GAIA - YAIA - ΓΑΙΑ
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Yaia - (Gaia or Earth, Γαῖα. Pronounced: YAI-ah, the "AI" like the a in say.) Yaia is one of the most important deities of all Ællinismόs (Hellenismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, for, in addition to many other awesome qualities, she is the first in the progression of deity arising from Mystic Earth, known as the Three Vasíleiai (Basileiai or Queens; βασίλειαι, singular is βασίλεια)

According to the Orphic Rhapsodic TheogonyYaia is the daughter of Nyx (Night, Νύξ) [1]. She is paired with Ouranós (Uranus, Οὐρανός), and this is called the first marriage. [2]


The offspring of Yaia

Yaia bore the following children to Ouranós: the three Kýklohpæs (Cyclopes, Κύκλωπες) and the three giant Hundred-Handers (Hecatoncheires, Ἑκατόγχειρες), but these offspring, according to the mythology, were hated by their father who cast them into the bowels of the earth [3].

When Ouranós imprisoned her sons, Yaia was greatly distressed, so she then gave birth to the great Titánæs (Titans, Τιτᾶνες) [4], the powers of the natural world.

The seven Titanic daughters are
 [5]:

Rǽa (Rhea, Ῥέα)
Tithýs (Tethys, Τηθύς, the Sea)
Phívi (Phoibe, Φοίβη)
Theia (Θεία
Thǽmis (Themis, Θέμις)
Mnimosýni (Mnemosyne, Μνημοσύνη)
Dióhni (Dione, Διώνη)

The seven Titanic sons are [5]:

Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος)
Okæanós (Oceanus, Ὠκεανός
Kíos (Coeus, Κοῖος
Ypæríohn (Hyperion, Ὑπερίων)
Iapætós (Iapetus, Ἰαπετός)
Kreios (Crius, Κρεῖος
Promithéfs (Prometheus, Προμηθεύς)

Yaia and the Rise of Krónos

Because Ouranós had suppressed the Kýklohpæs and the Hundred-Handers, Yaia pleaded with her Titanic children to conspire against their father. This they all agreed to with the exception of Okæanós [6]. As the plot was developing, the Goddess Nyx, the Nurse of the Gods [8], cultivated Krónos to become their leader [7]Yaia then gave Krónos the Adámos Dræpáni (Ἀδάμας Δρεπάνη), the Adamantine Sickle [9]When Ouranós came to her bed to lie with her, the mighty Titánæs overwhelmed and bound him after which Krónos cut off his genitals with the Adámos Dræpáni and cast them into the sea. From the foam which arose in the sea beautiful Heavenly Aphrodíti (Ουρανíα Ἀφροδίτη) was born, the mother of Armonía (Harmonia, Ἁρμονία), and as she was born, Zílos (Zelus, Ζῆλος) and Apáti (Apate, Ἀπάτη) took her into their care [127].


Yaia and the Three Vasíleiai

Yaia is the first in the progression of personal deities
[10] who embody the mystic Earth. These three deities are known as the Three Vasíleiai (Basileiai; βασίλειαι, plural of βασίλεια), the Three Queens. The Three Vasíleiai are Yaia, Rǽa, and Íra. Yaia is, therefore, a pre-form of Rǽa, who is a pre-form of Íra. The Three Queens are paired with the first three personal deities of the Six Kings; the Six Kings are the progression of the mystic Water

The Three Vasíleiai, along with their Divine Consorts, are:

Yaia (Gaia, Γαῖα) and Ouranós (Uranus, Οὐρανός)
Rǽa (Rhea, Ῥέαand Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος)
Íra (Hera, Ήραand Zefs (Ζεύς)


Terminology

The word Yaia has multiple meanings and it is important to understand the difference between them. The various meanings are all related to each other, but there is a difference in how they are used.

Yaia is the Orphic or Mystic Earth, one of the two primordial substances; the other being Ýdohr (Hydor, Ὕδωρ), Water.

Yaia can also refer to the planet Earth, or the Goddess of the planet Earth.

Yaia is the Goddess Earth, the first of the Three Vasíleiai, the Three Queens, personal deities who embody the characteristics of the mystic Earth and are its greatest progression.

Yaia and Yi are synonyms of each other and these two names are used interchangeably.

The Greeks do not say "Gaia" or "Ge." The Greeks use the Reuchlinian pronunciation of ancient Greek where Γ, γ (Gámma), when found before αι or η, is pronounced like the y in yes.



