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OVERVIEW of the Gaia Mythos

* Structure, Style, Author's Comments *

 

This Gaia Mythos is about Gaia before she turned into the Earth, and how the Goddess came to be the indwelling intelligence of the planet and the mother of all terrestrial species. I call it the Gaia Mythos rather than the Gaia Story, but no one is bound to follow my lead on this. However, I would like to explain my choice of terms, so bear with me for a moment.

M 31, a barred spiral galaxy thought to be similar in structure and magnitude to our own.

Originally, the Greek mythos was an account of something that happened, a telling of actual events, not a made-up story, a fabrication, or an outright lie. Today we tend to use the word myth pejoratively to indicate something that is not true, or not to be believed. The Gaia Mythos is neither a myth in this sense, nor a mere story such as one finds, say, in a novel or newspaper account. It is not the explanation of the universe entire, like the Big Bang scenario. Rather, it is a site-specific account of something that happened in the particular galaxy where the solar system we inhabit is located. It is, if you will, a metastory, a cosmic narrative with supernatural and mystical aspects. It is not about the origin of the universe, but the special conditions of our planetary system.

The Mythos comprises four parts, each written in a different style:

    One, Fallen Goddess, a prose poem in 16 Episodes, on site.

    Two, Gaia Awakening, a dream-story or fable, presenting a parallel to the classical myth of Eros and Psyche.

    Three, The Gender Rift, on the separation of the sexes and the "chthonic romance" of the Gaian women with the men from Orion
    (Translations from the Andromedan, written, but not on site).

    Four, In Tomorrow's Light, a futuristic tale of people living in an emergent community.

Part One, Fallen Goddess, Episodes 1 through 7 and 8 through 16, is currently the only part of the Gaia Mythos on Metahistory.org. Episodes 1 through 11 are complete. Episodes 12 through 16 are in development (Nov 2005).


Fallen Goddess opens with a company of gods called Aeons, divinities who dwell in the core of our home galaxy, the Pleroma. It describes the projection of the template for the human species (Anthropos) by the Pleromic gods. (This mythological image corresponds to the scientific notion of panspermia, the seeding of spores of life through interstellar space.) Then it tells how one of the immortal powers, the Aeon Sophia as Gnostics called her, departed in a reckless way from the galactic core, producing havoc in the outer region of the galaxy. In shock and disorientation, the Goddess comes to realize that she has precipitated an anomaly in the cosmos, giving rise to a bizarre species called Archons. The story then describes the pact beween Sophia and the sun, the mother star of our planetary system, which will enable the Earth to safely absorb and be nurtured by solar fire.

On Gaian morphogenesis see Coco de Mer, One, "The Human Role in Gaia's Dreaming," and Two, "The Shock of the Beautiful."

Meanwhile the anomalous species, the Archons, construct their own "virtual reality" heaven, modelled after the living fractal configurations in the Pleroma. Their tyrannical chief, a reptilian freak called Yaldabaoth, mistakenly believes himself to be the only god in the cosmos, lord of all he surveys. This false creator god will become the central deity of monotheism, posing some grave problems for the human species when it final shows up on the scene.

On the generation of the Archons, see Alien Dreaming.

The Archontic activity occurs before Sophia herself morphs into the planet Earth. The world she embodies is then captured in the planetary system controlled by the Archons. Eventually the human species emerges in the biosphere, but not in the way Darwinian science supposes. Complications with the Archons put Sophia in a rather tricky situation with humanity, but the full scope of the problem is only revealed in the following parts of the Mythos.

Author's Comment

The prose poem Fallen Goddess is my imperfect attempt to retrieve and restore the sacred history of the Earth that was preserved in the Mystery Schools of the ancient world. In this task I rely on Gnostic materials such as the Nag Hammadi Codices (NHC), as well as on passages in the polemics written against the Gnostics. (The Reading Plan with commentaries on the NHC contains large doses of cosmological material relevant to the Mythos.) In developing the Mythos, I also draw parallels to modern science, particularly astrophysics and biology, and, of course, the Gaia theory of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. All in all, about eight points of Gaia theory are mirrored (prefigured, if you will) in the Sophia narrative.

In other words, this sacred ancient myth about the Goddess Sophia presents a plausible counterpart to current ideas of the living, self-organizing planet we now call Gaia. But the myth goes further than modern theory in that it identifies Gaia with the Aeon Sophia before she became the Earth. It also suggests possible teleological or goal-oriented aspects of human experience relative to the "big story" of Gaia-Sophia.

The telestai (initiates) who maintained the Sophianic vision and taught the Mythos had a profound understanding of teleology, human and natural. In their view, the supreme value of this sacred narrative was to provide a guiding framework for humanity to coevolve with the Earth Goddess. Today, Lynn Margulis speaks of the need for humans to find a "creative niche" in Gaia—a suggestion that is not so far from the telestic or initiated perception of our species' call to coevolution.

