Come granddaughter, come. I have many stories to tell. Many stories that you must remember as you travel into foreign lands. For you are the seed corn, through whom the Great Mother is remembered throughout her slumber, until she awakens again. Come and make yourself comfortable, as we shall start with the stories of my grandmother, stories of long ago.Our clan voyaged upon the living waters of the Lady of the Sea to this beautiful island of Kaftor from the great land to the northeast called Anatolia. There our people had lived in harmony and love with the Mother of All for many hundreds of generations. Thus we were blessed by her hand, to keep and cultivate this land for her. Many generations ago, our grandmothers lived within the caves of the Earth Mother raising olives, grapes, barley, wheat, oats, lentils, almonds, pistachios, and figs. The animals they brought with them thrived in this land. Pigs, sheep, goats, and her sacred cows and bees reproduced and grew healthy. It was truly a land of milk and honey.
We celebrated the seasons of the Mother and she smiled upon our people. Soon we had villages and trade routes established to the Levant and southward to Egypt. Then she led more of her children to this, her land of paradise. We built great temples to honor her and to carry forth her work. We imported precious metals gold, silver, tin, copper, and lead and precious stones alabaster, lapis lazuli, obsidian, amber, and ebony. The Lady guided our hands and created through us many beautiful and elegant pieces of art, and our trade routes grew to encompass all lands surrounding this great sea. Many were her children throughout this world, skin and eyes of different colors, but all giving respect and honor to the Great Mother.
Then the time had come for the Mother to begin her time of rest. You see grandchild, she is very old like what you see of me, and she must rest before she can be reborn young, strong, and beautiful as you. You know how to read the signs of the heavens, do you not young one? You see the center of the whirling sky is changing from her sign in the serpent, but all things cycle and return. Likewise, she shall shed her skin just as the serpent living in your hearthstone shall rest then renew herself. It appears that which we gaze upon from our courtyard, Thuban, never wavers from her watching point in the north, but the cycle is just extended. Like unto the cycle of the sun’s position at the equinox, this has shifted from her sign of the holy cow, into the sign of the battling ram; perhaps you have noticed this procession? Believe me young one. We are the last of her people that remain in peace in this world, and that is only through her gifts of wisdom.
Ah, now back to my story. In the time of my great-great-grandmother, terrible earthquakes shook the land, tidal waves swept our coasts, and hundreds of people fled to our islands. The temples were destroyed and food became meager. The people who came here told stories of horror, invading armies that destroyed holy places, took women as slaves, and killed men and children. We were sure the Mother had entered the Underworld and the dark times had come. But soon we saw the stars in regression, and understood this as a portend of the destruction to follow, a destruction that would enter its darkest age with the alignment of all planets, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the sign of the cow.
We rebuilt her temples, bigger and stronger placing supports of wood and stone so that our walls would not crumble as the earth shook. It is she that supports our grand rooms and balconies. We remind ourselves of her power with every red pillar, drawing power from the earth and the sky; we pass and offer libation to. It is she that has given us all. The courtyard we built larger, exactly 170 x 80 measures, aligning North to allow her watchful eye to see all that we do. We made everything as close to perfection as possible, to honor her with our love and service. She watched and guided us, her children. The pottery, jewelry, stonework, and paintings we made were of the finest in the world and all lands were eager to have our people settle and make trade. This, my dear, is the world into which I chose to be reborn.
My early years were full of sunshine and laughter as the Goddess provided ample food and companions. Our clan being one of the largest had a three-story house, and was busily building another addition for my aunt’s growing family. The ground floor being built before the time of my great-great grandmother didn’t have a street level door, but a rope ladder to the second story balcony. So my cousins and I quickly became acrobatic athletes in early training for the bull leaping feats of the spring rejuvenation festivals.
My grandmother soon noticed I had a way with animals. She always seemed to be watching over me. Like she watched her little herb garden of coriander, cumin, fennel, celery, mint, and safflower and determined when it needed water or fertilizer. Grandmother watched, watered, and fertilized my potentials. There were times that I felt that she was the Goddess incarnate. In time I was put in charge of several family animals: goats, cattle, a hive of honeybees, and our house serpent which was my most educational task. At first, the feeding tubes were horrendous devices, and the serpent was an uncooperative tangle of moving muscles, but I soon loved her and she got used to my touch and smell. Still to this day, I remember that cool day in midautumn. I had taken the serpent to the large flat stone down by the creek. We lay basking in the morning sun watching the light ripple across the surface of the water. I seemed to be daydreaming, and then I realized the whisper of the snake in my ear. Quietly she spoke of the earth shaking and many pithos falling and crashing to the ground; it would happen soon, before the next full moon.
That afternoon, I impatiently waited; looking through the bug netting strung across my window. My aunt would be returning from the orchard where we grew mulberries, pears, quince, tamarisk, and almond trees. She was quite pregnant now, but still oversaw the management of the orchard and taught us children the skills of writing and reading. By the age of 6 we could read and write, using the stone stamps, the older spiraling hieroglyphic script. Soon after that, we were taught Linear A, writing on palm leaves or papyrus using the ink of sepia from the cuttlefish. I had to tell her of my vision and the serpents voice that I had experienced that morning. Finally she appeared down by the thrashing stone, where the dried grain was being dragged across the smooth surface of the stone by our oxen. I bolted out the doorway, swung down the rope ladder, and ran down the well-worn path. Stopping just a measure short of her ripe belly, I blurted out my story. A jumble of words tumbling over each other, but she recognized the truth in them, and quickly sent me to the temple to seek out Grandmother who served as a High Priestess there.
Rasping and blowing I arrived at the temple gateway covered in chafe from the winnowed grain. Quickly I was shown into the cleansing chamber by the gateway, where I was to remove my sandals and make myself somewhat presentable. As children were not allowed in the inner rooms of the temple until after first initiation, I soon felt a mixture of awe and intense embarrassment in the condition of my hairlocks and loincloth. How was I going to make myself presentable to the High Priestess? I was a total mess. Shaking out my hairlocks, I felt thankful most of my head was still shaven in the style of children. Then I quickly untied the hemp rope holding my loincloth and was busily shaking it out, when she appeared. I stood nude, red-faced, with my mouth open, and exasperation written across my face as she stood trying to suppress a laugh.
It was one of the most awkward times of my childhood. Then as she crossed the smooth plastered floor and reached for my shoulder, she became Grandmother instead of High Priestess, and I found myself speaking the warning. Her eyes glowed with warmth and pride, and only then did I realize that I was a seer just as she was. She pulled me to her breasts and stroking my head told me not to worry; the Goddess takes care of her children. I was to continue listening to my serpent and take special notice if she seemed to hide or lose appetite, then the time would be imminent. Grandmother took care of spreading the warning to our people, and when the earth quaking started a few days later we were prepared.
