mythos departs radically from accepted narratives. It does not assume Darwinian notions on the "ascent of man", a theory "impossible to test by experiments, since the crucial events either happened in the remote past or would need thousands of years before a conclusion could be reached" (Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried, p. 93).

The validity of the Mythos lies not in proving the unprovable, but in an act of imagination that involves us with Gaia at the level of our senses. The challenge here is to imagine, not how things in the cosmos might be, but how they really are.
Gaian biomysticism was anticipated by alchemists whose guidelines could well serve us today:

    Nature performeth her operations gradually; and indeed I would have thee do the same: let thy imagination be guided wholly by nature. And observe according to nature, through whom the substances regenerate themselves in the bowels of the earth. And imagine this with true and not with fantastic imagination.
    Artis Auriferae, “The Art of Goldmaking” (Compiled 1610 AD)

To those who may be tempted to distrust the Gaia Mythos, or even dismiss it out of hand, because it does not toe the Darwinian party-line on the evolution of species, I would propose that a genuine vision story can neither be validated nor invalidated by comparison to abstract schemes and dogmas in scientific or religious guise. The issue here is, How do we, the most gifted and deviant among Gaia’s offspring, enter into empathic participation in Herstory? Quarrelling over the way the story stacks up against scientific theories is a waste of time. It is far better to admit up front that the Gaia Mythos is non-falsifiable, as that term was applied by Karl Popper, the outstanding critic of scientific method in the late 20th century. Popper argued that a theory is by definition scientific only if it can be proven false. If it is non-falsifiable, it is not a scientific theory. The claim that Adam and Eve were created by the Father God of Genesis is non-falsifiable. No one can prove it is not true, but no one can prove it is true, either.

The Gaia Mythos is non-falsifiable, yes, but then it does not pretend to be a scientific theorem. It is a vision story, but the visionary character of the Mythos does not prevent it from inducing in our minds a deep intuitive knowing of the processes of nature as they actually unfolded over vast eons of time. Although it is not a scientific narrative, it can foster the kind of understanding that science attempts to give us (perhaps without really delivering on its promise). Hence the Mythos does not discard or ignore the facts of nature and the evidence of the sciences, including astrophysics and evolutionary biology. In places it incorporates scientific material into the mythmaking process. As the Episodes unfold it will (I trust) become obvious that a mythic scenario may include reliable evidence from the sciences, and may even resonate with certain aspects of current scientific theory, without taking science as the ultimate authority. The veracity of this vision story resides in how it enhances human empathy with the natural world, and augments the latent powers of imagination crucial to the self-directing capacities of our species. Ultimately the Mythos ains to be a catalyst of deep rapport and recall rooted in the indwelling power of the Muse, the melodious voice of ancestral memory.

The main background sources of the Gaia Mythos are four: Dreamtime psychology, Asian metaphysics, sacred biology and the Gnostic connection.

Dreamtime Physics

The Hindu myth of Vishnu, the god who dreams the universe, recalls the saying of the Kalahari Bushmen of South Africa, "There is a dream dreaming us." The Aborigines of Australia, close kin to the Bushmen, are heirs to an oral tradition that spans 40,000 years, if not longer. They base their worldview on a mystical dimension called Alcheringa, the Dreamtime. To them the Dreamtime is not in the remote past, as outsiders tend to assume. Rather, it is the Eternal Present with Past and Future nested in it. Visible and invisible worlds, spiritual and sensorial events, gods and humans, self and other, are dynamically coupled in the Dreamtime. Robert Lawlor writes:

    Aboriginal cosmology allows us to conceive of a creation without the need to hypothesize a physical evolution nor a spiritual transcendence. A creation fully present, embodied, and magical in the union of its physical and metaphysical dimensions. (Voices of the Earth, p. 389)
This is also true for the creation story realized in the Gaia Mythos. The Dreamtime is an event that persists eternally, without beginning or end, and supports the constant play of shifting conditions, the world phenomena. When the Dreamtime comes to expression in particular knowledge and behavior, the Aborigines refer to the Dreaming of the creature who embodies that knowledge and exhibits that behavior. For instance, the Kangeroo Dreaming is summation of the innate knowledge and instinctual behavior of all kangaroos, going back to the Dreamtime ancestors. One could say, in biological terms, it is the enactment of the genome of the Kangeroo species.