The entire story was transmitted orally, but there is reason to believe that most of it was also written down. It has survived in fragments only. Significant parts of the written form of the story were destroyed. For instance, there is no account of the creation of the moon. However, I believe that my reconstruction is accurate and adequate and will serve as a provisional tool for visionary work centered on the Earth. The Mythos needs to be discussed and developed by those attracted to it. It invites collaboration and creative expansion, but it also requires faithfulness to the core elements, the primary plot. I describe my method and resources for developing the Mythos in Sharing the Gaia Mythos and in the companion essay, Sources for the Gaia Mythos.


The remaining three parts of the Gaia Mythos

Part Two, Gaia Awakening, recounts events that transpire over 4,320 million years (4.32 billion years) as the fallen Goddess awakens to her new identity as "Mother Earth." At first Sophia does not realize where she is or what she has become. To herself she appears to be a young girl, Kore (Kore-ray), who awakens on a beach on a beauteous planet where she finds herself entirely alone. (Visuals: Douanier Rousseau inspired by a mushroom omelette.) Part Two of the Gaia Mythos describes the geological epochs of the Earth and the emergence of the kingdoms of nature in terms of Gaian "morphic feels." The great events of terrestrial formation are viewed as moments in the life of an adolescent girl who, it turns out, is autistic.

(Elsewhere on site, I have ventured an eccentric calculation of Gaia's Age.)

The life of Kore, the original "Wild Child," is measured in Geons, vast epochs of geological time. Scientists estimate the age of the Earth to be about 4.5 billion years. This comes uncannily close to the sacred cosmological code number of the "Days and Nights of Brahma" in Hindu mythology: 4320. Assuming a lifespan of 4.320 billion years for the Earth, we have 1000 Geons of 4,320,000 years each. 4.32 million years is an imaginable period of time in human terms, and it fits rather conveniently into the current paleoanthropological framework. The first monkeys appeared in the 990th Geon, so the current myth states. Hominids (upright, protohumam animals) are thought to have appeared about 5 million years ago, just over one Geon, although this boundary seems to be fast retreating into a far more remote past as new discoveries emerge. For instance, fossils remains of a new proto-hominid creature, Orrorin tugenensis, were recently discovered in Kenya. This upright-walking ancestor may have lived six million years ago—about 1.5 Geons.

By the conventional reckoning, our earliest ancestors date from the last quarter of the 999th Geon. We are today living in the final years of the 1000th Geon.



Gaia Awakening follows the convential scenario of geological evolution, more or less. It accepts five massive extinctions, crucial events in Kore's adolescent psyche, the awakening of her sexual and creative drives, and her passage into adulthood. However, the mythos as I tell it reckons on the presence of the human species on Earth far earlier than science will allow. (This view is supported by indigenous lore from around the world, as well as by inexplicable artifactual discoveries as noted in Forbidden Archeology by Michael Cremo.)

An example of correlation between the Gaia Mythos and geological evolution: the Christic intercession can be placed in the Ordovician epoch, directly after the Cambrian Explosion, 550 MYA (million years ago). Imagine that with the sudden proliferation of life-forms in the Cambrian explosion, Sophia was unable to manage symbiosis in the biosphere. This situation might be compared to the mythical narrative of the intercession, paraphrased in Irenaeus.

Excerpt from my new book, working title Primal Ecology, forthcoming from Chelsea Green in 2006:

When Sophia reached the stage where her planetary body began to burst with life – that is, the point when the biosphere was formed – the emergent life-forms were so rampant and prodigious that she was unable to manage them. The Goddess was overwhelmed by the immense diversity of life she was producing. She could not manage the behavior of her progeny and keep them within their proper symbiotic boundaries. In short, her autopeosis was at risk of going awry.

Her plight elicited a response from the Pleromic Gods who had been witnessing the trajectory of her plunge from the outset. Now they made a momentous choice. The Aeon Christos, who had been Sophia’s syzygy in the configuration of the Anthropos, received a special mission from the Pleromic assembly: to depart from the Pleromic core and descend into the emergent world where Sophia was overwhelmed with giving birth. This is the Christic intercession.

It is a rare exception for an Aeon to depart from the galactic core and “exteriorize” within a world in progress. In Hindu myth divinities who intercede in this manner in the material world are called avataras, and the process is called avataric descent. Sophia plunged from the Pleroma by sheer impetuosity, propelled by enthymesis, divine desire, but the Aeon Christos does it through ennoia, divine intention. With the attention of the entire Pleroma behind him Christos performed a special intercession. The paraphrase in Irenaeus (Against Heresies, IV, 1) says:
    The Christos dwelling on high took pity on the sister Aeon, and having extended himself through and beyond the stauros [boundary of the Pleroma] he imparted a figure to Sophia, but merely as respected substance, not so as to impart intelligence…. The Christos imparted to Sophia form as respected intelligence, and brought healing to her passions, separating them from her, but not so as to drive them out of her mind altogether.