Shortly after the sun had cycled its position of my birth thirteen times, I came into my blood times. Just as a few years ago you went through an initiation of womanhood after you had started your flow of life, so my child did I. However, at that time the temple was alive and glowing with the presence of the Goddess.
I remember the day I was summoned to the temple. A priestess, dressed in her long robe, appeared at my house just as I was cleaning our pottery dishes that we had used for the evening meal. Of course we often had messengers appear for my Grandmother or Grandaunt, if there was an emergency council meeting or something. But this time it was my name called forth. “Sharhea, blessed daughter of the Goddess, you are summoned by my hand. Come to the temple with the light of the rising sun, and enter into my shinning presence.” My hand shook so, that I almost dropped the plate I was holding. Looking at the spiraling design on its surface, I managed to control the shaking and utter an excited reply to the priestess.
All children looked forward to this summons. Some waited with excitement , as they knew that after the initiation rites they would be able to grow out their hair long, and that they would be treated as women and men of the community. Others waited with a slight apprehension as what went on during the rites of initiation were a closely guarded secret. My eyes met the eyes of my mother. They were shinning happily, and I knew I had nothing to fear.
Sleep finally came in the early morning hours, as most of the night my mind was busily trying to guess what might await me in the morning. Excited, I awoke before the break of light. My mother was already stirring about in the dim flickering light of an oil lamp. I quietly dressed in my worn sandals and my nicest linen robe, and appeared in the outer room where she was. She had already prepared a skin pack with a few clothes and necessities for me. A small bowl of cooked grain with dried fruits and skimmed cream of goat’s milk was set at my place. It was all so special, just for me. As I sat down, she came to my side carrying a new woolen cloak she had made for me. She was saying something about it being cool in the evenings, when I noticed the mixture of emotions flowing through her. I guess it just seemed like years had flown by and all of a sudden I was all grown up. Sometimes, I know just how she felt, my dear.
I reached the temple just as predawn lighted the sky, shades of pink flirted with the pale sky blue over the distant mountain range. We gathered at the gateway, seven of us girls from the area, all nervously chatting. Each carrying a small pack to keep us over the next few months, for we would be isolated from the rest of the community during this time of initiation. Then the temple doors slowly opened and all chatter abruptly stopped. I found myself holding my breath as the priestess stepped forward and summoned us into the cleansing chamber. I recognized this room as the same room I had entered on my earlier trip to see my grandmother, but now I took more time to look at the frescos decorating the walls. Reeds lined the banks of streams and trees bowed in the slight wind; it was as though the inside was outside. We were instructed to keep silent, to remove our boots or sandals, and cleanse ourselves with the basins of steaming scented water. This done, we were led into another chamber where a High Priestess sat upon a carved wooden chair; lions climbed the rocky slopes on the wall behind her. She gave each of us a smile and a basket. We were then sent out to the mountainside to gather the sacred crocus blossoms that graced the slopes every fall season. We were to remain silent and return only after our baskets were full. We were then led out of the gateway.
As the great doors closed behind us, we solemnly looked at each other, our baskets, and our bare feet. While one usually went without shoes inside our houses, one almost always wore shoes outside, especially in the mountains for the rocks are very sharp and there are thorns. However, we quickly started our long journey up the roadway towards the mountain slopes. At first we were all aware of each other, but in the silence, we became more and more aware of only ourselves. More and more were we aware of thirst, hunger, soreness, and heat. As we came into the area where the crocus flowered, we split off from one another, each negotiating our own world of rocks, scrub plants, flowers, and bees. Silently I gathered the blossoms and their gift of saffron stamens. Silently I endured my pain of cut and bloodied feet, bruised elbows and knees, dryness in my throat, and hunger in my stomach. Silently I concentrated on my task until my basket filled.
It was sunset when we all had returned to the temple gateway. Tears stained some dusty cheeks. Robes were torn and dirty. Bloody mud crusted on feet, arms, and legs. But, we all had returned with baskets full and fragrant. Again the great doors opened, and we were led into the temple. There was a small antechamber with a sunken floor facing the large courtyard and behind this a tall stone chair in the shape of a leaf. Griffins guarded the chair and the doorway, reeds painted on the wall blended with those planted in pots before us, and floral woven rugs warmed the plastered stone floors. Then she entered, shimmering in the light; the Goddess glided through the plants to settle in the awaiting chair. I caught my breath witnessing her elegance and beauty. A small monkey that was riding on her shoulder came forth and took our baskets emptying them out before the feet of the Goddess. I had never seen such a mystical, almost human, creature as this. Finally the silence was no longer, her smooth voice rippled over us. “My children, you have come to me with offerings of love, with offerings of yourself. For it is your child self that you must give up unto me, in order to transform and grow into women. You have endured the pain; you have released the self; you are ready for the knowledge.”
Attending priestesses turned us into the courtyard where torches had been lighted. The full silver moon crested over the rooftops and painted the flagstones in her light. Horns of consecration stood at the end of the courtyard, seeming to glow in ethereal light of the moon. Pipes began to softly whisper their melodies, as a priestess came forth carrying a large black and golden pitcher shaped as the head of the sacred cow. Music circled around us as voices chanted song. The Goddess appeared forth rising between the horns, her arms upraised in blessing. Then taking the pitcher, she poured glistening blood over the shimmering white horns. “This is your gift of self unto the Goddess and this is her gift unto you. Through her blood all of life has come forth, and you as women take part in this mystery of life. Through your blood shall you also give forth life and fertility. Then when in old age you retain this blood, you shall give forth wisdom. So it has always been, so it is, and so shall it be.” As though locked in place, I watched the red blood painting little streams upon the white horns. I remembered the first trickle of my menstrual blood showing upon my thighs. I remembered the blood of my aunt as she birthed my cousin. Blood is life; blood is death; blood is rebirth.
The priestess directed us all into a small chamber with the floor sunken down a few steps. There were several male attendants there with basins of warm water. Steam rose from the basins, a soothing aroma filled the chamber, and soft candles flickered along the walls. Young boys brought in soft sponges and towels. Then several young men approached us with basins and sponges; they were going to wash us! Soon the room was filled with giggling and quiet laughter. The young man who bathed me was quite gorgeous, large brown eyes, giving lips, broad shoulders, a small waist, strong muscular legs, and he was wearing only his codpiece and G-string. He smoothed my hair, gently sponged my face, and the tensions of the day seemed to fragment and wash away with the dirt. When he eased my torn robe off of my shoulders and squeezed the warm water over my neck, shoulders, and budding breasts, a new tension developed within me. His hands flowed with the water over my back and buttocks and down following the curve of my legs. His warmth engulfed my breasts, my abdomen, and the inside of my thighs. I watched his concentration as he flowed over my body, and I noticed his obvious enjoyment. We had never had such soft gentle attention from men before, and though a bit nervous we all basked in the attention. Soon we were clean, bandaged, sweet smelling, and dressed in soft white robes. Then much to my disappointment the men retreated out of the chamber. Looking around we all glowed, giggled, and wondered what would come next.
