Hello, everyone. I've been away at Omega with Mary Greer, and a wonderful group of people, from as far away as India and Australia. What a terrific week.
And now I'm off to Goddard College for the MFA Writing residency. When I return I will respond to everyone's wonderful comments of the last couple of weeks (sorry, folks, for the delay).
But meanwhile, I wanted to pass on the exciting news that the itinerary for the Greek trip is set. I'm so excited. Here it is, with my notes of what each of these places mean. And I will be posting more about Greece, and especially the special qualities of the Goddesses and Gods.
GREECE! OCTOBER 1-12
Sunday, October 1 — Depart from your gateway city to Athens, Greece.
Monday, October 2 — Arrive at Athens airport and proceed to our hotel. As folks are arriving from different locations at different times, we will try to meet for tea in the evening, after dinner, and have our welcome meal at lunch tomorrow. (This is flexible according to final arrival times.)
Whenever we have it, the first formal meal at the start of a sacred journey is more than a get-together (though it certainly is that as well). It creates a bond and a shared purpose in the joy of a feast. It will be wonderful to meet everyone!
Tuesday, October 3 — Morning visit to the Acropolis. The Acropolis is probably the most famous monument in all of Greece. It is the fitting place to begin our journey, for not only is this magnificent site sacred to Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, it also was the starting out place for the Mystai, the seekers who experienced the Mysteries.
After lunch and walk around Athens, we will take a late afternoon bus to Delphi for overnight.
Wednesday, October 4 — For the ancients, Delphi was the Center of the World. Set among stunning mountains, it was the place of the great Oracle. Just below Delphi, the temple of Athena Pronea allows us to continue the energy begun in Athens as we bring ourselves to the place of purification (the Castalia fountain) and then Delphi itself, where we will seek our own oracular truth in preparation for the Mysteries. Delphi was sacred to Apollo, whose shrine the Mystai passed as they left Athens. It also is a powerful opening to Gaia, the Earth, oldest of all the Deities. We will invoke Gaia and join ourselves to the Earth at the great boulder that has represented Her since before the temples.
Thursday, October 5 — Parnassus is the home of the Muses, the Goddesses who bring inspiration and beauty. Since the Mt. Parnassus site is closed to the public, we will have a rare and special opportunity when we visit and perform ritual there. In the afternoon we will visit the Delphi museum.
Friday, October 6 —Leave Delphi for Epidaurus. We will stop at Andirion down hill to Galaxidi (short stop) and cross the bridge to Rion as we drive to Nafplion, a beautiful seafront town. Mycenae is rugged and powerful, with roots going back to one of the oldest civilizations in Greece. It is a journey back in time, as we pass through the Lion Gate and climb the hill to a vision of Winged Artemis, the Goddess of the Mountains looming over the site. After some free time to walk around this beautiful town, we will overnight in Nafplion.
Saturday, October 7 — Morning Leave for Epidaurus and visit the site of the Aesklipion and the famous theatre of Epidaurus, the temple of dreams and healing. Here we will ask for our own healing and dream power, using oracular work to enter into and understand our own dreams. We also will visit the shrine to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, for the ancients understood that there is no healing without Aphrodite.
After Epidaurus we make our sacred way to Eleusis, the site of the Great Mysteries themselves. Eleusis is surrounded by a modern industrial city, and most of the buildings were broken in 400 C.E., when Alaric sacked the Sacred Precinct. When we are there, however, all of the modern world falls away and we are transported back to the ancient rites, held at Eleusis for 2000 years. Here we will show the sacred objects, do a ritual to Demeter, and tell what is possibly the most powerful of all Greek myths, the Abduction of Persephone. We will literally breathe into ourselves the spirits of the Ancient Goddesses.
We will stop where dinner is available before boarding our overnight ferry which departs for Heraklion, Crete, at about 9:00PM. On the ferry we will have twin cabins inside. This may seem like simple transportation but it is much more. Crete was a magnificent civilization that predated Greece itself by a thousand years. This journey over the water, in the dark of night, is a journey back in time.
Sunday, October 8 — Arrive at Heraklion at around 5.30AM, and be met and transferred to the hotel Marina beach and bungalows, about 20Kms from Heraklion. After breakfast we will leave for Skotino cave. This cave is closed to the public, and requires special permits.
Evidence shows that much of worship of the Goddess in Crete was done in caves, not temples. Crete actually was the last flowering of the great Neolithic Goddess civilization, possibly the most creative period in human history. The sacred cave of Skotino is the perfect place to begin our experience and to continue to honor Persephone in the Underworld.
In the afternoon we will visit the Heraklion Museum, which contains wonderful objects that help bring the ancient culture alive. We will see the great variety of double axes, which were not weapons but instead votive objects, sacred to the Goddess. The double axe represents both the waxing and waning Moon, and the butterfly (our word "psyche" is a Greek word that means both "soul" and "butterfly").
Dinner is included upon our return to our hotel.
Monday, October 9 — In the morning we will have an extensive visit of the Knossos Palace. Greatly restored, Knossos shows us the splendor of the pre-Greek "Minoan" civilization. We will learn of the special qualities of this site, the true meaning of the famous Labyrinth, and learn to orient ourselves to the landscape.
After lunch we will drive back to the hotel, or those who wish could stay in town. Town shoppers and explorers can pick up a taxi to the hotel (not very expensive). Buffet dinner at the hotel.
This evening we will prepare for and begin a special ritual along the beach. This is a special ritual to Aphrodite for emotional and sexual healing, combined with an Eleusinian ritual of “searching” for the Goddess. We will complete the ritual the following morning at dawn.
Tuesday, October 10 — After our early morning ritual, Rachel and Nicki will work together to offer a unique and spontaneous day. Among other things, Rachel will offer some Oracular exercises with Tarot. She has some other surprises up her sleeve, which will be worked out in the moment and according to available terrain.
Wednesday, October 11 — 8.30AM leave the hotel for Festos for a gracious visit to this important site. Even more than Knossos, Festos takes us directly into the heart of the ancient power of the Goddess in the land. With the horned mountain of Ida looming over us, and other powerful features the Cretans understood as the Goddess's physical body, we will join with the landscape as a living presence. Here we will follow the winding path of the labyrinth into the heart of the sacred chamber.
Lunch will be on your own in Heraklion with time for a bit of last minute shopping. After lunch, we will return to the land one land last time to celebrate the end of the Mysteries! Here we will experience the return of Persephone from the Underworld, the reunion with her mother, Demeter, and the rebirth of nature and our own spirits. We will give the ancient cry of renewal and celebration, "Hye! Kye!" Rain! Conceive! as the Earth itself comes back to life.
We then will return for our closing buffet dinner, the feast of celebration that properly ends any true life-changing ritual.
Thursday, October 12 —Transfer to the airport in time for flight to Athens, to connect with your flight back home.