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In the Footsteps of the Goddess An Initiatory Journey to Crete and Mainland Greece

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In the Footsteps of the Goddess: An Initiatory Journey to Crete and Mainland Greece

with Veronica Goodchild and Svetlana Meritt

May 18 – June 1, 2018

 

This is an in-depth journey of inner transformation and renewal, offered to support the re-emergence of the Divine Feminine. The goal of our Pilgrimage is to travel “back” in time and be inspired by the values of the high Minoan culture of ancient Crete as a living presence, in order to move “forward” in our lives with renewed vision and purpose. In mythology May is often seen as the month when the Goddess returns from the “underworld” or “death” of winter. Here is your opportunity to descend into the depths of your own being, accompanied by the rich symbolism and energy of the Minoan culture, Cretan myths, and other sanctuaries.

 

Day 1 (Friday May 18th):

Meet at Heraklion GDM Megaron Hotel by afternoon check-in time. Megaron is both a historical monument and Heraklion’s only luxury hotel, once the center of political, social, financial, and philosophical life.

5 P.M. Meet for ritual – Stepping into Sacred Space: what is the intention for your Journey?

6 P.M. Welcome aperitif and introductions on the roof-top terrace with exquisite views of the old harbor.

7 P.M. Group dinner at Peskesi (Greek for “gift”), the best restaurant in Heraklion. The owner Manos Vozikakis has dedicated his life to recreating traditional dishes prepared by the ancient Minoans. After dinner, enjoy live music at OPUS next door. Overnight in Heraklion. (3 nights bed and breakfast.)

 

Day 2 (Saturday May 19th):

9:30 A.M. Visit to the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, a jewel of a museum which houses an extensive collection of Minoan artifacts. We invite you to walk around the Museum as a stroll with the Muses, the imaginal figures at the origins of the word “museum.” How is your own imagination, authority, and memory being stirred by access to these ever-present energies? Which Cretan myths speak to your soul? Ariadne, Lady of the Labyrinth? Dionysus and the Bull?

Lunch: individual choice.

P.M. Free. Suggestions: walk around historical center or treat yourself to a spa at the hotel (extra fee).

5 P.M. Talk by Jack Dempsey, Ph.D., on the Knossos Calendar.

7 P.M. Group dinner at Parasties (meaning “traditional Cretan cooking fire”). Overnight in Heraklion.

 

Day 3 (Sunday May 20th):

8 A.M. Visit to Knossos Temple Palace. Thanks to Sir Arthur Evans’ intuitive and unorthodox approach to archaeological reconstruction, Knossos, the most important center of Minoan civilization, offers a unique experience of immersion in the past. Frescoes of exquisite beauty have been restored, many of which symbolize the Goddess in her various aspects, such as dolphins, griffins, double ax (or “labrys” in Greek, the origin of the word “labirynth”).

1 P.M. Group lunch at “Elia & Diosmos” at Skalani, a traditional village in the hills of the Heraklion Wine Country.

3 P.M. visit to Mt. Yiouhtas Peak Sanctuary. Ritual: becoming one with nature in all its aspects; connecting with the spirit of the Cretan land as a felt experience of the Goddess; reaching into our own chthonic energies with the bull, the sky energies with the hawk, and feeling the play, intelligence, and flow of life with the dolphins – all symbols of the goddess we encountered at the Knossos Temple.

Dinner: individual choice. Suggestion: 5th floor roof-top restaurant in the hotel. Overnight in Heraklion.

Day 4 (Monday May 21th):

8:30 A.M. Drive to Dicteon Cave (approx. 1. hour), one of the most sacred places of worship on Crete, the legendary birthplace of Zeus and the site of Orphic Mysteries. Walk from the bus parking to the cave (15 min uphill; optional ride on donkey.) Ritual: silent walk up to the cave entrance, then descent into the womb of the Mother Goddess, evoking the descent of Orpheus into the Underworld; dissolving old patterns; rebirthing into a new self and a new vision.

1:30 P.M. Group lunch at Taverna Spanis, overlooking the Lasithi Plateau. Drive to Kato Zakros on the eastern shore of Crete (about 3 hours).

Dinner: individual choice.

Overnight at Terra Minoika and Stella’s Traditional Accommodation, beautifully decorated, set in unforgettable surroundings. The owners, Elias and Stella, are the driving force behind local ecological and environmental movements. (4 nights bed and breakfast.)

Day 5 (Tuesday May 22th):

FREE DAY: beach; journaling; meditation, walking—time to integrate what has happened on the journey so far.

Lunch: individual choice.

P.M. optional: Pelekita Cave—signs of Neolithic habitation. Beautiful views.

Group meeting to share dreams, images, experiences.

Group dinner at “Kato Zakros Bay.”

Overnight in Kato Zakros.