All creatures, organic and inorganic, human and non-human, live and die by the Dreamings that play through them. In the Aboriginal worldview the unique gift of humans to create culture stems from our capacity to remember and retell the Dreaming, not only of our own species, but of others as well. The indigenous belief that the role of humanity is to remember the events of the Dreaming for all creatures accords with the suggestion presented in Sharing the Gaia Mythos: namely, that the human species enables a memory-circuit for Gaia.

Metaphysics and Mystic Sciences

Asian metaphysics is an umbrella term for an array of long-enduring spiritual traditions in Japan, China, India, Tibet and Mongolia. Bon Po in Tibet, Taoism in China, and Shinto in Japan, for instance, are late phases of shamanic religions whose origins stretch back into the Paleolithic Age. The Indo-Tibetan complex including Hindu Tantra, Vajrayana including Dzogchen, the Mahayana and Hinayana variants of Buddhism, Vedanta and Kashmiri Shaivism, is a vast trove of rich and complex philosophies and practices. In all instances Asian metaphysical and cosmological thought grows from direct experience, direct application of what might be called the mystic sciences. Paramount among these is yoga, the method developed by the Himalayan sages, variously called yogis, lamas, rishis, siddhas, mahatmas, vidyadharas.

In terms of the Dreamtime the purpose of yoga is to introduce those who are dreamed to the Dreamer.

Asian metaphysics resonates closely with indigenous intuitions of the Dreaming. In fact, it brings those intuitions into clear and consistent intellectual form. Asian metaphysics is not a speculative philosophy that assumes a super-material realm, comparable to the domain of Platonic Ideas, from which the material world is evolved. Rather, it is a coherent exposition of the structure and dynamics of the Dreamtime. One could say that it sets out "Dreamtime physics" in theory and practice. Asian metaphysics presents a total explanation of how the myriad worlds arise dimensionally and spread through time past and time future while remaining ever rooted in the Eternal Now.

In Hindu Tantra the notion of evolution as understood in Western terms does not exist. The Sanskrit word parinama may be translated as evolution, but is more accurately described as "emanation." Fred Hoyle’s Steady-State cosmology recalls Asian emanation theory which posits an infinity of worlds in constant flux, arising and dissolving without beginning or end. Looking beyond Hoyle, the Gaia Mythos finds more affinity with the school of plasma cosmology whose proponents argue that "the universe is infinitely ancient, continuing to evolve without beginning or end (Roszak, ibid., p. 105, citing the work of Anthony L. Peratt and Eric J. Lerner)." Plasma cosmology recalls the Hindu cosmology of Maya, Eternal Becoming, and Brahminical teachings on endless cycles of manifestation and dissolution, "the Days and Nights of Brahma."

Asian metaphysics assumes the primacy of pure awareness in the background of all phenomena. This awareness cannot even be called consciousness — literally, the state of awareness "with knowing" — because it exists prior to and without an object, without anything there to know. Just how pure attention produces the manifest worlds is a riddle that deeply involves all those who tackle it.

Vedanta and Hindu Tantra present extremely subtle explanations of the world process, explanations that can be tested by meditation and exploration of altered states such as lucid dreaming. All Tantric systems elucidate the physics of consciousness in terms of emanation theory. Dreaming is a poetic metaphor for the process in which pure awareness without content veils itself in countless facets of awareness loaded and coded with content, thus emanating the myriad worlds and the capacity to experience them, including the capacity for self-awareness possessed by human beings. Mind and matter are co-eternal in the Dreamtime. The entire universe is an apparition, but the apparition is real, alive, sentient, conscious of itself: it is a living dream.

The mystic sciences are the tool-kit that comes with Asian metaphysics. They are techniques for exploring the World Dream. Rather than validating itself in terms of materialistic science, the Gaia Mythos relies on the record of such explorations, human encounters with the Other, the Unknown, the Nagual. The evidence derived from such explorations is vast, and every bit as convincing as the alleged proofs of reductive materialism. Sober testimony of such explorations is more engaging and life-supporting than scientific and philosophical theory.

