HYMN TO GAIA
(Ancient Greek Homeric Hymn)
Mother of all, shall I sing:
The oldest one, firm foundation of all the world.
All things that move over the face of the earth,
All things that move through the sea, and all that fly:
All these are fed and nourished from your store;
With the pains of child-birth you bring forth all life,
From you all children come forth,
O blessed one, Mother Earth,
The giver of life and the taker of life away:
Happy are those you honor:
Your fertile earth yields up riches to satisfy all their needs;
Their cities and their homes are filled with good things;
Well-ordered lives of men and women you bless:
It is you who bless, it is you who nourish,
Sacred spirit, Mother Earth.
(English translation © Alec Roth)
I painted GAIA, the painting above, when I was in graduate school, in 1987. Although I didn't know it, I was accessing not only my deeply felt sense of the Gaia Hypothesis, but also very ancient archetypes of the Triple Goddess and the great Mother Goddess Asherah, often represented as a tree. I worked so hard on that painting! It was only exhibited once, and like all very large paintings (it was lifesize), it was destroyed in a few years (which is invariably true unless the artist was fortunate enough to either become famous, or to have loving relatives who cherished his or her art, neither of which was true for me).........and all I have left is a photograph. Still, I love this painting, and am sometimes saddened that I did not respect myself and my visions enough to try to preserve it. For me at least, self-worth and identity as an artist has been a long and slow growth.
I recently made a collage with this photograph and the beautiful, ancient Song of Praise to Mother Earth by Homer. This is the kind of worship humanity would do well to reinstate in today's world. The reason I called the piece, which I made for a commemorative Day of the Dead show, 'REQUIEM FOR GAIA" is because I feel the Three Aspects of the Goddess look forth, with the barren tree, in sorrow and accusation at a world that does not honor them, does not honor what is being lost, and what is lost.
What I wanted to say with this painting so long ago I still want to say. SHE wants to say. Blessed be Her name.