Gaia has many names and is present in most religions, if not all, in some form or another. She is Mother Earth, Terra for the Romans. I wouldn't consider her a Misunderstood Goddess in the sense that her origin stories are all muddled up and contradictory, like in Medusa's case, or even Lilith's case. But there is misunderstanding and we are the ones to blame. We... us humans believe she is forever fertile and giving and we don't have to do anything about it because we believe she will always be there, like a loving mother, ever giving, ever forgiving. But many don't see, or ignore, the signs of her distaste with us.
The tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues, so many fires burning thousands of acres of land, not even this virus covid-19 seems to make her children take the hit, which at this point, feels like a deafening roar.
I painted I Dare You to Love Me because when I first came across that quote, it was in a movie called Imagine Me & You, which I absolutely love. Rachel's (Piper Perabo) favourite flowers are lilies and Luce (Lena Headey), a florist knows the meaning of many flowers, but as she has fallen in love with newlywed Rachel, she doesn't tell her the meaning. When she eventually does, it's delivered with such weight and meaning, I wanted to put all of those emotions into a painting and that it have a similar weight. Te Goddess I thought it most suitable was Gaia. I can imagine Earth crying, bleeding and in pain and just standing there, stoically in all earthly glory, holding those lilies - those very same lilies Rachel loves so much, and both Luce and Gaia saying:
I Dare You to Love Me
I know you will break my heart someday, and maybe I will break yours, but while we have the time and we are in love - such an elusive, romanticised feeling - let us take care of each other. The difference being that Gaia is not human, she is not even in the same cognitive level as us, she is above and beyond our mortal feelings. We have issues, we have emotional baggage, but Gaia is, she exists, and she will live on way after we are gone. She doesn't need us, but we need her.
The Goddess Gaia, on the other hand, is the result of humans telling each other stories. Gaia, the Goddess suffered under Ouranos' (Uranus), the personification of the Sky, the Heavens. He was demanding and unforgiving; he expected her to deliver what he judged to be perfection, children with skin of gold. Yet Gaia believed good health to be the ultimate sign of perfection. She didn't believe her children had to have skin of gold, they could be made of sand, or even stone, as long as they were healthy. Gaia protected her children from Ouranos' wrath when they didn't fit into his ideals and hid them away so that he wouldn't kill them. When eventually the children he didn't deem perfect were condemned to Tartarus, which was deep within the Earth causing Gaia much pain. Gaia's revenge was to fashion a sickle like weapon forged out of flint and ask her sons to castrate Ouranos. This task was accomplished by the youngest Titan, Cronos. This is an extremely shortened version of her story, but her anger was very real.
Gaia the Goddess was capable of revenge, but how about Gaia the planet, our planet. Will we see our demise at her hands, and how soon?