In his commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I. K. Taimni says that unlike modern science with its battery of technological devices for probing into nature, "the Yogic method is entirely different. It discards completely all external aids and relies on the unfoldment of inner faculties of perception." (The Science of Yoga, p. 325) The infinite potential of the Dreaming plays through us, through our very minds and bodies, and so we are capable of knowing and seeing and feeling to an infinite degree. Asian metaphysics is not a fantasy process, or a wild flight of abstraction, it is the intellectual flower of the mystic sciences. The Gaia Mythos draws at times on the theory and at other times on the practice of these ancient and revered techniques.

Sacred Biology

The Egyptian pyramids and other megalithic monuments around the world present hard evidence that the ancients had advanced knowledge of astronomy, geometry, and physics, not to mention design and engineering skills we can neither comprehend nor duplicate. With such clear evidence that ancient pre-technological knowledge exceeded our own in some ways, it is worth asking, "In what other realms might our forebears have surpassed us?" Obviously advanced in astronomy and mathematics, might they not also have excelled in the life sciences? In biology, anatomy, neurochemistry? I maintain that there is a strong possibility that the sacred sciences of the Egyptians, among others, encompassed a deep knowledge of molecular biology.

I propose the term "sacred biology" for ancient knowledge of natural processes acquired without the use of technological devices. Such knowledge encompassed sexual and asexual reproduction, molecular structure, induced mutations, immunology, and the operations of DNA, vehicle of the genetic code. The entwined serpents on the insignia of the pharaohs, for instance, are a perfect image of the two interlaced strands of DNA, the double helix. Other images and terms in Egyptian suggest intimate acquaintance with processes at the molecular level. It is not at all preposterous that DNA might figure in the sacred regalia of the pharaohs. Egyptologists have long known that the royal family lines were systematically inbred to preserve certain attributes regarded as having special value by the priesthood who directed the grand eugenic experiment that was Egyptian theocracy. The winged solar disk with entwining serpents was the corporate logo of the pharaonic dynasties, whose members were produced by selective inbreeding.

In The Cosmic Serpent Jeremy Narby discusses "DNA snakes" and other biomolecular motifs in Egyptian sacred art. His experiences with ayahuasca shamans in Peru led him to conclude that indigenous peoples "who practice shamanism know about the hidden unity of nature, which molecular biology hasconfirmed," precisely because they have access to the reality of molecular biology (p. 80) An astonishing revelation to Narby, an anthropologist from Stanford University, but no big surprise to his jungle informants who know "how to combine brain hormones with monoamine oxidase inhibitors", and to distinguish "forty different sources of muscle paralyzers... When they say the recipe for curare was given to them by the beings who created life, they are talking literally. When they say their knowledge comes from what they see in hallucinations, their words mean exactly what they say." ( p. 68). What manner of hallucinations are these, that confer true and testable knowledge of natural laws? Narby asserts that "what scientists call DNA corresponds to the animate essences that shamans say communicate with them and animate all life forms." (p.132) Summing up his thesis, Narby poses the quintessential question, "How could nature not be conscious if our consciousness is produced by nature?" (p. 138)

The proof is in participation, in actually undergoing the shamanic experience that brings the human mind and body into intimate rapport with nature. The communication goes both ways, for what we learn from nature is expressed in the intelligence and respect we bring to Her. But even without the benefit of this experience, it can hardly be denied that indigenous peoples possess advanced knowledge of pharmacological and neurological processes. It is difficult to estimate the extent of such native savvy. Dan Russell describes meeting an Amazonian shaman who could describe the therapeutic and psychoactive properties of 2000 plants. (Shamanism, Patriarchy and the Drug War, p. 29) Shamanic trance induced by ingestion of sacred plants is a basic method of the mystic sciences. Narby proposes that the biomolecular know-how of Peruvian shamans may well have been cultivated by ancient Pagans such as the shaman-priests who directed Egyptian theocracy. Egyptian initiates were likely adept in such arts, as were Taoist monks, Hindu yogis, Maya and Aztec wizards, Gnostic seers, and many other "technicians of the sacred." The record left by these mystic explorers informs and supports the Gaia Mythos at every turn.

