Tag Archive | Crete

Artemis in Crete

[The following is an excerpt from Minoan Messages On The Gaia Path.]

balconyIS IT COINCIDENCE THAT I AM STAYING at a hotel named after Artemis? Artemis who has long been another resonant Goddess for me? Artemis who exemplifies the independent stage of life I went through after my divorce and before I met Ron? Artemis in her Maidenhood, her independence and empowerment, her strength and intimate relationship to the wilds, the woods, nature, her pack of hounds called the Alani? The Alani of which I became one?

I’ve read books and articles about Artemis, and relate to much of what’s written, yet I also know Her differently in some ways.

Goddess of the Hunt is one of Her appellations. However, as a devotee of Artemis, my sense is that as “the huntress” Artemis did/does not advocate killing. Rather, Hers is the power of dispensation and for stepping in as intermediary between hunted and hunter for a swift and painless death. In other words, if it is necessary to take a life for survival, invoke and invite her guidance and She may grant absolution to the one who deals death to a precious wild creature and/or an innocent of any species. Her bestowing of prowess with the bow—in her association with that tool—was for protection of the wild creatures, and to prevent suffering. Ultimately, Artemis is a Huntress of Souls, not hunting to kill in our mundane perceptions but to renew, protect, guide, save and inspire the wild and innocent beings.

In her other guises and energies, and at other points in time, Artemis is also known by a variety of names. For instance, on Crete, She is associated with Britomartis, Goddess of Mountains, and Eileithyia, Goddess of Birth and thus also of Death.

My own energy is connected to Artemis in some interesting ways. A zodiac sign associated with Artemis is Taurus, which is my birth sign. I have a strong attachment to not only the wild and untamed Rocky Mountains, but also to trees and especially pine trees; Artemis, Goddess of the Wilderness, has been known to hold a “pine cone tipped wand,” and is a tree goddess. My middle name is Diane, a form of Diana which is the Roman name for Artemis. She is Moon Goddess and Lady of the Beasts; I am most content at night or in caves, and have always lived with multiple dogs and/or cats. The moment I ‘met’ Artemis, we were in resonance.

She has, however, been tainted by aggression, enslaved by the will of the oppressors, and made into an image of death-wielder or hunter of those She actually protects. There is a deep chasm stretching between Artemis-primordial and what they—the violent ones—seek to make Her. Her archetype has not the desire to kill or to destroy. She is the waxing moon of growth, the crescent moon is Her silver bow and Her discerning, protective gaze flies sure and true as an arrow from that bow. She is the Great Mother Bear, marking the trees to show all who come into the forest that this is sacred space. Who were the Amazons when Artemis led them into healing groves and fields of herbs where the animals showed ignorant human hands how to know blessed plants that could turn fear into peace, hate into love, and still the pains of birth and death?

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 4.24.41 PMHow can we see Artemis clearly if we look through the eyes of patriarchy and those who dominated even themselves, restraining any semblance of kindness? Harsh times rode in on horses disregarded except as vehicles, long forgotten as the wings upon earthly rhythms pounding freedom across the land. Can we close our eyes and feel the origin? Imagine one of the first faces of She Who Runs With the Wolves for they are Her friends, her kin.

I am stricken and saddened by how easily we forget to look before the onslaught of oppression, look into the forest mists of the times when harmony reigned and all of Great Mother’s creature beings were honored, each life taken a great sacrifice for which we gave thanks, asking beforehand for a volunteer … the wounded, the weak, the old. Grace is given for their life to be taken quickly, offered as sustenance in the cycle. The vibrational patterns of life, the energetic threads of relationality became snarled and were tangled, so that we forgot Her truth, Her Divine gift of interconnected honoring into harmony.

Under the light of the waxing moon, She cast shadows to protect the wild beings, to create equality—challenge and illusion—so they would not be taken too easily, would not be slaughtered without asking forgiveness, without prayer and invocation of Divine guidance to lead them to balance of sacrifice and nurturance.

There is tremendous strength in standing firm, in holding fast, in celebrating birth and death as equally vital in our human forms walking the manifest world. Artemis is the exhilaration, the growing light in the sacred dark, glorying in the soft shadows of night and the cool recesses of the cave, and the womb of renewal and joy of youthful vigor.

She has been tarnished and stained, contorted by aggressors who cannot possibly understand Her complexities, for taking a life is a mighty honor and the life taken is then to be honored in a way that reveres all life be it plants, animals or the unknown mysteries of the unseen realms that guide and direct us into opportunities for greater inter-relationship.

Her stories were told and written down by men who could not comprehend Her. Artemis is one who guides us to look within, in the dark, to discover whether we need to take a life or sacrifice our own or even to simply allow a flow of compassion into the relating of all life. She guides us into the paths of our souls, pointing with her arrows to that which needs to be removed or transformed.

The Amazon legends, like the stories of Artemis, were recorded by men; we must seek within our own hearts to find the truth between the lines of the self-reflected, ego-dictated aggression of patriarchy to locate pure source. Maybe the Amazons were indeed wild women of the forests who supplemented their gatherer diets with the occasional meat sacrifice. But I sense that whenever a kill was necessary, it would have been a grave undertaking, not a revelry of joy and laughter with fierce cries of jubilation and pounding upon the chest in dominance. There would have been no joy in the kill.

