Sacred Sites on the Greek Island of Samos

by Melinda Marton

Temple of Hera - the HeraionI love the rich, spiritual feeling of this ancient land and spent my last summer holiday in Pythagoreion on the beautiful island of Samos. There is so much to see here, I didn’t spend much time lying on the beach!

First stop was the local museum, which is a beautiful new building in the middle of the town.  It’s placed next to the ancient city and has current archaeological excavations right next door.

The Samos museum mentions all the following as local to the island:

  • The main sanctuary of the patron goddess of the island (sanctuary of  Hera, at the mouth of the river Ibravos)
  • Patron God of the city, Dionysos
  • Temple of Aphrodite – lies beneath the foundation of an old house
  • On the heights of the city, sanctuaries of the Mother Goddess, Cybele
  • Sanctuary of Demeter at the edge of the city, high on an isolated hill, as appropriate to mystery cults
  • Artemis, Dionysus and Apollo cults
  • A cult of Nymphs
  • Inscriptions of Hygeia
  • Temple of Isis with large, lavishly adorned altar in the south of the small square to the right of Lykourgos Logothetes street which leads to the harbour

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SheBear Mothers and Daughters

by Leslene della-Madre

Mother bear with cubs

As a young woman in the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s, I lived in the heart of the rising tide of change in Berkeley, California, where I was a student at the University of California.  I feel it is important to include some of my background here because my journey to becoming a mother was shaped by my own experiences and explorations into consciousness transformation in those days. My real education at that time, however, was not in the classroom.  It came from being in the streets, going to “love-ins” in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, dancing and “tripping out” at the Fillmore, adventuring in nature, traveling, using sacred entheagens and living in community. There was no time like the 60s in our recent history before or since.  This time of tumultuous social upheaval was truly deep and profound in many ways. Everywhere I went people were into exploring consciousness and the true meaning of life. Much of this collective searching was reflected in the music and art of the time, with messages of “turning on, tuning and dropping out.” A synergistic awareness of going “back to the land” and “back to nature” as the “thing to do” swirled about in the air like clouds of incense smoke, wafting through every crack and crevice of our homes, thoughts and dreams.

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The Goddesses of Time

by Sue Oxley

sweet peaThe beauty of nature is in the circles She creates, the spinning of the galaxies and the twining of the sweet pea, the turning of the seasons and the circle of our lives.  'Nature hates a straight line' my grandmother used to say, 'probably even more than a full-stop'.

Let's dance and move through the Circle of the Goddesses of Time, thinking about the shining reality of each while leaving behind Her clothes, sorting out what is real and valid and what is shimmering mist, as the circle twirls around us.

Persephone, the Child that sings in the meadow, that rolls down the hills through the flowers, that leaves behind the Mother and yet comes back at night when the dark is frightening.  Remember the wonder of moving so easily that it is like jumping on the moon, think of the loveliness of no worry, no knowledge of evil and hate, with just the dark to fear.

We pick up the Joy and leave behind the carelessness as we move to Artemis, while shouldering our fear of being alone, of having no apron to hide behind.

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The Nine Nights of the Winter Solstice Hallowing

by Elizabeth A Kaufman

fireplaceAs a Pagan, Goddess-worshipping witch and priestess, I have over the past thirty years celebrated the Winter Solstice in a variety of ways. As my path evolved, I made appropriate changes and adjustments, but never quite found that which truly felt right. In 2007 however,  I came across a rite for Helios on one of the Hellenistic reconstructionist groups I belong to which provided the inspiration I needed.

While that rite, celebrated over three or nine nights, was dedicated to Helios, mine would be dedicated to those goddesses I  most revere. While celebrating the season of turning inward for renewal and hope, I would honor the darkness of the days as looking inward for wisdom, finding that wisdom and then honoring the return and growth born of that wisdom, the return of light.

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Amazing Artemisias

by Susun S Weed

Diana, bronze, Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828)

Artemis - Goddess of the herbalist - gives her name to a genus of marvelously aromatic, safely psychedelic, highly medicinal, dazzlingly decorative, and more-or-less edible plants in the Asteraceae family. I love Artemis, and I love her plants.

Who is Artemis?

Amazonian moon goddess. Goddess of the hunt. Goddess of the wild things. Goddess of the midwife. Goddess of the herbalist. Mother of all Creatures. Leader of the sacred bitches. Great she-bear. Diana. Selene. Ever Virgin; owned by no man. We will visit her sacred wood on a shamanic journey. Who knows what will happen then.

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Black Madonnas

by Mary Frankland

CybeleThese statues or paintings are usually described by the Roman Catholic authorities as images of the Blessed Virgin Mary depicted with a dark or black skin.

St Bernard of Clairvaux was a great devotee of the Mother of Jesus, and he wrote numerous hymns and sermons which he dedicated to her. He also wrote several sermons on the theme of the Song of Songs in which the Bride sings “I am black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem." It is also possible that several Black Madonnas were originally images of the Goddess.

In his book, Cult of the Black Virgin, Ean Begg notes that in the early 1980s, “a pagan Black Virgin made according to ancient rites was venerated in the course of Druidic ceremonies at St Georges Nigremont.” I hope to present more evidence for the transition of these figures to Christian veneration during the course of this article.

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