We had all but forgotten our hunger and thirst, until the doors opened to show a banquet set before us. The men attended our cups and plates, with honeyed wine, warm bread, baked goat spiced and flavored with plump raisins, saffron wheat berries, steamed tender greens, and a sweet pudding desert. Several High Priestesses were seated at the banquet tables with us, and they introduced themselves to us as our teachers. Over the following couple of months they taught us the places we would have as women in the community. They taught us of the power of the Goddess as nurturer and creatress of all life on the air, land, sea, underworld, and mystical planes. They taught us to honor and reverence her in all that we did. They taught us to care for our bodies and to use herbs to ease our menstrual discomfort and prevent children before we were ready for them. Most of all they became guides and confidants to whom we could ask questions about everything from sexual relationships to hidden journeys within the mind.
All too soon the dark time of the year passed ending our stay in the temple. The festival to celebrate the rebirth of light and the return of life to the earth approached, and the temple was busily preparing for the celebration. It was this night that we would be presented as women to the community. As a group we met again in a small darkened chamber, we felt united, bonded somehow to each other. Then slowly a door opened to reveal a fresco of girls presenting crocus flowers to a mystical blue monkey who set them before the Goddess. A second door revealed a fresco of girls on the mountainside, one looking at the freshly consecrated horns and another holding her foot that had been cut upon the rocks. The last door opened to reveal a fresco of men and boys anointing and washing the girls’ feet. It was then that we realized that not only were we bonded together as a group, but to the whole of the community. My mother had undergone this same experience, as had my sister, the women who lived in the next set of houses down the road, and all women of this community. Reminded of our experiences and growth over the past few months, we walked proudly and confident out onto the platform where we were presented as women to our waiting families and friends.
A few moons later the second most important event of my early life came to pass. It was my first hunting adventure. My older sister, Aname, whose hair was already grown out, was going on a hunt up toward Mount Juktas with one of her boyfriends and her close friend, Sanama, a respected huntress. As always I begged to be allowed to go, and to my amazement, this time Mom nodded her consent. Overjoyed, I quickly prepared a skin of fresh water and pouch of smoked fish, dried olives, nuts, dried figs and grapes. We set out with the rising sun, bows across our shoulders and spring in our steps.
The trip to the mountain sanctuary on top of Mount Juktas took about four hours over very rocky terrain. Our family joined the many others in our area for a huge celebration every autumn upon the breast of the Goddess, Mount Juktas. I was remembering last years celebration; the huge bonfire, the ritual of thanksgiving for the Goddess’s abundance, the all night dancing, the music, and the laughter. I was planning a special gift to the Goddess for the next celebration. I would craft a small womanly figurine of clay with large ears, to take and present to her in her cave through the cleft in the rock next to the sanctuary. In this way, I would give thanks to her for her gift of hearing her voice, and ask for her continued communication.
Deep in thought, designing my figurine, I almost missed Sanama’s signal for stealth. Quietly we moved off the path. Was it a wild boar? I listened for sound of rooting, but then heard a clatter of loosened rocks. It was a lone ibex on the cliff above the line of bushes where we crouched. We would split. Two to quietly find position at the top of the ridge, and wait for a clear shot as the ibex climbed. The other two would stand at the base of the cliff to guard against the ibex’s decent. I was with Sanama, with bows ready silently creeping from bush to bush closer to the cliff. Carefully, we kept downwind and invisible to the grazing ibex above us, as we awaited my sister finding position. My heart pounded in my ears as I prayed to the ibex to share his body with us. I promised to perform the ritual of rebirth for him and honor his death. Then it happened, he turned carefully picking his way down the steep rock. He emerged, just a stone’s throw from our position. Slowly I pulled my bow taunt, and just as I let my arrow fly, his eyes locked into mine. Love filled my heart, flooding my eyes, and choking my throat. The arrow struck true and was soon followed by a hit from Sanama. The ibex started a leap then fell motionless to the ground. Sanama leaped forward to cut his jugular and put him out of any pain, but his heart no longer beat. My arrow had pierced it. Sanama looked at me in surprise and shouted her congratulations, but I just stood frozen looking at the scene I was no longer part of.
I felt the spirit hovering over the body, watching, and waiting. With deep reverence, I approached the body of the ibex and knelt at his side. Quietly I thanked him for his gift of meat, skin, and bones sprinkling him with fresh water and a pinch of precious sea salt. Gently Sanama helped me to remove his stomach and place a couple of rounded stones within it to symbolize his welcome rebirth. Giving thanks to the Mother Goddess who nurtures all of her animals and her people, we buried the stomach into the soil and blessed it with the blood.
We tied the ibex body to a stout carrying staff and turned homeward bound. Sanama was saying how good it would smell, stewing in the large bronze cooking cauldron our family owned. Everyone chatted of my skillful shot as we carried the ibex down the path. I however, knew it was not only my hand, but also a special gift of the Goddess.
I remember the day I first met the Mycenaeans. Our sailors were bringing them to our temple to make a trade alliance. They had escorted them to our homeland in a special four-ship convoy of two freighters and two warships. They were impressive sturdy ships with single masts, square sails, and oars for times when wind was calm. Our sea people brought them down the paved avenue, one of the many achievements of our labors; it measures a constant 4 2/3 measures in width its entire length. Many people lining the top of the embankments holding javelins and staffs looking down on them and yelling. I am sure they were intimidated even when it was obviously a festive occasion. To our northern gateway they came, then they stopped, transfixed at the sight of a huge looming bull in full charge guarding our gateway. They were giants standing a foot over our tallest people, yet they were in awe as they were lead through our great halls. Processions of tribute, fierce bulls, lions and griffins greeted them at the many endless turns it took to bring them into the meeting hall. The impression was one of ingenuity, wealth, and strength; grandmother smiled as the plan unfolded.
I had the special honor of serving my grandmother, an ancient wise woman, who had served our people as a high priestess for many years. She had confided in me the plan of our people to create economic dependence upon us among the surrounding countries. We would supply not only their needs, but also beauty and a taste of the comforts of civilization with our superior fleet and trade routes. We would keep them ignorant of the temperament of the Lady of the Sea and show sufficient skill and strength so as not to invite attack. We were well aware of the nature of these savages from the refugees that had arrived bloody and broken to our peaceful haven many years ago, but they had seemed to soften a bit over the many years.