Current theory in the life-sciences allows us to reconstruct the legacy of sacred biology. Most revealing in this respect is the serial endosymbiosis theory (SET) of Lynn Margulis, co-creator with James Lovelock of the Gaia Hypothesis. In Mystery Dance, co-written with Dorian Sagan, Margulis considers the billion-years-long evolution of life, not according to the Big Bang metaphor, but by analogy to a striptease. The authors introduce "a genetic genie whose undressing takes us far back in evolutionary time. The stripper’s act exposes the presumed sex lives and bodily appearances of our ancestors, human and prehuman. The dancer, for example, takes off an outer layer of civilized monogamy to reveal the wanton promiscuity of Homo erectus, fire-using hunters ancestral to Homo sapiens. By sexually climaxing, Homo erectus females helped choose the genetic composition of modern humans." (p. 10)

Survival of the sexiest may not be everyone’s favorite alternative to Darwinism, but SET is the most serious challenge yet to emerge. Margulis’ master idea complements the Gaian theory she pioneered with James Lovelock. SET proposes that all beings live through each other, just as we, the human species, life through the biosphere, and it (in some measure) through us.

Like Mystery Dance, the Gaia Mythos is a sex-saturated tale. It recounts "the presumed sex lives", not just of "our ancestors, prehuman and human", but of the Gods themselves. In the Gnostic scenario that informs the Mythos (see below), the divinities who surge like vast currents through the Dreaming often pair off like swans or converge in erotic tangles like celebrants of a Dionysian orgy. Taoist sexual alchemy, Hindu and Tibetan Tantra and indigenous cosmologies from Australia to Alaska assume gendered gods. The wild conjugations of the Pagan deities were vilified by Christian moralists, but this theme comes to full-blown expression in the spectacular eroticism of Gaia’s private life.

At the deepest level of the mystic sciences ran a vein of biological knowledge. Indeed, it may have been the very heart and essence of those sciences. The Gaia Mythos encourages us to heal centuries of religion-based shame, reclaim the miracles of body-knowing, and celebrate the rapturous rites of sexuality in reverence to the Earth.

The Gnostic Connection

In the cosmology of the Gnostics all divinities are sexual and even Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene have an erotic relationship. (See The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, reviewed in Reading.) The flagrant eroticism in Gnostic spirituality resonates strongly with the cosmic sexuality of the Gaia Mythos, but there is an even more intimate connection between Gnosis and Gaia. In fact, without a certain key plot factor provided by Gnostic teachings, it would be impossible to recover the complete story of the Earth Goddess.

What is the crucial plot factor supplied to the Gaia Mythos by Gnostic teachings? It occurs in what scholars call the Sophia Mythos. This is a cosmological drama in which a divinity at the cosmic level becomes enmeshed with a planetary system, under conditions that are somewhat irregular. According to Gnostic cosmology the goddess Sophia belonged to the company of divinities in the Pleroma, a celestial locale astronomically equivalent to the core of our galaxy. Normally the Pleromic gods remain within a cosmic membrane, the boundary that defines the galactic core, but Sophia plunged beyond the normal limit of divine activity and spiraled down into a planetary system. Sophia is thus the "fallen goddess" regarded by Gnostics to be embodied in the planet we inhabit. Their cosmology describes in graphic language how the goddess who fell from celestial heights became transformed into the elements of the biosphere.

Hence Gnostic sources provide a scenario that explains where Gaia comes from in the cosmos and how She came to be "Mother Earth" in the first place. This scenario and the startling esoteric knowledge attached to it are unique to the Gnostic teachings of the Mystery Schools.

Gnosis was an illuminist path, a kind of cognitive yoga that allowed its adepts to develop intimate knowledge of the Aeons, immensely powerful self-aware divinities who surge through the Dreaming. Of all the Aeons, Sophia is uniquely linked to the Earth and humanity. She was considered by Gnostics to be the single and supreme redeeming power in human experience. Sophia is the savior of humanity, but salvation understood in the Gnostic sense must not be confounded with Judeo-Christian-Islamic doctrines that go under that name.

In the Gnostic view Sophia’s process of redemption involves a reintegration of Her power with the Pleroma, the infinite fullness of the cosmic center. How this occurs depends on human participation in Her plight. In short, Gnostics taught that we are accessory to Sophia’s task of aligning Her special world, the Earth, with the larger designs of the cosmos. This astonishing prospect was not due to mere speculation on their part. It arose from generations of practical discipline in the mystic sciences. Gnosis is noetic science. The Sophia Mythos was privileged knowledge in the Pagan Mystery Schools where neophytes were taught and trained in illuminist techniques by Gnostics skilled in the use of siddhis, occult powers of perception. In that ancient ivy league, the faculty had faculties.