Artemis vibrates with protection, defense when necessary, and survival with a distinctive grace and reverence for all life. Humans have the will and the intellect to choose how we live, and Artemis will guide us through the dark if we open to Her power.balconyatdusk

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Peace

“It is a gross misunderstanding to imagine warfare as endemic to the human condition.”

~ Marija Gimbutas, Professor of Baltic and Slavic Studies at UCLA, 1963-1989; Chair of European Archeology. Gimbutas

I feel sadness at how quickly average people — men and women both — have become excited by the idea that Viking women could have been half of the warrior force. What reason is there to celebrate violence in any culture? And yet, consider all the movies and television series that continue to grow in number where the female is killing and destroying; this is promoting the idea that women can only hold power by becoming better warriors/killers than the men. The promotion of that archetype is not coming from the core of feminine principles of a loving, transformative energy but from the obfuscating masculine energies within them. This will not resolve anything — this will not heal our world.Fresco at Knossos - Version 2

I wish people were as thrilled by the knowledge that there were many early civilizations that existed peacefully for hundreds of years, some for over a thousand years, within an egalitarian structure. Some of these towns and/or village communities were heavily populated; for instance, the “Late Cucuteni culture, c. 4000-3500 B.C., reached an urban stage with towns of up to 10,000 inhabitants at the center of a district surrounded by medium and smaller size villages,” while other large, peaceful societies prospered as well such as that of Catal Huyuk in Anatolia and on Crete we know of the “Minoan” culture. (Gimbutas) Further, hunter-gatherer cultures were usually egalitarian as well.

Minoan Messages

Minoan Messages Cover

available in paperback or epub

Ever lost sight of your identity and/or your purpose? Me, too!

Synopsis: 

Darla has been a spiritual eclectic for over fifteen years. She is rooted in her faith and happy in her lifestyle. But when her husband experiences a mid-life crisis and they suddenly move from Maine to Arizona, her grounding is disrupted on more than just the physical level. Darla realizes that somewhere along the way her sense of self and purpose got left behind. Were identity and soul misplaced or totally lost? She is clinging to the possibility that a pilgrimage to Crete can show her the way home to herself. As Darla explores the remarkable sites of the ancient Minoans, she opens to the whispers of priestesses long gone, and absorbs the vibrations of a matrifocal culture wherein its people knew the harmonic oneness of life. Upon returning home, Darla continues to explore the balancing of dark and light, to weigh the merits of cave dwelling and creative expression. Through experiences, reflections, and visions on a journey that was far more than Darla had imagined, she recovers her unique identity, embraces her true nature, and steps forward to manifest her soul-purpose.

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My book expresses perspectives on eclectic earth-based spirituality as well as how earth divinity supports the universal relatedness of women’s journeys and our subsequent healing through those experiences. My paths as spiritual seeker and practitioner of earth-energy healing modalities have merged; this union enhances my ability to not only explore inner and outer landscapes, but to share my perceptions of them in a variety of unique ways that includes metaphor and tales of the ancient past.

 Parakalo (please), hop over to Lulu for your copy of Minoan Messages or to Amazon KindleEfharisto!

Three Gifts of the Wise

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The night brought gifts to this child of the Goddess.

New moon to start all over, to value each moment as fresh and full of promise. I no longer shed the lining of womb, thus revel in the vibrations within the dark peaceful cave that is dry and reveals in stark curves all the growth and breakage equal treasures.

Rain fell to quench the thirst of a parched desert. My skin soaks up the moisture that won’t linger in the crisp air and brisk winds of dawn. I recall the gentle tapping against my window, sleeping, calm percussion. Already the clouds are being whisked away by Gaia’s broom of feathers within the rhythm of the woodpecker that picks up the beat of the quickly-gone rainfall.

A meteor shower I did not see, hidden by rare precious rain-clouds, yet I felt its fiery trails tickle me into early waking, replenished by water, and soothed by deep slumber in new moon pillow.

She comes in threes

and wakes the trees

holding forth her eternal smile

that calls to all of us

within the trials

of life.

Yet, here She is in all Her glory

where I share my bit of story

upon the new moon’s dark,

the meteor showers’ sparks,

the delicate droplets liquid crystal grace

as they easily fill the space

that is hollow and waiting for

the next precious gift of yesterday’s song

upon a culture gone for so long.

Yet a land whispering still

of its mysteries and secret well

wherein all will come to pass once more

for we hold the truth in store

and She will open the door …

with a key

that is part

you, part me …

and we will move into the peace of the past,

become the life where beauty and love at last

have freed strife from its cage

of plastic, metal and crumbling bones of age.

