GAIA. This goddess existed before everything; she existed before time. Gaia, the eternal, prehistoric earth mother goddess, is fertility incarnate, moist, mysterious, strong. She is life energy itself; everything that lives, breathing or not, overflows with her life. She is the earth and all the powers of the earth. Gaia is not always a consoling goddess: standing for life and generation without thought of consequence, she has an energy and a power that must be approached carefully. All bodies eventually return to her, into the black, fertile earth, to be devoured and to receive her life to live again. As goddess of the soul, Gaia reminds us that the soul develops in dark places and that ultimately soul must be rooted in body, in earth. She is a reminder that we must ground ourselves in the reality of nature and incorporate all sides of ourselves, be they pleasant or unpleasant, light or dark.