Our highest level priestess and priests were present. Some priestesses carried the holy labyris while some priests carried their sacred maces. I almost burst out laughing when I heard one of them remark on the number of weapons that we had. Did he really think our sacred tools were weapons? Then, would you believe their leader, Theseus started to offer tribute to a single priest? They were really confused, fortunately we were prepared and several of our attendants intercepted. Saving the awkwardness of the moment, they set the gifts before the platform of High Priestesses.
One High Priestess carrying her labyris then strode forward to the Horns of Consecration and placed the labyris between them to signify the beginning of ritual and the festivities could now begin. In unison, the officiating priestesses and priests then stood. The High Priestesses all wore beautifully worked robes mostly with floral or sea life designs and the wide open front showing their full breasts. The sacred knot tied at the back of the neck showed their high rank and signified the importance of this occasion. The highest-ranking priests were also dressed in their finest long robes with the diagonal bands across the front and tassels hanging down. All were neatly barbered with trimmed beards, short bangs across the face and long hair in the back. Several priests and priestess carrying food and drink then filed forward in hide skirts in a procession before the platform of the High Priestesses and Priests for blessing. It was an elegant procession from my position at my grandmother’s side, and I felt elegant myself. I was wearing a long robe with embroidered butterflies that Grandmother had presented to me just before the ritual. I loved the color of the butterflies as they seemed to dance across the robe and their symbolism of life, death, and rebirth seemed so appropriate on the occasion.
After the blessing of the foods and drinks, all was laid out on the huge tables. Steaming fish, octopus, mollusks, and sea vegetables, roasted goat, pig, and calf were served on one table. Barley and chickpeas, wheat and parsley marinated in spices and olive oil, vetch and pigeon peas sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, olives, and deserts made with grapes, figs, dates, almonds, and pistachios filled the next table. Next, huge pithos of wine, mead, and juices lined the last table. My stomach growled its appreciation, as all the delicate scents mixed in the air, and I could hardly wait to serve mine and my grandmother’s plates. Attendants served those needing or wanting assistance from the platform area, then the tables were open to all. It seemed as though the foreigners hadn’t eaten in weeks the way they rushed upon the food as soon as Theseus gave them leave of their places, but I could sympathize with their eagerness.
Soon music started up as lyres, rattles, and pipes were brought in. Then the dancers spinning and whirling about circled the center hearth. The hearth is sacred in the homes of the Mycenaeans, and we had placed it here to make them at home. They had originated from a much colder climate and brought the architectural design of a central hearth with them. People laughed, sang, and clapped as the merry making grew and grew. There were exhibitions of boxing and wrestling, which were our chief sports besides bull leaping. Some of the foreigners took their places in the competitions. We were careful to keep it a light sport as many had consumed a quantity of our delicious mead and wines.
I could see Grandmother had seen enough of the festivities and was tiring. She nodded to another of the high priestesses, speaking a language without words, then patted my hand as a signal to depart. Aname and I took her litter up into the far eastern quarters reserved for the older higher ranking priestesses and their companions. I serviced her in the bathroom, which was equipped with a flushing stone toilet and a small wash basin. The drainage system for the temple was another of our engineering achievements with each terracotta pipe tapered at the end to fit into the next pipe, creating enough pressure to keep it free flowing. I assisted her in removing her long robe, intricately patterned in designs of mollusk shells and gentle waves, and eased her soft linen gown over her head. Still in silence, I handed her the small bronze mirror and smoothed her long graying hair as she sat on the corner of the wooden frame of her bed. I anointed her legs and feet with the special herbal oil that Aname made for her, and finally relaxed she spoke. The Goddess had shown her several possible futures branching off from this event, like the tangled branches of an old olive tree. Although she had seen the greed and desire in their eyes, she was satisfied that their fear of our powerful Goddess, the ingenuity and intelligence of our people, and the sea itself would keep them at bay. We would enjoin in a treaty with them to supply our aromatic oils, medicines such as silphium, dittany, and snake venom, priestess healers, seers, and artists, as well as ceramics and pottery. Thus began their treaty with the Labyrinth, meaning the House of the Double Axe. And so it was for many years.
My grandmother served with her younger sister, my grandaunt in the temple on the panel of high-ranking priestesses. While past the age where she could embody the Goddess, her position was very demanding in these times. She managed not only teaching and instruction, but also directed public works to be done for the community, leased land parcels for the Goddess and managed their produce, governed trading alliances and relations with several foreign countries, and figured prominently in many religious rituals. A messenger arrived in the early morning with the news that she had passed into spirit, and to ask my mother to attend a council meeting that afternoon. I sat still, looking at my half-eaten breakfast. I loved my grandmother and I would miss her. I remembered her wrinkled lips as they gave way to a half smile, and her calm voice as she gave her sage advice. Tears welled into my eyes; even though I knew she would be welcomed back into the Goddess and had to die in order to be reborn into a new body, I wanted her here now. Finally I walked out of the yard and down toward the creek. I had decided upon my gift for her voyage upon the boat of the dead.
Once at the creek I quickly found suitable clay and settled on a large flat rock near the water. I fashioned a bell shaped vessel with three protrusions near the top. When held upright, it resembled a priestess in invocation, face upturned and arms upraised. When held upside down, it resembled the udders of the sacred cow and would pour forth life-giving milk. This would I present to my Grandmother at the primary burial.
In a couple of days, all of my extended family had gathered at the beehive shaped tomb of Archanes for the burial. Many priestesses and priests were there dressed in their best robes to wish her well on her journey. Then her body was brought forth on a litter carried by four men dressed in leather skirts; their muscles glistened as the sun shown on their oiled skin. She lay peaceful in a red robe embroidered in brightly colored butterflies and horned beetles signifying her upcoming rebirth. An ivory handled bronze mirror lay in her hand and a gold signet ring rested on a chain around her throat. I knew that ring so well. It pictured the time the Goddess visited her as she visited the mountain spring, so many years ago.
Each of us came forward to speak to her spirit, of course we would be able to commune with her over the next few years as her spirit would return to her body until she adjusted to her new life and her body turned to dust. But this first time felt so important, I presented my cup unto her pouring a drop of sacred milk upon her lips, and taking some of the red ochre I sprinkled a spiraling pattern upon her womb. Her words came into my ears “Don’t worry my child, it is comfortable here. My joints don’t pain me and my eyes see so well. Thank you for your gift, and visit me if you have need.” I saw the light of the beginning and felt the dance within my soul. Yes, everything would be just fine.