Malia, Crete

Malia, Crete

Imagine the truth of every moment resting in Her glory where gentle and slow and honor set the pace and rare is the hectic race to a goal that never becomes but is lost in the shimmer of desert mirage. I cry to think of how blessed I am to be able to enjoy such incredible bliss and perfection of life in a world where so many suffer. And yet I pray for all to know this wondrous grace as I so often do. She opened my eyes to heaven on earth and I have not turned away even when the dark nights may feel threatening. Whatever happens, I know Her Grace and love for She is Gaia and She is Infinite Sacred Presence. This body and personality may stumble and fall but my Soul has blossomed into realization of Her Grace in all things and I can now return as soon as Her Light sparks within the darkness. All it takes is the tiniest glimmer and the black becomes shelter, the hole a womb, the blood I shed is healing, and breath does not need to gasp and clutch at the throat for She is always breathing into me.

Sacred Leopard

Leopard Ax Head from Knossos Crete

Leopard Ax Head from Knossos Crete

Her spots are the powerful Dark Moon; I can fall into their inky texture and feel myself wrapped within their wisdom of reflection. They are the wells of the soul, the mirrors that hold the truth. They reveal a magical reversal of solar eclipse. Her spots are the protection of ancient polished jet set in perfect polarity to her amber pelt that shimmers in the bright sun, the tips sparkling with the glow of Divine power to purify, transform and manifest.

She is the cloak that walks so softly none can hear her gliding into the present revelatory moment for she sneaks up behind our distracted self and proclaims her power with startling sudden perception though she was present long before we knew her roar within us.

She is tenderness cloaked in strength, she is protector and nurturer, she gives and takes away the breath of living tissue. She is the fluid grace that stands her ground when necessary, and she is the purring whisper of bliss carried in a mighty fortress of sinewy action. She is insight, and her razor claws slice through illusion with discerning wisdom. She carries our innocence carefully in her powerful jaws, for miles, until we are safe. She gives voice to the strength of ages and scatters the bones of deception upon the ground where they return to dust.

She will drag us kicking and screaming back to the lair of our birth-knowing with the determination bred of loving protection. Or leave us behind to learn our own way, yet always there is the trail of her scent if we pay attention. Her eyes hold the essence of presence, calm and clear. She is warm, fierce and loving, but knows when to pause in stillness and allow our own grace to flow.

She is the cave and the solar flare, mysteries become One. She sleeps with a paw in various dimensions, deeply asleep yet intensely alert. She knows the bliss of the bridge between worlds and harnesses the power of the Divine even while suckling her kits. She is solitary yet intimately connected to the Life Force moving in and around her existence. She holds herself slightly out of synch so as to maintain her power as witness, guardian, teacher yet knows when the time of her own death has come. She is a creature of Earth and Fire, yet knows the fluidity of a river in her languid movements, and the air becomes hers with one powerful leap so high she touches the sky in reverence. She is the torch lighting the way through the cave, and she is the dark moon holding the sunlight within itself safe and protected.

 

Priestess

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View from the ruins at Hamezi, Crete

I close my eyes and hear distant voices, chanting words upon a melody of plant-strewn aroma, gentle and flowing as they connect with the cycles of life. I tip my head back and lean into the wind, for a moment I lose my balance and feel my body begin to tilt … I could topple and roll all the way down the mountain if I’m not more careful. I chide myself. Yet I do it again, tipping my head back, leaning into the wild wind, not even needing to breathe because the energy in motion moves in and out of my body without my lungs as if I am breathing with the land, with the priestesses of the past, and they are breathing for and within me. Could I stay here forever? Would anyone mind if I brought a pack and retreated here for a week or two? I smile. Probably not done. Silly thoughts. But I hear a whisper that there are these sacred energy portals everywhere. And I promise myself to find them at home, in the land of my own present birth-time. 

I look into the dry well, or cistern, and imagine pulling water up in a clay jar, careful not to let it bump the rocky wall and crack. I kneel upon a woven mat and begin to wash, cleansing my body, purifying my skin with a pungent herb, and then massaging an aromatic oil into skin that is dry and thirsty. The oil is a subtle color, and my skin glows with a hint of purple. Sacred rites. Past or future?

Does the wind ever stop, here in this vortex? I hope not. For if the wind were to stop, the transmission of wisdom would halt, the sharing of memorial patterns that weave upon the imprint of this place would pause, and they are precious indeed. One room is absent a roof so that we/they can lie among the sheltering walls yet be among the stars and moon, and soak up the luminous charge, connecting with the ancestors. I feel them calling, connecting us across the veil. This space yearns for a return to ritual, and we join hands and sing …

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Ruins at Hamezi, Crete

Home from Crete

Deep joy and gratitude for the gift of my Pilgrimage to Crete … allowing Her energy to flow through me in new patterns, weaving new threads into the story-cloth that is my current path — the tapestry beneath this earth-walk — and feeling Her wonders wrapped around me like an ever-changing cloak of shimmering magic and love.

This gift of pilgrimage was through the Grace of Gaia and the warm, caring, inclusive natures of Cheryl and Lana, the Goddess Guides of Goddess Tours International. Absolutely everything about my journey was splendid — if you want an incredible, empowering experience within an intimate gathering of joyful women, I highly recommend going with Cheryl and Lana! I am writing a memoir of this adventure that will be available soon.