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GAEA

Real Name: Gaea (also spelled Gaia)

Occupation: Mother-Earth

Legal Status: Inapplicable

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Gaea’s existence except as a figure of mythological origin.

Aliases: Aakuluujjusi (Inuit name), Aditi (Hindu), Akka (Finnish), Ala (Yoruba), Ammavaru (Vedic), Citlalicue (Olmec), Coatlique (Aztec name), Danu (Celtic name), Domnu (Fomorian), Eingana (Australian), Eithinoha (Iroquois), Erce (Russian), Ge (alternate spelling), Great Mother, Hannahanna (Hittite name), Hou-Tou (Chinese Name), Jord (Norse), Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Nana (Dahomey), Neith (Egyptian name), Nertha (German), Ninhursag (Sumerian name), Nokomis (Algonquin), Pachamama (Incan), Prakriti (Brahmanic), Rangi (Oceanic), Tellus, Terra, (Greek), Tiamat (Mesopotamian, possibly), Vaat (Siberian/Mongolian), Yo (Japanese),

Place of Birth: Unknown, perhaps Inapplicable

Martial Status: Single

Known Relatives: Atum (son by the Demiurge), The Cyclopes, The Gods of Earth, The Hecatocheiroi, The Titans , The Furies , The Giants, et al (sons and daughters/progeny by Ouranus), Thor (son by Odin), Frey (son by Njord), Freia (daughter by Njord), Ninmu (daughter by Ea), Quetzalcoatl , Xolotl (sons by Mixcoatl), Huitzilopochtli , The Centozochotzin (sons by Camaxtli), Coyoxauhqui (daughter by Camaxtli), Dagda, Leir, Gwydion (sons by Belenus/Elathan), Arianrhod , Penardun (daughters by Belenus/Elathan), Erichthonius (son by Hephaestus, alias Cecrops, deceased), Antaeus (son by Poseidon, deceased), Charybdis (daughter by Poseidon, deceased)

Group Affiliation: The Elder Gods, The Gods Of Earth, The Council Of Legends, ally of Brother Nature, Clea, The Defenders, Doctor Strange and Humus Sapien

Base of Operations: Mobile on Earth

First Appearance: Doctor Strange I #6

Origin: Thor Annual 10

History: Gaea is one of the Elder Gods who first materialized on Earth shortly before other life appeared. She and her brother Chthon were among those Elder Gods who inhabited the land masses of the Earth (as opposed to the sea or skies), and may have had something to do with forming certain geological patterns. Although Gaea was humanoid in form, most of the Elder Gods were not. Except for Gaea, the Elder Gods eventually degenerated into demons; in other words, these Elder Gods became parasitic entities, needing to feed on the life energies of other beings in order to survive. Since humankind had not yet been born, these Elder Gods began preying on each other.

Fearing that the demons’ battles would destroy the newly evolving life on Earth, Gaea called upon the Demiurge, the sentient life force of Earth’s biosphere, and gave birth to the first of the next generation of gods, Atum, who was dedicated to the consumption and elimination of the evil, which the evil gods had wrought in their degeneration into demons. Atum killed virtually all the Elder Gods, although some, like Chthon and Set, escaped into other dimensional worlds.

Gaea was the only Elder God permitted by the second generation of gods to exist. She infused her godly life essence into all living beings on Earth. Each living being born on Earth is infused with a portion of her life essence. It is for this reason that Gaea has been known throughout human history as the patron goddess of all living things on Earth. She is the embodiment of the spirit of life, growth, harvest and renewal on the planet.

Under innumerable names Gaea has become a member of every pantheon of gods worshipped by polytheistic religions throughout human history. Her role in these pantheons has always been that of the maternal goddess of Earth. In at least some cases, Gaea is actually the parent to races of gods who were worshipped on Earth, and to particular gods in specific pantheons as well as certain individuals. Her mates in these respective pantheons seemed to be incarnations or forms of Demiurge, who were often overthrown or conquered by members of her children. In some of these battles, Gaea may have taken a form in which she could confront her displeased children. One of the earliest forms of this repeating cycle was recorded in Ancient Sumerian cuneiforms as the first gods of the Mesopotamian tribes warred with the ancient sea-goddess Tiamat and allegedly slew her. Atum, in his form as ancestor of the Ogdoad, ancestors of the later Egyptian gods, was often attacked by the serpent Apophis, but this may be a form of Set, whose worshippers were later stolen by the later Egyptian god Seth. The Coati, future gods of the later Aztec and Mayan Empires, allegedly slew Gaea in the form of the serpent, Cipactli, but whether this truly was Gaea, or if these are all different versions of one account is unrevealed. If anything, these accounts confirm Gaea as the ancestor of the later gods of earth.

