As far as I can remember from my studies in biology (which were a long time ago now!), all living things grow and reproduce.
So here’s the question: if the earth is alive – which is what I, and many many Pagans, believe – does she grow?
The possibility of the earth as a living organism was really first tackled from a scientific point of view by James Lovelock, with his Gaia Hypothesis.
The Gaia hypothesis proposed that:
- that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis.
In short, that the earth is one, self-managing, self-regulating organism.
But then there are the issues of reproducing and growing – two things that most, if not all, living things do.
The reproducing earth
How would the earth reproduce?
Maybe – and I’m just musing here, as I’m no scientist – we’re doing that for the earth, with our exploration of space and other planets.
We can’t keep things absolutely sterile, no matter how hard we try. The Mars Rover will certainly have transferred microbes to the Martian surface: even if we humans never colonise the planet ourselves, its possible that our germs might do it for us. So maybe H G Wells, with his stories of bacteria moving from planet to planet, was further ahead of his time that previously thought!
We’re a part of the earth, whether we acknowledge it or not. To my way of thinking, it’s entirely possible, once you accept that the earth is a living thing, that part of our job as one of its “organs” is reproduction.
The growing earth
The expanding earth theory has been around for quite a while. If you haven’t seen it before, check out this presentation – it floored me when I first watched it!
Theoretically, geologists have discredited this theory. But to me, the proof is in the visuals: it all just fits. It’s completely convincing because you can see how the land mass pieces of the puzzle fitted together on a much smaller earth.
So even though geologists may not support the expanding earth theory, I do. And I believe there will come a day when this theory is proven to be correct. As I said, it makes sense. It fits.
What has this got to do with Paganism?
I think this has got everything to do with Paganism. These theories support the belief that we are part of a living, growing organism – they support the Pagan concept of immanence – that the divine is within us and within the material world, rather than separate from it.
What do you think?