Soon her body was taken west through the tomb entrance, and placed in the fetal position in a large pithos. The pithos of course represented the womb of the Goddess, and my grandmother was awaiting the light rising in the east and rebirth into a new world. Occasionally, I would visit her there, talk with her and gaze upon my favorite picture. A picture of the Goddess visiting her children was painted on a wooden box. It showed a gleaming chariot being pulled by prancing griffins, and the Goddess standing firmly within it. Those were special quiet times for my soul. But time passed, and I felt less need to visit, and soon she no longer had need of her body and all that remained were the bones.
The second burial was a big event. The priestesses ritually cleansed the bones, keeping only the femurs and the skull in a large area with remains of other previous ancestors. Everyone celebrated the success of my grandmother in navigating into the land of spirit, and a big feast was planned. Priestesses blessed sacrificed goats and cows and platters of vegetables and fruit. Priests entered into the chamber for the making of wine; it was a secret ceremony that only the men engaged in. I had the honor of serving in the sacred bread making ceremony that only women knew. Lovely aromas filled the air as the feast came together. Soon laughter, music, and gaiety filled the air as we ate and drank in honor of my grandmother.
As you know, granddaughter, each person has been blessed with different gifts from the Goddess, and yours is a most special gift. I as a young woman was invited to work as an artist in the temple. My work was to make sacred pottery to honor the Goddess. I was overjoyed, as I loved to feel the clay slipping through my fingers and feel a life come of its own into the form. It was a beautiful setting to create within. All rooms faced the open courtyard, and from where I sat in my camp chair by my turning wheel, I could look out upon the distant double peak of Mount Juktas, the breasts of the Goddess. Butterflies and birds darted about in the many flowers and herb gardens planted in the temple yards. The temple was so alive in those days, and I could feel the pulse of the Goddess as I worked the clay into swirling, whirling designs of her fine cups, bowls, and platters. I ground paints from red ochre, yellow ochre, black charred bone, and blue copper tinted glass to bring depth and beauty to the designs. Then during the last few years of my work as a potter, I learned the skill of faience where the work was fired twice with a fine quartz grain glaze. The result was a sturdy piece that indeed looked alive.
There were many other artisans working in those rooms by the courtyard, and I would take joy and sometime inspiration from them as I wandered from doorway to doorway. There were women and men working at looms weaving the most beautiful designs, and they would create the most beautiful robes for Priestesses and Goddess figures. Stonecutters would take huge rough pieces of raw stone and create elegant libation vessels, some standing as high as your waist. Then taking the magnifying crystals, they could cut gems no bigger that your small fingernail into brilliant shapes. They also designed scenes upon sealstones reflecting special events in peoples’ lives. Metal workers formed knives, axes, chisels, sickles, hammers, and cooking utensils among many other items. Some of these were beautifully inlaid with gold or silver. It was a center of activity, all done in the glory of the Great Goddess and by her skilled hands.
Being skilled in writing and in working with clay forms brought me recognition with several of the temple priestesses, and soon I was invited to mark records of some of their business transactions. I remember carefully making the marks in the wet clay; “This the priestess holds, and solemnly declares that the Goddess has true ownership, but the plot holders, the enjoyment of the plots in which it is laid out 3 57/60 units”. Then glancing up, I saw approval in the face of the High Priestess on duty at that time. I wondered at that, but not for long. There are many qualities that are sought for in Priestesses; a head for business, an ability to discern truth, an ability to walk in the worlds of the mystical and humankind without fear, conscious application of oneself in everything one does, a deep concern for the welfare of others, and a deep love of the Goddess among other qualities. I had been watched and chosen.
I had been chosen not only to work in the temple, but also to take on the duties of a Priestess. I remember the smile that constantly painted my face for days as I anxiously waited the time I was to publicly declare my decision to the High Priestess. As if I would decline such an honor and opportunity to grow in the light of the Goddess. The fateful day finally arrived. I dressed in my white linen robe sewn just for this meeting on this evening. Barely pausing to notice the strange vacantness of the house, I hurriedly walked to the temple as the sun and moon were setting in the western sky. The air seemed cool and fresh, the rays of the setting sun reached out, streaming upward across the sky between clouds of purple and brilliant pinks. It was a beautiful ending, and I drank in the essence of her love. As the evening star appeared on the horizon, the gate of the temple opened for me to enter.
Although there were many artisans who worked inside the temple, and many visitors from the surrounding land, there were many times where entry into the temple was restricted to initiated Priestesses and Priests. This was one of those times. My sole footsteps echoed along the passageways as I passed the frescos of the eastern side of the temple. Scenes of mighty bulls charging as graceful men and women caught hold of their horns and leaped over onto their backs, and then off again behind their plummeting hooves, greeted my eyes. Many times I had witnessed these acrobatics during the height of the celebrations at the festivals of rebirth in the spring. I knew the intense training the acrobats underwent with the bulls so that such leaps could be made with confidence. Yet the scene always aroused feelings of apprehension mixed with excitement, like each time was the first. Scenes of valleys covered in lilies and butterflies rising into the sky, brought peace and the assuredness that spring always follows the winter’s chill. Spring, the awakening of the Goddess after her annual period of rest. I reflected on my own feelings of excitement and the slight apprehension that pulled at me, and wondered at the rebirth this initiation might hold for me.
The adyton appeared on my left and I entered. I silently knelt down to a large basin of sweet smelling water that had been placed there. I inhaled the sweet fragrance. It calmed me and I gazed into the bowl. My eyes scanning my own reflection until it broke into ripples of light as I scooped some water into my hands and washed my face. I reflected on my desire to be worthy of the confidence the Priestesses had shown in me, and declared to myself that I was indeed ready. I stood and noticed a Priestess attendant stood by a small doorway. She offered a soft towel and requested my decision. A slight smile crosses her lips as I replied in the affirmative, and she offered me a cup containing a warm drink. The liquid was sweet yet bitter, and warmth seemed to spread across my middle. We stepped into a room with light coming in from many doors and a balcony completely surrounding the top. She instructed me to sit in the middle of the room and let the Goddess speak into my mind. A shadow seemed to cross behind her eyes, yet her smile and warm hand upon mine reassured me as I sat on the pillows lying there. She left the room and each door closed leaving me in complete silence and utter darkness.
