There is no specific order in the oracle cards but I am starting with what seems to be a very logical beginning and that is Gaia.
ABOUT THE GODDESS
I am beginning with the same goddess who started the life on Earth in the Greek mythology. According to Hesiod Gaia (‘Earth’) emerged from Chaos together with Uranus (‘Heaven’) and they became the parents of the Titans as well as the Hecatonchires, (‘One Hundred Armed’) and the one-eyed giants called Cyclopes. The Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes were so fearsome that even their own father felt threatened by them and eventually imprisoned his offspring. Gaia did not accept it and convinced Cronus, the youngest Titan, to deprive Uranus of his power. The Titan castrated his father and threw his testicles to the sea (when his blood met the sea foam, Aphrodite the goddess of love was born). He seized the throne, however not only he did not let his brothers out of the prison but fearing that he could repeat his father’s fate, he started to swallow his own children right after their birth. Being pregnant again Rhea, his wife and sister, asked Gaia for advice and her mother suggested to wrap a stone into swaddling clothes instead of Rhea’s new born son. Cronus swallowed the stone not realizing that his son Zeus was in fact alive and well hidden. When Zeus grew up, Gaia helped him to defeat his father. He did set the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes free but imprisoned Cronus in Tartarus instead so Gaia took her revenge by giving birth to a terrifying dragon Typhon who really complicated the lives of the Olympic gods….and all these gentlemen could have simply listened to the requests of their wife, mother and grandmother !
Gaia is literairly the goddess of earth, soil, rocks, sand, forests and mountains. Her presence is also manifested in the enclosed areas such as house, courtyard, womb, cave etc. According to myths she has brought many creatures to the world, often without any male participation (ancient Hellens believed in parthenogenesis and the possibility of conceiving a child just by the gust of wind, sprinkling water or touching a magical plant). Oaths sworn in her name were considered the most binding in the Hellenic lands and she also had her own oracles which were highly appreciated, even more than those of Apollo.
When it comes to sanctuaries the story of Python seems to be significant: Python was the guardian serpent of Gaia’s oracle in Delphi and was killed by Apollo who tresspassed the sanctuary and took it as if it was his own. Some researchers including Robert Graves perceive this myth as the redention of the fight between the pre-Hellenic matriarchal tribes (dragon being the symbol of feminine element of earth, nature, magic, the unknown and divine wisdom; Greek word drakeîn from which ‘dragon’ originates means to see clearly) versus the Hellenic invaders (Apollo was representing the male symbol of the Sun). Whether Graves’ theory is a historical fact or not, the image of a male warrior fighting a dragon can be observed in various cultures, one of the most popular being the myth of Saint George*.
IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS
A dragon and a serpent are the animals connected with Gaia and Earth powers, not only because serpent crawls the earth it but also thanks to the shedding of its skin which symbolizes wisdom, rebirth and the power of nature. Gaia’s other divine animals are a lunar bull, a pig (similarly to Demeter) and a bee while the plants traditionally attributed to her are poppy and pomegranate.
The woman who is represented by this card is a terrific wife and mother, the guardian of the family’s health and wealth who enjoys taking care of numerous family members. She is the type of person who not only cleans and cooks but also bakes the cake for Sunday and spicies the dishes with the herbs from her very own garden. Her negative features are conservatism, stubbornness and vindicativeness.
When the card of Gaia appears in the spread, depending on the question it may signify stablilization, health or finances improvement and the necessity to have some rest. The card always suggests going outside and spending more time in nature as well as asking for the advice of an older or more experienced woman such as a friend, a mother or a grandmother (in my private code Gaia represents a grandmother).
Please pay attention that this card brings the features traditionally attributed to the element of EARTH.
Positive: stability, solidness, constancy, endurance, reliability, predicatbility, regularity, planning, pracitism, ability to save up, sedateness, determination, persistence, strength, will power, safety, balance, peace, tranquility, love for nature, rebirth, nourishment, fullness, richness and fertility.
Negative: inability to introduce changes and to adapt, inaction, conservatism, passiveness, boredom, conformity, materialism, greediness, avarice, selfishness, superficiality, headstrongness, intransigence and stubbornness.
It is a good time to settle down and start a family or spend more time with the relatives. If you are thinking about pregnancy, this card suggests it is a good decision.
It is not a good moment for risky financial operation. Invest money in stable properties such as land, gold or jewels. Do not spend money at the moment if you do not have to, try to save as much as you can.
You need to have some rest preferably in destinations located in the forests or the mountains. Endangered parts of the body: bones, skin and the digestive system.
The first image is Gaia in the deck by Pamela Matthews.There is no card of her in the deck of Doreen Virtue (her African counterpart Mawu is included there but I will concentrate on her representation in a separate post), however I would like to show you Gaia representing the card of The World, the twenty – second Major Arcan of Tarot. The first card is taken from the deck of Universal Goddess Tarot by Lo Scarabeo.
The second one belongs to the Goddess Tarot created by Kris Waldherr.
Based on The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology by Pierre Grimal and English Wikipedia.
*Dragon seems to be a symbol closely related with the Earth. In the movie Mists of Avalon, based on the book by Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of the main heroes Uther PenDRAGON has this motive tatooed on his skin as the sign of his devotion to the belief in the Goddess, the feminine deity of nature. Later in the movie when the pagan rituals are replaced by the Christian ones the image of dragon being stabbed to death by a warrior is shown.