There are many stories of creation. Each has a different message, each helps shape our values and behaviors in different ways. Some say the Cosmos was birthed by the Divine Mother, others say a supreme god spoke matter into existence, and most recently today’s Sages tell us our universe burst into being when a star in a four-dimensional universe collapsed into a black hole. Whatever the cause, we believe that about 14 billion years ago, an unfathomably hot and dense point of spacetime ripped through the void, tearing it apart with gasses that expanded 100 trillion trillion times in less than the blink of an eye.
Imagine it with me if you can. The fiery unfolding cloud of neutrons and electrons grew and spread in scalding waves in every direction. A small part collapsed in on itself and the gasses at the center of the collapse grew denser and denser, until they too collapsed in a stellar explosion that was the first supernova. Within the heart of this supernova, the elements were created, hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, silicon, all the elements up to iron were created in that blazing heat.
There were more collapses and more implosions. The nuclear fusion in the collapsing novas spun the gasses into nebulas and then whirled the nebulas still faster. Within one, atoms began to collide, slowly at first, then with incredible speed until the atoms’ energy was turned into heat. The force unleashed flattened the nebula into a disc. Its center grew far hotter than its outer edge. Time passed and, the temperature and pressure at the disk’s core became so huge that the hydrogen there began to fuse, and our fiery sun was born.
The flattened cloud of gas and dust left over from the Sun’s formation became our solar system. Like the other planets, our Earth began as grains of stardust in orbit around the Sun. As the grains of dust spun, they collided together and began to stick – first as a clump, but quickly growing larger as clumps smashed into each other. It was a time of violent collisions spinning around the sun, the growing rocks tugging at each other’s orbits until they too crashed together, blasting craters, carving moons. And thus, 4 ½ billion years ago, our planet was formed. At first, a sea of fiery magma covered its iron core. As the outer layer cooled and hardened, it had a blanketing effect, trapping the incredible heat underneath.
On the freezing edges of the solar systems, clumps of iron and rock drew elements together and ice formed around and through them, creating small planetoids. Caught in the gravitational pull of the sun, they careened inward, some of them disintegrating back into dust and elements, others hurling toward the sun, crashing into whatever blocked their path. Over millennia, and with the powerful fire of the sun, the ice melted where the rock had buried itself in the planet’s crust, and there was water on Earth.
It was a violent planet, that early Earth, with volcanoes erupting flaming lava, lightning flashes splitting the sky, tectonic plates crashing, mountains thrusting upwards, streaming rains washing down into toxic seas. But there was magic in that terrible beauty, for, in one particular spot in that ancient ocean, lightning hit where nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen whirled in watery dance. The energy in that bolt fused them together and amino acid was created, the building blocks of DNA. It wasn’t too long, speaking in cosmic time, that blue-green algae appeared in the ocean. And that is when Gaia was born.
For as it grew, the algae took energy from the sun and, through the magic of photosynthesis, transformed both the waters in which it swirled and the air above it. In so doing, the algae changed the very conditions that first allowed it to appear! Never again would that moment be possible. The air grew richer in oxygen. Carbon in the algae that had lived its short life sank to the ocean’s depths. And other small life forms began to appear in the newly enriched environment. At a certain moment in time, one small form left its watery home and crawled up onto the rocky shore.
You’ve probably learned much of the rest at school about how more and different life forms left the seas for land, some adapting and changing, others returning to the sea and evolving there. Some failed to adapt to the changing environment and disappeared, never to return. But what they forget to tell us is that every single new form that survived was connected in a blue–green web. Each new form of life was only possible because the previous ones had enriched and changed the environment in which they first appeared. Sometimes the change was only in the smallest of ways, sometimes the change was monumental. Imagine it if you can. After others followed the first tiny life on that rock and expired, their bodies decomposed, and a small place was created where still other life could take root.
The forms grew bigger and more diverse, and still each one contributed to the greater whole that was Gaia coming into being. Everything that lived and died was dependent on other life forms to create and sustain an environment where its own life was possible. Everything was interconnected. Everything was interdependent.
Wind and waves carried spores and seeds to the newly developing land and the planet grew green. Even newer life forms emerged, forms with feathers and fins, scale and skin. They learned to build nests and dig burrows, to nurture the very young and to explore their small part of the land. They learned to travel in flocks and families with the changing seasons, and Gaia continued to grow. Eons passed and then, one day, our ancestor first stood erect and looked out across the savannah. Her children survived because of the trees that gave them air they could breathe, animals and plants that gave them fiber and fur to cover their bodies, flesh to feed themselves, and wood, bone, and sinew to fashion their early tools. We call her our ancestor, but in the truest sense, our lineage is far older than that ancient mother. All things that have ever lived trace their heritage back to the blue-green algae. All life is interconnected in the web, in the interdependent community of all beings that is Gaia.
I never learned this in school. Did you?
Do you wonder why our understanding of interconnection is appearing just now in human history? Is it a coincidence that this is happening when the planet is in such peril? Could there be a reason, an intent behind all this?
Some sages believe that Gaia has recently developed a consciousness that allows for self-awareness and reflection, a consciousness more vast and different from any that has ever existed, unique to this planet, unique to this time. Imagine with me a web that links you to the person sitting next to you. Do you see it? Now see one that links you to every person in this room, to every person in every room everywhere, to every tree and single blade of grass, to every butterfly and whale, to every newborn fawn and hungry wolf, a web that links you to every single living thing. See the thin strands of blue/green light pulsing with life, pulsing with energy. Do you see them? Now see consciousness flowing through that pulsing web in wave after wave after wave.
Have you ever wondered why you were born now and not 100 or 200 years ago? Could you have been called into being now for a purpose? Are you part of Gaia reflecting upon herself? You carry the DNA of the planet in your genes.
Are you Gaia walking?