The Orphic Hymn to Yaia

26. Yi [Ge or Earth, Γῆ]
The Fumigation from every kind of Seed, except Beans and Aromatics.


O Goddess, Earth, of Gods and men the source,
Endu'd with fertile, all destroying force;
All-parent, bounding, whose prolific pow'rs,
Produce a store of beauteous fruits and flow'rs,
All-various maid, th' eternal world's strong base
Immortal, blessed, crown'd with ev'ry grace;
From whose wide womb, as from an endless root,
Fruits, many-form'd, mature and grateful shoot.
Deep bosom'd, blessed, pleas'd with grassy plains,
Sweet to the smell, and with prolific rains.
All flow'ry dæmon, centre of the world,
Around thy orb, the beauteous stars are hurl'd
With rapid whirl, eternal and divine,
Whose frames with matchless skill and wisdom shine.
Come, blessed Goddess, listen to my pray'r,
And make increase of fruits thy constant care;
With fertile Seasons in thy train, draw near,
And with propitious mind thy suppliant hear.

26. Γῆς, θυμίαμα πᾶν σπέρμα πλὴν κυάμων καὶ ἀρωμάτων.

Γαῖα θεά, μῆτερ μακάρων θνητῶν τ' ἀνθρώπων,
πάντροφε, πανδώτειρα, τελεσφόρε, παντολέτειρα,
αὐξιθαλής, φερέκαρπε, καλαῖς ὥραισι βρύουσα,
ἕδρανον ἀθανάτου κόσμου, πολυποίκιλε κούρη,
ἣ λοχίαις ὠδῖσι κύεις καρπὸν πολυειδῆ,
ἀιδία, πολύσεπτε, βαθύστερν', ὀλβιόμοιρε,
ἡδυπνόοις χαίρουσα χλόαις πολυάνθεσι δαῖμον,
ὀμβροχαρής, περὶ ἣν κόσμος πολυδαίδαλος ἄστρων
εἱλεῖται φύσει ἀενάωι καὶ ῥεύμασι δεινοῖς.
ἀλλά, μάκαιρα θεά, καρποὺς αὔξοις πολυγηθεῖς
εὐμενὲς ἦτορ ἔχουσα, σὺν ὀλβίοισιν ἐν ὥραις.


NOTES:

[1] Yaia and Ouranós are born from Nyx according to Orphic fragment 109. (89) σχόλιον Ἑρμείου επί Φαίδρου Πλάτωνος 247d (154, 23 Couvr.):

ἣ δὲ πάλιν Γαῖάν τε καὶ Οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔτικτε·
δεῖξέν τ' ἐξ ἀφανῶν φανεροὺς οἵ τ' εἰσὶ γενέθλην.

"In turn, she (Νύξ) gave birth to Yaia (Γαῖα) and vast Ouranos;
making manifest both the unseen and the visible that come from that generation." (trans. by the author)
 

Another view can be found in Orphic fragment 57. (39) Πρεσβεία περί των Χριστιανών Ἀθηναγόρου 18 p. 20, 12 Schw.:

Ἦν γὰρ ὕδωρ ἀρχὴ κατ´ αὐτὸν τοῖς ὅλοις, ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ ὕδατος ἰλὺς κατέστη, ἐκ δὲ ἑκατέρων ἐγεννήθη ζῷον δράκων προσπεφυκυῖαν ἔχων κεφαλὴν λέοντος, διὰ μέσου δὲ αὐτῶν θεοῦ πρόσωπον, ὄνομα Ἡρακλῆς καὶ Χρόνος. Οὗτος ὁ Ἡρακλῆς ἐγέννησεν ὑπερμέγεθες ᾠόν, ὃ συμπληρούμενον ὑπὸ βίας τοῦ γεγεννηκότος ἐκ παρατριβῆς εἰς δύο ἐρράγη. τὸ μὲν οὖν κατὰ κορυφὴν αὐτοῦ Οὐρανὸς εἶναι ἐτελέσθη, τὸ δὲ κάτω ἐνεχθὲν Γῆ· προῆλθε δὲ καὶ θεὸς γη δισώματος...

