Somewhere in this thread is a question about the cave of Eileithyia
outside Iraklion. My own
visit there was frustrating because access is through "the priest in the
village", which we
didn't learn until later. There are two roads that go near to the cave.
below it and passes by the village, which is presumably where the priest
is. The other road is
above the cave, and has an abandoned, unkempt parking lot which, at the
time of my visit in
1996, had a very battered sign indicating that the cave was nearby.
Apparently, it was once a more curated site, and now is fairly
neglected. One of the members of
my party was dressed for hiking and scurried down the rough path. She
found the cave by a small
tree, but it was barred and locked to us. By this time, it was dusk and
we regrettably abandoned the search, hoping to come back later in our
stay on Crete.
An outstanding but out-of-print resource for exactly your type of trip
is Goddess Sites: Europe,
a simply marvelous, detailed, practical guide, by Anneli S. Rufus and
Kristan Lawson, published
a few years back by Harper Collins. I used it extensively in planning
the tour I led through Greece - you could simply go to the sites they
mention and have a
If you go to Crete, try to get to the lagoon of Elounda, believed to the
home of Britomartis,
the mermaid-goddess/Artemis figure who is also the inspiration for
Aphaia, who occupies a
beautifully preserved temple on the island of Aigina. But I digress.
very peaceful and the sense of the ancient goddess is very clear. The
sunken city of Olos is
beneath the waters, and there was a temple of Isis there, but not
I also highly recommend Dodona, high in the mountains, the site of the
inhabitation in that part of Greece. It's beautiful and a very
inspiring, healing place. A
temple to Dione, the mother of Aphrodite, is there. If you go, don't
archaeological museum in Ioannina, where the lead votive tablets from
believers at Dodona are
You can see some articles I've done on these places at
Lagoon of Mermaids
and http://gogreece.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa091797.htm Dodona -
It's great fun to help you plan your quest! Thanks for the opportunity!
Margaret Hayon wrote:
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > Hi Margaret and thanks for your message.
> > I'm not heading in the directions you mentioned this time, but I
will keep your message for
future reference. I had read that Cyprus was the birthplace of
Aphrodite, and so I was
interested in going there, but I'm cramming quite a lot into 5 weeks as
> > What is the connection between the Virgin Mary and goddess cults?
> > BTW: yes I am new to the list as well, first time I located the
list, first posting, so I
was very pleased to get a reply. thanks again for your message
> > cheers, Kate
> Hi Kate, Thanks for your reply.
> Re connection between Virgin Mary and goddess cults - I'm not a
scholar in this field, only
talking from my own general knowledge and guesswork (maybe there are
others on the list who are
more learned on this topic and can enlighten us both?) According to my
> very simple understanding - in pre-Christian times there were a lot of
pagan cults around the
Middle East, including goddess-cults (Astarte - Ashtoreth - Asherah -
Aphrodite - Isis and so
on). When Christianity started spreading and imposing itself, the
> missionaries took over pre-Christian sites and rededicated them to
Christian saints. (It
happened in many other parts of the world too - like Celtic Britain;
Mexico and South America;
and undoubtedly other places.) So the local pagans, after conversion to
> new religion, transferred to the new cult-figures the beliefs and
devotions they had formerly
offered to their old deities. The priests of the new religion tried to
suppress the old faiths,
but they kind of carried on anyway in a new guise. So, for instance,
> where they had formerly worshipped Aphrodite, they redirected their
prayers and devotions to
the main female figure in the new religion, the Virgin Mary.
> I've probably given a vast over-simplication here! I am open to
comment and correction from
the scholars on the list.
> I'm reading at present "When God was a Woman", by Merlin Stone - her
theory of how the ancient
goddess-religions of the Middle East became suppressed by patriarchal
brought in by Indo-European invaders from further north. Other books
> that I have ordered from Amazon Books: "The Hebrew Goddess" by
Raphael Patai, and "Sophia:
Goddess of Wisdom" by Caitlin Matthews. Would anyone like to comment
on these books, or
suggest further reading on this theme?