The warmth in my middle seemed to expand, leaving my legs numb and my head swimming. Things seemed to move about me, similar to the spinning world that followed the twirling antics of my childhood dances. I wasn’t sure if I remained on the pillows or not. I groped in the darkness to touch my legs, my arms, my face; I seemed to be all here. Where was here? Every sense seems awakened and alert. Sparkles of light seemed to rainbow across in front of my eyes. What was I supposed to be thinking about? Light then darkness flooded the room again and again. A dark hooded figure held the holy labyris, no it was gone, a laughing priest bringing in sheaves of wheat, the Goddess holding two serpents danced. Sweat trickled down my sides; the saltiness invaded my lips. Blood covered the horns of consecration; it covered me, what happened? The serpents crawled upon my body, out of my eye sockets; no it was worms, was I dead? A huge ostrich egg with serpents crawling around appeared and seemed to float into the room before disappearing, an olive branch laden with fruit, life again, life, fruit, light, darkness, light. A Priestess stands in invocation arms upraised, I stand, and my body is the uterus of the Goddess as is the pithos that holds the grain. The Goddess, the creator of the universe, she creates through us. The shield of 8 uniting the forces of below with the forces above in holy union. Milk flows from the breasts of the Goddess, and I drink of it. Light and darkness spin about me, the holy labyris appears between the horns of consecration. It was the Goddess with her arms upraised, her head seeing both ways, life and death, light and darkness, and through it all they are the same. I was dead, but I live, and I dance in the rain that falls from the sky.
The doors open and I am lying on the pillows. Was I dreaming? The Priestess enters the room and offers her hand for support. I smile as I start to get up and my legs buckle beneath me. She asks if the Goddess spoke to me. The words echo in my head; the Goddess spoke to me. Yes, the Goddess spoke, yes. Smiling we walk into the adjoining room where several Priestesses gather around me laughing and congratulating me. Things still seemed to whirl about somewhat, and excitement pumped through my veins. Then the High Priestess entered. Mother, it was mother, smiling she tied the sacral knot into my long black hair and her hug filled me with exhilaration and pride.
From that night on, things were the same but not. Still I worked with my pottery, but more and more I participated in ritual, and more and more I felt the Goddess stirring within my bosom. I delighted in the spring rituals held in her sacred groves where we danced, whirling and twirling in our flounced skirts decorated with crocus, lilies, dragonflies, or butterflies. Our breasts reflecting the fullness of the moon were open to the cool spring air. Our long loose hair flowed about our faces and bodies as we turned and stepped. I still savor the memory of the sweetness of the mead as the taste lingered on my tongue. The Goddess awakened as we danced and the earth quickened with life. Our offerings of sacred oil, mead, or our own sacred blood blessed the trees, whether they were olive, fig, or pomegranate, and bonded us together in this experience of life.
Of course, as you may have guessed, my gifts propelled me into work as a seer. Sometimes I was able to use the divination board made of ivory, gold, and crystal. Sometimes I employed hallucinogenic drink or smoke derived from the opium of the sacred poppy heads, but I was mostly successful just gazing into a quite pool of water beneath the pale light of the moon. One special time figures prominently within my memory. I had been sitting out in the courtyard gazing upon the distant mountains; the pale light of her full moon danced and wavered upon them. I was wondering if indeed if my breasts would ever fit comfortably in the large bodice of my new robe when I turned my attention to the pool of water at my feet. The haze of seeing clouded the water, then I saw a newborn babe suckling at my breast. You know that babe as your mother, but for me the thought was new and foreign at that time, yet comforting and intriguing. Although I had enjoyed the pleasures that a man can give a woman, I had yet to desire the offspring of a special man. But, this new thought pleasured and comforted my soul.
It was during the harvest festival that I first met Alessandro. I served as Priestess of the Goddess, receiving the first grains of the harvest and placing them within the hollowed out cups of the Kernos, the circular stone used to hold the first of the harvest for her blessing. The Priest pranced beneath the platform clothed in his ceremonial robes leading his procession of singers and musicians. Then there he was, sunlight glistening on his tanned skin. His white teeth flashed brightly as he laughed with the other men carrying scythes and harvest forks. His broad shoulders angled to a narrow waistline, and his muscles gave definition to his hairless back and chest. He hung loose and free within his loincloth, as he danced a few steps to the music of the pipes. I found myself thinking about caressing his muscular buttocks. I was definitely not doing my job here, and only by promising myself to seek him out later, was I able to refocus on my task.
The harvest was bountiful that year, and it took several hours of filling and sealing the large grain pithos which lay beneath the rooms of the western wing of the temple, the underworld. Here we stored honey, oil, wine, and grain or other fruits of harvest in the large pithos some standing more than the height of a man and carrying 18,000 gallons. We inventoried the harvest and portioned it out for immediate distribution and usage, trade, or use as seed for next year’s crops. We were truly blessed by her fruitfulness and had many extra pithos to use in trade. It was late in the evening before I could appear up at the festivities.
Quickly my eyes scanned the crowds. The feasting was almost complete; dishes once piled high with roasted meats and vegetables now stood almost bare. However, the spouts on the bottom of large wine pithos still flowed freely and people still danced and flowed to the music. Disappointment engulfed my playful spirit as I failed to see the elegant body of the young man I had daydreamed about earlier. Many people were coupled up by now, and several had already departed from the merry making for merry making of a more private sort. No longer in the mood for seeking out sexual pleasures, I filled my chalice with the red sweet wine and sought out a quiet slope where I could listen to the music and enjoy the majesty of the heavens.
All was not lost however; a Priestess has many connections. I gained knowledge that his name was Alessandro and that he was employed in the keeping and training of the bulls for the spring rites. His mother was also a Priestess in the temple, and although I rarely saw her, I knew her by her good reputation. Despite conversations with myself that perhaps this infatuation was a bit out of proportion, I vowed that I must get to know something about this man. I managed to get on the committee to oversee the preparations for the spring festivities, and soon made a trip with several other Priestesses down to the stables.
There I saw him again, even with his bare back turned to me I recognized him. His long dark wavy hair was pulled back, but a long loose curl hung to the side framing his face. His manner was calm, confident, and meditative as he gently caressed the neck of the huge bull standing in front of him. I imagined his gentle caresses on the side of my face, over my breasts, down my abdomen and I shuddered. Softly I made my way over to his side. Today he was dressed in only the codpiece held by the thin G-string and a small girdle encircling his waist. It was standard dress for the bull leaping sport, and left little for my imagination. A wave of energy spread through my loins and pulsed through my vagina; I had been daydreaming about making love to him for several months now. I managed to calm my heartbeat and phrase a question on how he had managed to obtain such a magnificent creature to train. His lips parted, flashing a warm smile, and as he turned my eyes locked into his. They were wide and brown with long curling eyelashes, but the most outstanding thing was that they were flecked with gold. The gold of ripened grain basking in the richness of fertile earth. His voice modulated up and down, but I was not hearing his words. I watched his lips moving and the emotions traveling across his elegant features. He was telling me of his passage into manhood and the hunt for this wild bull. He conveyed his fear at first of the on rushing bull, and the exhilaration of finally trapping him within the nets. Several young men had died over the many years in such excursions as these, but it seems that there comes a time that a man must prove himself to be a man, else a slow death ensues over him. But, this was a man to behold, beautiful in form, manner, and spirit.