For, according to him (Ὀρφεύς), water was the beginning of all things, and from water mud was formed, and from both was produced an animal, a dragon with the head of a lion growing to it, and between the two heads there was the face of a God, named Heracles and Kronos. This Heracles generated an egg of enormous size, which, on becoming full, was, by the powerful friction of its generator, burst into two, the part at the top receiving the form of heaven (οὐρανός), and the lower part that of earth (γῆ). The Goddess Gê; moreover, came forth with a body... (trans. B. P. Pratten, 1885. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2.)

But according to Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 116, no parent of Yaia is mentioned, only that she arose second after Kháos (Chaos, Χάος).

[2] Orphic frag. 112. (91) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 30e (III 176 10 Diehl): 


καὶ εἰώθασι γάμον οἱ θεολόγοι προσαγορεύειν· οἰκεῖος γὰρ καὶ ὁ γάμος τῆι τάξει ταύτηι, καθά φησιν ὁ θεολόγος· πρώτην γὰρ νύμφην ἀποκαλεῖ τὴν Γῦν καὶ πρώτιστον γάμον τῦν ἕνωσιν αὐτῆς τὴν πρὸς τὸν Οὐρανον· οὐ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα ἡνωμένοις ὁ γάμος, διὸ Φάνητος οὐκ ἔστι γάμος καὶ Νυκτός, ἀλλήλοις νοητῶς, ἀλλ' ἐν τοῖς μετα τῦς ἑνώσεως καὶ τὸ διηιρημένον τῶν δυνάμεων καὶ τῶν ἐνεργειῶν ἐπιδεικνυμένοις.

"And this union theologists are accustomed to call marriage. For marriage, as the theologist Orpheus says, is appropriate to this order. For he calls Earth (Γαῖα) the first Nymph (ed. woman), and the union of her with Heaven (Οὐρανός) the first marriage; since there is no marriage in the divinities that are in the most eminent degree united. Hence there is no marriage between Phanes and Night..." (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820.)

[3] Orphic fragment 121. (97) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 40e (III 185, 20 Diehl):

μᾶλλον δὲ πάντον οὐρανίων γενῶν τὰ μὲν μένει μόνον ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς, ὥσπερ αἱ δύο πρῶται τριάδες --- ὡς γὰρ ἐνόησε, φησίν [sc. ὁ θεολόγος], αὐτοὺς ὁ Οὐρανὸς

ἀμείλχον ἦτορ ἔχοντας
καὶ φύσιν ἐκνομίην ᵕᵕ-ᵕᵕ-ᵕᵕ-ᵕ
ῥῖψε βαθὺν γαιης Τάρταρον.

"For (says Orpheus) as soon as Heaven understood that they had an implacable heart and a lawless nature, he hurled them into Tartarus, the profundity of Earth.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1824.)

[4] Orphic fragment 57. (39) Πρεσβεία περί των Χριστιανών Ἀθηναγόρου 18 p. 20, 12 Schw.: 

Οὐρανὸς δὲ Γῇ μιχθεὶς γεννᾷ θηλείας μὲν Κλωθώ, Λάχεσιν, Ἄτροπον, ἄνδρας δὲ Ἑκατόγχειρας Κόττον, Γύγην, Βριάρεων καὶ Κύκλωπας, Βρόντην καὶ Στερόπην καὶ Ἄργην· οὓς καὶ δήσας κατεταρτάρωσεν, ἐκπεσεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν παίδων τῆς ἀρχῆς μαθών. Διὸ καὶ ὀργισθεῖσα ἡ Γῆ τοὺς Τιτᾶνας ἐγέννησεν·

Κούρους δ´ Οὐρανίωνας ἐγείνατο πότνια Γαῖα,
οὓς δὴ καὶ Τιτῆνας ἐπίκλησιν καλέουσιν,
οὕνεκα τισάσθην μέγαν Οὐρανὸν
ἀστερόεντα.

...and Ouranos, by his union with Gê, begot females, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos; and males, the hundred-handed Cottys, Gyges, Briareus, and the Cyclopes Brontes, and Steropes, and Argos, whom also he bound and hurled down to Tartarus, having learned that he was to be ejected from his government by his children; whereupon Gê, being enraged, brought forth the Titans.

The godlike Gaia bore to Ouranos
Sons who are by the name of Titans known,
Because they vengeance took on Ouranos
Majestic, glitt'ring with his starry crown.

(trans. B. P. Pratten, 1885. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2.)