According to ancient Greek Myth, Gaea gave birth to Ouranus, the sky-god, with whom she then mated and then gave birth to the Titans, the first generation of Olympian Gods. Two of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea, were parents of Zeus among another generation of gods. Ouranus, however, was displeased with his other children by Gaea, the Cyclops and the Hecatocheiroi, and imprisoned them in Tartarus.

In Mesopotamian Myth, Gaea, in her role as Ninhursag, was approached as a mate by Ea, the Mesopotamian sea-god, and gave birth to Ninsar, the plant-goddess. Ea seduced their daughter when she reached adulthood and she gave birth to the plant-goddess Ninhurra. He seduced Ninhurra as she reached adulthood and she gave birth to Uttu, another plant-goddess. Gaea cursed Ea with eight different diseases for his behavior and he became a living corpse as a result unable to die due to his godhood. The Mesopotamian gods prevailed on Gaea to remove her curse, but she would not do it unless he surrendered their daughters unto her. Ea recanted his earlier deeds as his daughters used their knowledge of plants to cure him and then departed his presence under Gaea’s protection. 

However, tired of the exile of her other children in Tartarus, Gaea petitioned one of the Titans to oppose Ouranus and free their siblings from the underworld. Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, however, stepped forth and took a scythe and slew Ouranus, overthrowing him as Ruler of Olympus. Failing to live up to his promise to free his imprisoned brethren, Gaea warned Cronus that he would have a child that would overthrow him. Cronus, meanwhile, cast all his children into Tartarus as they were born (Later myths claimed he swallowed them). Gaea helped to conceal the birth of his son Zeus from him (and possibly that of Zeus’s brother, Poseidon) and had Zeus protected and sheltered by other goddesses (possibly the daughters of Ea) to conceal him from Cronus. When he grew to adult age, Zeus stormed Tartarus and freed his siblings, the Cyclops and the Hecatocheiroi. They helped him to over throw Cronus and the Titans from Olympus as Zeus imprisoned the Titans in the underworld.

Several generations later, Gaea realized she was not happy with the Titans being imprisoned in Tartarus either and conceived Typhon and the Giants to oust Zeus from Olympus. After Zeus defeated Typhon, Gaea sent the Giants to overthrow Zeus. Themis, a Titaness, predicted that neither god nor mortal could kill the Giants. Zeus called upon his son, Hercules, who was not completely mortal or completely immortal, to fight by his side against the Giants and slay them from invading Olympus.

Gaea also served roles of a peaceful and beneficent nature as well. In her role as Nokomis, the Native American earth mother, she received the young god Manabozho after he was cast out from heaven through the mischief of his brother, Coyote, the trickster-god. She raised and protected him on Earth and as an adult, Manabozho returned to heaven to replace his grandfather as ruler of the Anasazi Gods. Worshipped as the mother-goddess Danu by the ancient Celts and Gaels of Western Europe, Gaea conceived and gave birth to the Tuatha da Danaan (Children of Danu) to serve as eternal enemies of the Fomorians. Foremost among them was The Dagda, who became Ruler of the Celtic Gods, and Leir, god of sea and storm. Desiring a son to protect earth from dangers he foresaw, Odin, Ruler of the Asgardian Gods, approached Gaea in her form of Jord, the Norse Mother-Earth, to produce a son who would combine the power of Asgard and the power of Earth with himself. That son was Thor, who, however, was raised by Odin’s wife Frigga, and did not learn his true mother’s identity until years later.

On the arrival of the Third Host of the Celestials upon Earth, the leaders of Earth’s pantheons of Earth learned that these extraordinarily powerful extraterrestrial beings intended to return to earth centuries later to judge its inhabitants. If the Celestials judged against humanity at that time, they would destroy Earth. Over the following centuries, while the leading male gods of the pantheons planned means of defense against the Celestials, the leading goddesses sought out members of the human race who had the highest genetic potential. Twelve such humans were selected and evolved by the goddesses into godlike beings themselves, who became known as the Young Gods. Gaea presented these twelve Young Gods to the Fourth Host of the Celestials as examples of the human race at its finest. As a result, the Celestials judged in humanity’s favor and departed Earth, taking the Young Gods with them. This was perhaps Gaea’s greatest achievement in her role as protectress of all life on Earth.

