Agaya is a new term originated for Novasutras, intended as an expression of the deep, sacred beauty of the universe and its capacity to create life. Agaya inspires awe and reverence and delight in the natural world. Agaya is our term for the ineffable universal forces and properties that allow life to emerge in all its wonder and complexity.

We pronounce agaya as ah-guy-ah. The origin of the term agaya was a merging of the concepts agape and Gaia

Agaya is a new term for the transcendent, creative, loving and sacred beauty of the universe.

An Etymological Exlporation

Agaya sings of the ineffable universal forces and properties through which life continuously emerges in all its wonder and complexity.
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Gaia (pronounced guy-ah or gay-uh) was taken from the name given to the Gaia Theory, developed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. The Gaia Theory is the scientific concept that all of Earth’s organisms and various Earth systems including the atmosphere, the water cycle and many aspects of geochemistry interact in a complex, self-organizing and self-regulating system that promotes the resilience of life in the biosphere. The name for the theory (originally the Gaia hypothesis, until further supported with data from multiple fields of inquiry) was selected by one of its originators (Lovelock) from the ancient Greek name for the fierce, primordial Earth Goddess.

The Gaia hypothesis is a biological idea, but it’s not human-centered. Those who want Gaia to be an Earth goddess for a cuddly, furry human environment find no solace in it. …Some critics are worried that the Gaia hypothesis says the environment will respond to any insults done to it and the natural systems will take care of the problems. This, they maintain, gives industries a license to pollute. Yes, Gaia will take care of itself; yes, environmental excesses will be ameliorated, but it’s likely that such restoration of the environment will occur in a world devoid of people.

…Gaia is a tough bitch — a system that has worked for over three billion years without people. This planet’s surface and its atmosphere and environment will continue to evolve long after people and prejudice are gone.

~Lynn Margulis, “Gaia Is A Tough Bitch,” from The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution (1995)

Agaya is how we articulate the profound love permeating all of us in our co-evolving universe.

Agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay) is the Greco-Christian word for divine love.

“The theological elaboration of agape should not shy away from identifying it with altruism… Can we entertain the hypothesis that altruistic love is rooted in the fundamental nature of reality, including the reality we call nature?” ~Philip Hefner (1993, as cited in Oord 2005)

Agape is typically distinguished from other types of love, such as eros and philia. Eros usually refers to romantic love, most often with a component of sexual desire. Philia may refer to love of kin, the love in non-romantic affiliations like friendship, or the love of things or concepts — for example, E.O. Wilson coined biophilia as a term for our inherent love of the living world (a concept closely allied with agaya in Novasutras). Compared to eros and philiaagape is distinguished by its transcendent nature, selflessness, and spiritual depth. Agape also implies a kind of universal love in community that is deeply connected with the Novasutras conception of ubuntu.

Agaya inspires awe, reverence and delight in the natural world.

Learn more from videos on our YouTube ubuntu and agaya playlist, and from our blog posts on AGAYA.

Earth Day 2021: Sources and Springs of Climate Action
The climate crisis and global biodiversity loss require us to reconnect with the sacred, living Earth and with one another in more powerful ways. We may grow to understand the ways that life on Earth seeks to become allied with …
A Pattern Language for Urban Nature – The Nature of Cities
Paul Downton created this beautifully illustrated guide to thinking about cities and the ideas of urban nature. It shares a perspective that honors what we in Novasutras call agaya and ubuntu.
Falling in Love with Earth’s Three Green Hearts
Our beloved Earth has three green hearts — Amazonia, Congo and Sundaland — the worlds three major equatorial rainforest systems. These are places of unfathomable complexity and diversity, places of beauty and wonder. They are the living embodiment of agaya …

What do you think and feel when you consider agaya? How does consideration of agaya shape your daily interactions with the living world?

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