[5] Orphic fragment 114. (95) 
σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 40e (III 184, 1 Diehl):

δὀξειε γὰρ ἂν (sc. ὁ Πλάτων) τοῦτο λέγειν οὐχ ἑπομένως ταῖς (Ὀρφικαῖς) ἀρκαῖς· ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἀδελφοί λέγοται τούτων, ἀλλ' οὐ γεννήτορες· τίκτει γὰρ ἡ Γῆ λαθοῦσα τὸν Οὐρανόν, ὥς φυσιν ὁ θεολόγος·

ἑπτὰ μὲν εὐειδεῖς κούρας (ἑλικώπιδας, ἁγνάς,)
ἑπτὰ δὲ παῖδας ἄνακτας (ἐγείνατο λαχνήεντας)·
θυγατέρας μὲν (τίκτε?) Θέμιν καὶ ἐΰφρονα Τηθὺν
Μνημοσύνην τε βαθυπλόκαμον Θείαν τε μάκαιραν,
ἠδὲ Διώνην τίκτεν ἀριπρεπὲς εἶδος ἔχουσαν
Φοίβην τε Ῥείην τε, Διὸς γενέτειραν ἄνακτος·

παῖδας δὲ ἄλλους τοσούτους·

Κοῖόν τε Κρῖόν τε μέγαν Φόρκυν τε κραταιὸν
καὶ Κρόνον Ὠκεανόν θ' Ὑπερίονά τ' Ἰαπετόν τε.

(Yaia begot:) “Indeed seven comely daughters (with rolling eyes, holy)
Daughters indeed (begotten) Thǽmis (Θέμις) and cheerful Tithýs (Τηθύς)
Both thick-haired Mnimosýni (Μνημοσύνη) and happy Theia (Φεία),
And she begot Dióhni (Διώνη) possessed of splendid form,
And Phívi (Φοίβη) and Rhǽa (Ῥέα), the mother of Zefs (Ζεὺς) the king.

Now the other children were as many,

Kíos (Κοῖος) and Kreios (Κρεῖος) and mighty Phórkys (Φόρκυς
And Krónos (Κρόνος), Okæanós (Ὠκεανός), both Ypæríohn (Ὑπερίων
and Iapætós (Ἰαπετός).” (trans. by the author)

This quotation lists Phórkys as the seventh Titan, but the tradition given to this author accepts Promithéfs in this place.

[6] Orphic fragment 135. (100) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 40e (III 185, 28 Diehl):

ἔνθ' αὖτ' Ὠκεανὸς μὲν ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἔμιμνεν
ὁρμαίνων, ποτέρωσε νόον τράποι, ἢ πατέρα ὃν |
γυ(ι)ώσηι τε βίης καὶ ἀτάςθαλα λωβήσαιτο
σὺν Κρόνωι ἤδ' ἄλλοισιν ἀδελφοῖς, οἳ πεπίθοντο
μητρὶ φίληι, ἢ τούς γε λιπὼν μένοι ἔνδον ἕκηλος.
πολλά δὲ πορφύρων μένεν ἥμενος ἐν μεγάροισι,
σκυζόμενος ἧι μητρί, κασιγνήτοισι δὲ μᾶλλον.

“Accordingly Okæanós (Ὠκεανὸς) remained in his palace,
Deliberating, to which course his mind should incline, to be with his father,
Or should he wound his father’s might in wicked dishonor,
With Krónos and his other brothers, who being persuaded
By their beloved mother, or should he quit them and stay where he is at peace.
Then he brooded long and remained idle in his palace,
For he was angry with his mother, yet more with his brothers."
(trans. by the author)

[7] Orphic fragment 129. (99) ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμασκίου 67 (I 146, 17 Rue.):

ἐκ ράντων δὲ Κρόνον Νὺξ ἔτρεφεν ἠδ' ἀτίταλλεν.

"But of them all, Nyx nursed and cared for Krónos." (trans. by the author)

[8] Orphic frag. 106. (99) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος 404b (p. 92, 9 Pasqu.):

θεῶν γὰρ τροφὸς ἀμβροσίη Νὺξ λέγεται

For the nurse of the Gods is said to be amvrosial (ambrosial) Nyx (trans. by the author)

[9] The English word adamantine comes from the ancient Greek ἀδάμας, an adjective meaning "unconquerable." Anything which was ἀδάμας was extremely hard or unbreakable, like diamonds or steel.

[10] Personal deities are conscious entities. Impersonal deities are more like divine powers which do not have consciousness.


The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek        

 

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