GAIA is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities.  Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess.  She is the immediate parent of Uranus (the sky), from whose sexual union she bore the Titans (themselves parents of many of the Olympian gods) and the Giants, and of Pontus (the sea), from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods.  Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.

The mythological name was revived in 1979 by James Lovelock, in Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth; his Gaia hypothesis was supported by Lynn Margulis.  The hypothesis proposes that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamical system that shapes the Earth’s biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life.  In some Gaia theory approaches, the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions.  Further books by Lovelock and others popularized the Gaia Hypothesis, which was embraced to some extent by New Age environmentalists as part of the heightened awareness of environmental concerns of the 1990s.

The idea of a world soul, an anima mundi, a planetary Logos, is an ancient one found in both Eastern and Western culture.  This world soul is usually conceived as a “formative force,” an active, intelligent, purposeful spiritual presence at work in the material world to guide and guard the course of planetary evolution.  It is generally not accorded the status of being the ultimate source or Creator, but might be looked upon as a great angelic, or archangelic, being presiding over the well being of the world, or as the gestalt, the wholeness of all the lives and patterns that manifest upon, and as, the earth.

In brief, Gaia may be thought of as is the guiding Oversoul for Mother Earth and All Our Relations.