This event transpires 128 Geons BP. Or so it may be imagined. (The point of imagining such things, in just this way, is another discussion.) Christos is traditionally associated with the fish, a trope that fits the appearance of the first fishes right after the intercession. Then the first land plants emerge, allowing Gaia to bring forth the race of dryads, tree-nymphs. Then a mass extinction.

What are we to make of her extinctions in mythopsychological terms?

Through the duration of Gaia's long-term life-cycles, Kore undergoes a series of dramatic recapitulations in which she recalls how she came to be on Earth — indeed, how she became the Earth. The sequence of recapitulations follows the pattern of the five assumed extinctions up to the present, Sixth Extinction, now underway. In short, each extinction is comparable to a shamanic trance in which Kore recalls her cosmic identity, temporarily occludes her planetary existence, and then reemerges for a new cycle of life, her vitality and autopoetic powers honed and amplified by what she has remembered.

As Kore recapitulates, so Gaia "evolves."

Gaia Awakening is written in the "fabulist" style made popular by Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges, and pitifully vulgarized by Paolo Coehlo. It is a love-story that parallels the fable of Eros and Psyche from the Pagan Mysteries. It describes how Kore is visited by a mysterious phantom lover who sets her to certain demanding tasks. She undertakes these tasks or tests in order to keep the lovely phantom returning to ravish her. Without realizing at first what's going on, she learns from the tests how to manage the immense biological complexity of her world.

The mythological motif for these encounters between Kore and the Phantom is the Christic intercession described in Gnostic cosmology.

Typical kitsch showing Eros and Psyche. This mythological motif is probably the origin of all stories of human intercourse with angels and off-planet entities. (Antonio Canova, 1796, marble, 13 cm high. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)

Kore awakens to her full-blown terrestrial sexuality in the middle of the long Eocene epoch at between 986 and 992 Geons, counting ahead from her birth—or about 14 Geons ago, counting back from now. The Earth is still young. If we compute her age fractally, making 43.2 Geons equivalent to one year of her life, Gaia is now 23 years old. She hit puberty late, at 22. Volcanoes lent her menstruation, building the Himalayas and the Andes. The great whales that survive today emerged in the Cenozoic when the Earth was exceptionally hot. They are morphic residua of immense spermatic forms that swam in her nascent fallopian tubes.

Gaia theory cannot tell us how the planet reproduces; hence the uncertainty over whether or not the Earth can be legitimately called a biological creature, a great animal. But the Gaia Mythos can go some way toward answering that riddle—imaginatively, anyway. Science comes and goes, mythopoesis is for all time. When Kore's sexuality fully awakens, there are momentous sexual developments for the human species as well. In the pre-Christian world, these events were observed through shamanic recall and recounted by initiates in the Mysteries of Demeter, Persephone and Kore at Eleusis. The pomegranate given to Persephone by Pluto is an image of the first human blastula.

Developments in Kore's life, paralleled by the enmeshment of the human species in biological procreation, lead into the third part of the Mythos.


Part Three of the Gaia Mythos is called The Gender Rift. This odd term refers to the curious pathology of the human species manifested in malice between the sexes, and all manner of anguish due to gender confusion. The "separation of the sexes" is a universal motif in world mythology, of course. Probably the most well-known instance of this motif can be found in Plato's Symposium, a second-hand account of a drunken dinner party. The comic poet Aristophanes explains that "the original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, which had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word 'Androgynous' is only preserved as a term of reproach."

Ancient atavistic wisdom (awkardly restated in esoteric systems such as Theosophy and Anthroposophy) taught that before male and female were anatomically defined, human beings lived in the form of a primordial androgynous creature. This is not exactly what my treatment of the Gaia Mythos says, however. It may be that there was no dual-gendered androgyne anatomical form as such, but there was a bisexual genetic template from which all gender variations have devolved, including actual, anatomically equipped andrygynes. In Gnostic myth, this bisexual template is called the Anthropos. Others names for it are Androgyne, Divine Humanity, Adam Kadmon, etc.

At the cosmological level, the division of the sexes occured because Sophia, when she went into the final downspiralling morph that turned her into the Earth, blindly tore through the molecular cloud in Orion where the Anthropos template was deposited, and sheared it into two parts, taking the female genomic unit with her. The Commentaries in Translations from the Andromedan describe this event and its consequences in considerable detail:

    Andromedans recognize that the Sidhe alone inhabited Earth for countless aeons, oblivious to the fact that they comprised but one half of bisexual species. The Sidhe did not know what they were missing, so they naturally assumed they were the sole and exclusive manifestation of the sapiens strain called “Anthropos” by Gnostic seers. To this day earthside shamans chuckle surreptitiously over the illusion of faymale primacy: “The first man was not a man, the first man was a woman...” (Cesar Calvo, The Three Halves of Ino Moxo).