The Mind of Gaia

Gnostic cosmology uniquely provides the main plot factors in the Gaia Mythos. The association between the Aeon Sophia and She whom we now call Gaia is a true felicity, presenting the opportunity for a visionary breakthrough in our time. Sophia in Greek means "wisdom", so this association yields the compound name, Gaia-Sophia, "earth goddess wisdom." Once the words are put together it is immediately evident how they belong together. Once we are capable of recognizing Gaia as the indwelling divinity of the earth — defined theologically, in capital letters, the Godhead of Nature — we are also ready to understand how Her wisdom informs the biosphere and all creatures within it, great and small. Sophia represents the operative component of divine intelligence in Gaia, the living planet. In other words, Sophia is the cognitive and Gaia the biological aspect of the same organism.

The Gaia Hypothesis restates in scientific terms the teachings of the Pagan Mysteries as well as the common-sense understanding of indigenous people of all times and places. As Jeremy Narby suggests, that which has produced our consciousness must itself be conscious. The intelligence of the Earth is Sophianic. The biosphere is a crucible of Goddess Wisdom, called the "Gaian supermind" by Terence McKenna:

    The planet has a kind of intelligence, so that it can actually open a channel of communication with an individual human being. The message that nature sends is, transform your language through a synergy between electronic culture and the psychedelic imagination, a synergy between dance and idea, a synergy between understanding and intuition, and dissolve the boundaries that your culture has sanctioned between you, to become part of the Gaian supermind. (Interview for Re-Evolution, cited on http://deoxy.org/gaia.)


McKenna’s work belongs to a growing body of contemporary thought that complements the Gaia Mythos, although it hardly begins to encompass the magnitude of the full Sophianic vision.

So far, tentative notions of humanity’s role in Gaia’s purposes have been limited by conceptual language that relies on Western models of consciousness, specifically on brain/mind theory, rather than emanation theory and Dreamtime physics. A mythos is not a conceptual schema, it is a story deeply rooted in the species memory. The sources of the Gaia Mythos — Dreamtime physics, shamanic recall, Asian metaphysics and the mystic sciences, sacred biology and Gnostic cosmology — represent a legacy of intuitive and experimental wisdom thousands of years older than the scientific outlook that dominates our age. The specialist demands of science, as seen in the nine disciplines needed to produce the universe story of Swimme and Berry, may preclude it from serving as the guiding frame for a new visionary cosmology. By contrast, the prerequisites for the Gaia Mythos are experiential paths, mystical and sacramental practices of millennial depth.

As the story unfolds the ways to experiment with it will also be revealed. Beyond erudition and proof, the Mythos carries a call to ecstatic knowing.

A true myth lives and nothing that lives can survive in a vacuum. The play of interpretation, exegesis, comment, lively debate and rational elucidation must also inform the telling of this story. The dynamic of sharing around mythopoesis is crucial to its development. In the vortex of social discourse an ever-widening recognition of the Gaia-Sophia principle can be shaped and defined. As this occurs the noetic and psychological language applied to Gaia needs to shift from reliance on theoretic constructions such as the Darwinian model of evolution and Big Bang cosmology, to a new focus of intuitive knowing in which memory and imagination, inspired by the Mythos, can transform our perception of the world. A true mythos alters how we perceive the world-order whose origins it describes. The story of Gaia-Sophia shifts us away from the programmation of consensus reality toward the open dimension of visionary rapport with the sacred powers that sustain us.

The story ahead is about us, the human species, as well as about the planet we inhabit. In Metahistory Quest Gaia-Sophia is the founding principle of culture, the standard of sanity for our species. As explained in Insane and Inhumane, the intelligence endowed in the human species is a precious dose of nous, "divine knowing", and it comes to us straight from the "mother love" of the Earth Goddess. The gift of Gaia-Sophia engenders both our survival skills and our ethical sensibilities. To recognize the source of the endowment, the seed of divine intelligence unfolding in us, is the single most important act of reverence of which humans are capable. Loving Gaia is the height of human destiny. In the recognition of what makes us human we come into a sublime alignment. Fostering this alignment is the aim and essence of the Gaia Mythos.

Synopsis of the Gaia Mythos.

jll February 2004

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