Gaea is no longer worshipped or thought to be real in the number of monotheistic cultures of modern day Earth; however, she is frequently invoked by members of the Wiccan religion (white witches). Several quite proficient modern day witches include Sara Bailey of Los Angeles, California, The Charmed Ones Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Paige Halliwell of San Francisco, California and the now rehabilitated Angelique Bouchard-Collins of Collinsport, Maine. Certain members of the Wiccan race, an evolutionary offshoot of humanity with extraordinary psychic skills, such as Samantha Stephens and Sabrina Spellman, have also at times summoned her to add power upon their spells without taxing upon their abilities. In fact, whether people believe Gaea to be real or not, when they refer to Mother Nature or Mother Earth, they are speaking of Gaea. As Mother Nature, Gaea is a member of the Council of Legends, a loose group of spirits represented by modern holidays along with Cupid , as the spirit of Valentine's Day, the spirit of St. Nicholas, Ouranus as "Father Time" and others.

Other beings Gaea has granted power include the ancient Sisters of Danu to the modern Ardina, Brother Nature, Clea, Dr. Strange, the Neuri, Prometheus and Topaz. She has even directed opposition from Dormammu when he held her captive in the center of the Earth and the mad Deviant Maelstrom. The sorceress Circe (not to be confused with the goddess Circe) once entrapped her to steal energies from the gods of Earth, but Gaea called upon Wonder Woman to save her. Her pain resulting from the harm humanity had done to Earth nearly drove the mutant Humus Sapien to take the lives of all of mankind. She was also captured by the extra dimensional scientist Yandroth and forced to place a curse on the original Defenders, compelling them to gather to oppose threats to Earth. She continued to perpetuate this curse herself for a time, pleased to even have unwilling protectors, but she dissolved it after the Defenders became corrupt due to Yandroth’s influence. She informed Nighthawk that he would have the power to summon the Defenders in the future should the need arise.

Height/Weight/Eyes/Hair: Varied

Unusual Physical Features: Gaea can appear in humanoid form with varying characteristics, generally with an ethnicity match to those of whoever sees her.  

Strength Level: Gaea possesses Class 100 level strength to lift (press) well over a hundred tons but she rarely engages in physical activities.

Known Superhuman Powers: Gaea possesses great mystical powers of an undefined nature. She can draw on the spiritual energies of all of Earth’s living beings since all of these beings share part of her life essence. She can command the forces of nature on Earth, such as storms and volcanic activity. Although Gaea’s powers may seem similar to many of those of the living planet, Ego, Gaea and Ego are actually two very different kinds of beings. Ego is a planet that has acquired sentience, whereas Gaea is a goddess who has infused her life essence into the living beings of her planet. Gaea is known to have great powers to heal injured living beings and to cause living beings to grow. She has considerable telekinetic power and can even levitate Thor’s hammer, which few beings can lift through non-mechanical means. Gaea can also bestow mystical power upon sorcerers and mystics who know how to call upon her for it, including those with malevolent intent, such as Morgan le Fay.

Gaea does have a humanoid form, but she generally manifests herself in whatever humanoid form she chooses. Usually, she appears as a young woman with long black hair and blue eyes, but as Jord, she appeared as a young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. It has been suggested that she always appears in the form of however image she was worshipped as by whatever race on earth. So if she appeared before a ethnically diverse group, she would appear in the form of a ethnic image connected to that person such as African to a person of African descent and Asian to a person of Asian descent even simultaneously. In any of her humanoid forms, it is likely she has superhuman strength, stamina, vitality, enchanted youth and longevity and resistance to conventional injury and terrestrial disease.

Note: Sara Bailey of Los Angeles, California (The Craft, 1996), Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Paige Halliwell of San Francisco, California (Charmed TV Series, 1998 – present), Angelique Bouchard-Collins of Collinsport, Maine (Dark Shadows TV Series, 1965-1972), Samantha Stephens (Bewitched, 1964-1972) and Sabrina Spellman (Sabrina The Teenage Witch, 1996-2003).

Gaea was played by Aisha Tyler in "The Santa Clause," and by Jenica Bergere on an episode of "The Wizards Of Waverly Place."

Clarifications:  Gaea is not to be confused with:

 

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