    Yet the full story is anything but funny.

    That neither the Orion Men nor the Sidhe recognized they were matching components of the same species template, yet sexually distinct ab origine, turned out to be the primary cause for all the grief and confusion to unfold on earth.

Sidhe (pronounced Shee) is an ancient Celtic name for the first human residents of the Earth, who were women, faeries or fees, "faymales" who lived without men and reproduced asexually, as most microbial animals in nature still do. The telluric faeries were of various types or races, but the most populous were tree-nymphs, arboreal girls, or dryads. The Orion Men came later from the nebular cloud (M 42) where the male genome unit was still nested, having been left intact when it was sheared from the female unit.

Women and men torment each other because they do not understand that the human species is innately bisexual: not due to the splitting of an androgyne prototype, however, but to a genomic sexual division ab origine, long before either sex emerged into distinct physical embodiment. The two genders are like images projected from halves of a broken holographic plate. Other gender variants are small fragments of the same plate. Fragments of a holographic plate will reproduce the original image, but less accurately than the whole plate does. Likewise, humanity cannot see its own true image clearly. Instead, it sees a fuzzy distortion of the Anthropos, because the genomic template, analogous to the intact holographic plate, has been sheared into two halves (male and female) and several lesser fragments (gender variants).

Compulsive two-parent biological reproduction, with all the horrific excesses and enmeshments it entails, both conceals and exacerbates this weird conundrum. The war between the sexes is essentially a cosmological issue.

(Ugarit "Fertility Goddess," Mistress of the Animals,
with sheaves of wheat and flanking goats )

The Commentaries on Translations from the Andromedan recount the chthonian romance of the "O-Men" and the Sidhe. It explains how the primal cause of enmity between the human sexes arose when the drop-ins from the Orion nebula, who were avaracious hunters, exceeded the quota on animal kill set by Gaian priestesses of the Artemis cult, charged with protecting the native animals. This event is encoded in the Greek myth of Orion the Hunter, reported by Eratosthenes and other ancient sources.

So much for the Commentaries. The poetical content of Part Three comprises 52 stanzas in open sequence written by the Andromedan court poet Asuramaya, as explained in a prefatory note:

    In the Andromeda Galaxy, poets known as estuary bards of the Wending Sea preserve an alternative version of human origins on earth. One of these bards, called Asuramaya, appears on earth in a series of nine incarnations partially disclosed through the sequence. His Sanskrit name suggests one lifetime around 3100 BC in India. This setting links him to the Hindu legend of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, and to Kali Yuga, the period of cosmic timing that begins at Krishna’s death and concludes with large-scale extinction on earth after 2000 AD.

    The 52 Stanzas of Asuramaya reveal how experience on Andromeda (Galaxy M 31) mirrors life on earth. In astronomical terms, M31 and our home galaxy are parallel universes locked in mutual gravitational mass at a distance of 2.2 million light-years. Communication on M 31 is erotic and telepathic. Dreaming and dancing with his three consorts, Asuramaya translates the experience of two worlds and demonstrates their apposition. In language rich with allusion, he recites Andromedan lore concerning the staggering confusions of earthbound humanity. The sexual mythography unique to the human race, and tragically so, is gradually disclosed in the Commentaries on the Translations.

Part Four, the conclusion of the Gaia Mythos, titled In Tomorrow's Light, is set in the near future. It describes an "emergent community" formed by a small group of people who have escaped from worldwide social breakdown. The style is mystical sci-fi, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick. The name of the future community is Peredur (a variant of the medieval Welsh Peredur, Parsifal). This brief futuristic tale relates how the members of Peredur live communally and communicate with Gaia-Sophia. It previews the kind of bioregional society humans could create were they to participate mystically and morally in Sophia's "correction."

On community, mythopoesis and the human role in Gaia's correction, see The Promise of a Lonely Planet, One, Two, and Three.


* * * * *

The myth of Sophia's Fall was taught for centuries in the Pagan Mysteries and recounted in Gnostic writings that survive in fragmentary form. It is distinct from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic story of the Fall (the Genesis narrative), and, in fact, reverses the values and beliefs encoded in that well-known scenario. It leapfrogs over the current scientific myth of planetary creation and evolution. The Gaia Mythos is a close reconstruction of sacred teachings lost to humanity for almost two thousand years.

No ay que juzcar los escritores por sus fracasos si por la brillentez de sus errores en la realization de lo imposible.

Do not judge writers for their failures but for the brilliance of their errors in the realization of the impossible. - Graffiti on the sea wall, Marbella, Spain, March 17, 2004

jll: Andalucia Nov 25, 2005

 

 

 

 

 


Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2017 by John Lash.