Several weeks passed, in which I managed to sneak away briefly here and there from my many duties. Always I scurried down the worn road to the bull stables to spend a few fleeting moments with Alessandro. The name would sweep across my lips leaving a taste of sweetness and unfulfilled desire. He was increasingly busy in the training of the bulls for the upcoming games. Yet, I noticed an increasing need in him also, the need to touch me, the desire to linger as his lips touched mine. I felt the yearning arise and course through his body as we met and touched.
Finally the day of the spring festivities arrived. I was seated on the platform with a congregation of other Priestesses. People from the surrounding lands crowded onto the double staircases laughing, hugging, and visiting with friends. Children darted in and out of the roadway, excitedly awaiting the procession of the bulls. Then they came forward, women and men trainers, smiling and waving as the great beasts trotted along side. Eagerly my eyes sought out Alessandro. There he was; his skin oiled and shimmering as his muscular body strode forth, his eyes darkened and widened by the skillful application of tinted powder, his reddened lips smiled in his genuine happiness of the moment. His golden wrist bands rung together as he waved toward me. He wore rings in his ears, around his neck, his wrists, and his ankles all dazzling as they reflected the brilliant rays of sunlight. That moment seems forever frozen in time.
The bull games ensued. Alessandro gracefully grasped the horns of the swiftly charging bull and flipped over them as the bull tossed his head back. Lightly he landed on the back of the bull, then he executed another flip off the back of the bull into the waiting arms of his friend. Air rushed from my lungs, finally I could breath again, and he was safe. Other bulls and leapers came onto the field, and the Goddess herself walked over the fields of flowers, but it seems all just a blur as my mind occupied itself with plans and schemes of how to find Alessandro in the upcoming maze dance.
Huge mazes had been cut into the turf surrounding the temple. All the people would hold hands and dance in a great ring to form a great cone of energy and blessing for the Goddess and the land. Children would be laid on their bedding as they tired and fell asleep, but many of the blankets would come alive as men and women coupled together, adding their energy to the fields and surrounding lands. Soon I found myself in the deep maze, the smell of rich earth surrounded me and I felt part of it. People were laughing and holding on to each other as they began moving within the maze. Heads bobbing, bodies brushing one another, feet shuffling, and the serpent awoke and slithered through the maze. After awhile, I exited the maze as I knew I would never be able to find him in the shuffling sea of people. Expectation filled my body as I watched the line of joy and desire pulse past me within the trench of the maze. Black hair whirled, hands grasping bodies, laughter penetrated the roar of chatter, and monotonous yet ever-changing snake writhed before my eyes. Finally I saw him; his head tilted back in a chuckle as a woman pressed herself against him as she passed. Quickly I bounded into the crowd. I should be just ahead of him.
Reds, yellows, whites, blues, blacks, in all forms of creatures swirled before my eyes as robes swished back and forth. Stumbling, I fell against a man, his strong arms enclosed around me, and his lips sought out mine in a most ardent kiss. Focusing my eyes I recognized my Alessandro. Passion once coiled up inside me lashed out. My body pressed against his, my hands seeking his tight buttocks to draw him closer still. My lips gently sucked his ear lobes and found the sweet saltiness of his neck. I felt his manhood pressing against my thigh, hot and pulsing; his codpiece long lost in the crowds. Seeing an exit ramp, he pulled me upward into the cool freshness of the night air.
I found the blankets I had hidden down the slope, and firmly pulled him to me. Intoxicated by the swelling of the drums, his passionate kisses, and the feel of his bare flesh rubbing against mine, I found myself falling deeper and deeper into his very soul. My breasts tingled with pleasure as he licked around their fullness and enfolded my nipples in his warm wetness. Passionate, yet gentle and skilled, he ignited my deep desire. I groaned and writhed, my hips rising and falling against his muscular thighs. Softly he tickled my clitoris, and pleasure coursed through my body. The stars and moon seemed to spin in the sky above as I gasped for air. As he withdrew, my body arched up toward his, and tension gripped my entirety. His warm tongue traced the creases and folds of my vulva, then pausing to gently suck my clitoris, my awareness exploded, enraptured in the flying fragments of ecstasy. The warm calmness that flooded through my body was only a brief respite, as I felt his body tumbling with mine back and forth over the tossed blankets. His cod warm and wet slipped easily over my yoni reigniting my passions. A fury of lust pulsed through my veins and thrusting my hips upward, I felt his phallus penetrate. Through tumbling rounds of bliss, I gave myself up again and again to his pleasures, until I felt him at last erupt deep within me. Collapsing into the unfathomed depths of a sea of euphoria, we lay together quietly savoring the complete release and freedom we felt. At that point I concluded that he could satisfy my every sexual longing, and I went to him again and again, week in and week out, year after year.
It was during those many happy years that I decided that I wanted a child by Alessandro. He had very good qualities intelligent, gentle, handsome, good bloodlines, and deeply reflective. I had stopped taking the tea of the plant that has the small lacy flowers, but my monthly blood still flowed. Earlier I had received a vision that I would bear a child, but this vision was not yet realized. I decided to visit the Womb of the Goddess and await a message from her. I wondered if this was the right time to bear a child, and I wondered if Alessandro was the right man to mate with for this purpose.
It was springtime and the fields were alive with flowers, insects, and birds. I felt alive and as fructiferous as the Goddess herself, and made the journey down to the Cave in exuberance. You know of this sacred cave as the Cave of Eileithyia, but then it was simply the Womb of the Goddess. I feel it is quite strange how the Goddess is now divided into different Goddesses and Gods; all with different names too. You know there is only one, but now we have Goddesses of Britomartis the mother, Diktynna the daughter, Asasara, Asasarame, and Potnia, and Gods of Hippolytos, Velchanos, Paiawon, and Kouros. Soon they will be further known as Goddesses of Artemis, Diana, Athena, Aphrodite, Venus, Hera, Rhea, and Ariadne, and also Gods of Poseidon, Hermes, Apollo Pujan, Zeus, Linos, Plutos, and Dionysos. It seems that they take a hand and say that this is not part of the body. Ah well, you know that there is only she who is all, who always has been, and who shall always be.
Now as I said, I easily made this walk to the sea in the morning hours, so full of vitality was I. There, bathing in the salty waters, I prepared myself to go and meet with the Goddess. Reverently I approached the cave and took a fruit of the fig tree that grew outside the entrance and blew the large seashell to announce my presence. Then I entered the darkness. Cool damp air greeted my nostrils and breathed deeply of her. As my eyes adjusted, I saw the large phallus rising central within her womb. I went forth and coated the phallus with the gift of honey I had brought. I must confess I was thinking of Alessandro and how the honey of life would sometime seep forth from his standing phallus. I took some on my finger and licked its sweetness. Then I approached the quiet pool in the rear of the cave and set the fig before its rim. I calmed my mind and carefully formed my question, then prepared for the seeing. I was resolved to stay there fasting and meditating for however long it took, but she did not keep me long waiting.
The winds of the cave whispered around and through me, and I seemed to fall into the glassy blackness of the pool. There within my dream, there were many figs lying upon the ground. Some withering upon stones and others were upon soil. One was split open and the red blood containing many seeds seeped out upon the land. Of these seeds many were dry and impotent, yet some still contained the light of life. Then the hand of the Goddess came forth and selected one seed of these many. “This my child, of all these many, do I choose to grow and become a tree. For within this seed is the best of the mother. Likewise, it is within you. You have not long to wait for the seed I have selected to ripen within you. Go now and seek forth the man you love.” Awakening from my dream, I dared to breathe. Seeing the cave again before me, I looked down and the fig was split open revealing the many seeds within the rich red pulp. I understood her ways, and I gave thanks for her kindness.
Bounding forth from the cave, I wanted to shout and leap into air. Instead, I started a gleeful run toward home. The sun was low in the sky and it would surely be nightfall before I arrived there, but it mattered not to me. Suddenly, I saw a small Dittany plant, and I paused to collect a small amount of its leaves and again give thanks to the Goddess, for I knew in this another confirmation of the truth to come. This, grandchild is the story of the choosing of your mother, or her choosing of us.
Your mother was but a young girl when the disaster struck. It had been a harsh summer, and the drought had caused the land to appear as a barren wasteland. Trees and brush, brown and craving rain painted the landscape. However, this death was but one of the portends of the death to come. Our seers had horrible glimpses of a mountain bursting forth into flame, and huge walls of water rising up and ravaging the land. Soon we knew the volcano central to our sister colony on Thera was to erupt. Of course they all evacuated. Many to our island and along with the many refugees from the mainland violence, our population here in Knossos peaked at 100,000 people. Even with this heavy drain on our resources, we could have survived, as our stores were plentiful and our trade still lucrative.
However, it was not only Thera that was touched. Within only thirty minutes of the explosion on Thera, a wall of water 20 times the size of a man rushed upon our land. A large portion of our sailing vessels and the shipyards, which built them, were completely destroyed. Whole coastal towns were washed away in its ferocious wake. But even that was not the whole of it. As the ground shook in reverberating echoes, temples fell. Fires swept the parched land, starting from unattended lamps and candles, and people ran in terror of the enveloping disasters.
Many moons passed, but we did not see them, as poisonous ash filled the skies. The deadly white snow fell upon our lands and our seas, choking out the life of plants and animals of the sea and land. The air stank with unattended decay. Death littered our beaches, our fields, our mountains, and our towns. People stared with eyes unseeing and minds numbed into unfeeling. All of our remaining resources were spent in simply attempting to maintain life in our people. Stores of food and drink were distributed and rapidly depleted. The majority of our temple treasures were sent out in our few remaining ships to seek trade, not for valuable raw materials, but for food. Food, simply food, we sought for the most meager survival.
Survive we did, but we were left most vulnerable and weak. It was obvious now that the Goddess had finally tumbled deep into her slumber. Her temples were not rebuilt except for a small portion of Knossos required for the most necessary transactions. Most visions of her were populated with snakes, telling of her decent into the underworld for her period of rest. Ah yes, we tried to arouse her from her deep sleep, but only in vain were our attempts.
In the last of our meetings the remaining Priestesses remitted to this truth. It was decided that we should sanctify her temples and commit them back into the land from which they came. Her holy womb would be sealed back into the hillside until time came again for her rebirth. Remaining valuables were removed, as so not to invite disruption from invading forces, and her holy chambers were purified and sanctified with fire. But your young eyes have only seen the results of this history, have they not?
It was only a few years ago that we buried my sister in all the glories of the old Knossos. Her body anointed with the sweetest of oils and dressed in her finest robe, sewn with the fine beads of gold. Her jewelry flickered in the dim candlelight as we closed the lid to her clay casket.
Now I am the last of the Priestesses of old, and it is the Goddess that acts through me in sending you forth into this world, for I would cleave you into my breast as the last of my worldly treasures. However, I shall send you, as I have others throughout this known world, to teach love of the land and to preserve her memory, to Lebadeia near Thebes, to Athens, to Sicily, to Tunisia, and to Palestine. Perhaps it is there that you shall find peace and joy, for that you shall not find here.
I feel I must tell you that the future that will come to us is worse yet. There will come horsemen from the North that will attack and prevail over our people and these Mycenaens. With these men the most vial and violent among them led. They shall come with their Gods of Lightening and Fire and their hate of the Goddess. They shall come and a great darkness shall descend upon all people, for Love shall no longer be the Law. It is War that becomes the Law of the land, as might becomes right.
Granddaughter let me gaze into your eyes. You have the gift of vision also do you not my dear? Yes, yes, it is sometimes a difficult gift, but continue to look into the quiet ponds and the leaping flames, and let her speak to you. Know that she is your guide and protector. Now keep into yourself these stories that I have shared with you. When the time comes, whisper them into the ears of poets and gentle people, then forever shall she be remembered, and people shall know hope.
“Minoan Religion: Ritual, Image, and Symbol”
by Nanno Marinatos, Copyright 1993, University of South Carolina Press.
“The Mystery of Minoan Civilization”
by Leonard Cottrell, Copyright 1971, The World Publishing Company, New York, New York.
“Dawn of the Gods”
by Jacquetta Hawkes, Copyright 1968, Random House, New York, New York.
“Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete”
by Rodney Castleden, Copyright 1990, Routledge, New York, New York.
“Crete Reclaimed: A Feminist Exploration of Bronze Age Crete”
by Susan Evasdaughter, Copyright 1996, Heart of Albion Press.
“Crete and Mycenae: Museum Without Walls”
Hans-Joachim Hossfeld, Kartes Video Communications.
“Ancient Civilizations for Children: Ancient Aegean”
Andrew Schlessinger, Schlessinger Media