Day 6 (Wednesday May 23th):

9 A.M. Kato Zakros Temple Palace. Situated near the sea, this recently discovered (1962) and smallest of Crete’s four palatial temple-complexes was a major port in Minoan times, trading with Egypt, Cyprus, Anatolia, and Syria. Some major Minoan discoveries from the excavations. Ritual at the temple: the wild and unforgiving, raw landscape of this part of Crete invites us to face who we really are, facing our truth, and our deepest secrets and shadow aspects, with Dionysus as our guide.

Lunch: individual choice. Suggestion: “Amnesia” on the beach.

P.M. free: beach time, walk. Optional: hike to Traostalos, Minoan peak sanctuary that commands breathtaking views of the whole eastern coast. (1 . hours of steep climb).

Dinner: individual choice. Overnight in Kato Zakros.

Day 7 (Thursday May 24th):

9:30 A.M. Drive to Zakros Gorge, also known as the Valley of the Dead, after many ancient burial sites in the caves along the canyon walls. Hike through the gorge to Kato Zakros (about 2+ hours). A lovely walk and not difficult as it does not have much elevation (the hardest part is over some boulders). Meditation on the hike: connecting with the ancestors.

Lunch: individual choice.

P.M. Beach at Xerokambos, the most pristine beach in eastern Crete, with spectacular views on the way. Optional: clay bath at the beach.

Dinner: individual choice. Overnight in Kato Zakros.

Day 8 (Friday May 25th):

9:30 A.M. Drive to Matala. Enroute, stop at the coastal town of Mirtos (about 2 hours), to meet with the chef Yiannis Zervakis. He will take us for an herb gathering expedition to Sarakinas Gorge, where his grandmother taught him to collect herbs for cooking and healing. Yiannis will then cook us lunch at his grandmother’s house in Mithi village, following traditions of his ancestors.

4 P.M. Continue to Matala on the southern coast (about 2. hours), the ancient Minoan harbor for nearby Phaestos. Matala draws its fame first from mythology— Zeus-turned-bull swam ashore here with abducted Europa—and more recently from a hippy colony nested in the Neolithic caves above the beach.

Dinner: individual choice.

Overnight at Hotel Nikos & Hotel Sunshine. (2 nights bed and breakfast.)

Day 9 (Saturday May 26th):

9 A.M. Visit to Phaestos Temple Palace, considered the second most important Minoan palatial complex after Knossos. It is situated in an extraordinarily beautiful and peaceful location with sweeping views of the Messara Plain and Mt. Psiloritis. There is an ancient temple to Gaia/ Rhea here, though out of bounds due to excavations and repairs. Ritual: we will connect with the spirit of the goddess and her temple priestesses, the Melissae, or “bee priestesses.”

Lunch individual choice. Option: Taverna Agios Ioannis, south of Phaestos.

P.M. Matala Caves: Honeycombed in the sandstone cliffs, these caves were a center of a hippy community that included Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, as well as one of the earliest ecological movements.

Group dinner at “Mystical View” with unforgettable sunset views over Kommos Beach. Overnight in Matala.

Day 10 (Sunday May 27th):

A.M. Drive to Heraklion to get a flight to Athens around 1 pm. Bus transfer from Athens International airport to our elegant hotel, the Acropolis View.

P.M. Walk around the bottom of Acropolis Hill to begin to attune to the extraordinary energies of the Acropolis area. Suggestions: visit the Aesclepian sanctuary, Theatre of Dionysus, and the Temple to Hephaistos.

Group dinner at Attikos Restaurant, a roof-top restaurant with good views of the Parthenon from the southern side.

Overnight in Athens. (3 nights bed and breakfast.)

Day 11 (Monday May 28th):

A.M. Acropolis Archaeological Museum.

Lunch: individual choice.

P.M. Visit to Acropolis Hill: Parthenon, Erechtheon, Temple to Athena. Even though overtaken by tour groups, Acropolis is still a thoroughfare of strong Earth energies that intersect at this hill, making it an energetic beacon in the landscape. This sacred hill was dedicated to the worship of Athena Parthenos (the Virgin), the symbol of the human aspiration for wisdom (Sophia). Her temple was built with the precise astronomical orientations and according to the mathematical ratios of sacred geometry. Meditation at the foot of the hill on the energy alignments that connect various sacred sites in Greece.

Group dinner: Athene Restaurant, with inspiring views of beautifully-lit Acropolis from the eastern side.

Overnight in Athens.

 

Day 12 (Tuesday May 29th):

A day visit to the island of Aegina.

9 A.M. Transfer to Piraeus, then board a ferry to Aegina (about 1. hours). Visit to the Temple to Aphaia, the only extant temple to the ancient Minoan Goddess Diktynna. Magnificently located on the top of a mountain, this palpably feminine temple is energetically connected with the Parthenon and geometrically aligned with Acropolis and Sunion, forming an equilateral triangle. Ritual: in the peaceful, pine-scented grove contemplate how the myths of Dionysus, Ariadne, and the theme of Sacred Marriage have influenced your Path?

Group lunch in Perdika.

P.M. Walk around the port and shopping area. Return to Piraeus and to our hotel in Athens.

Dinner: individual choice. Overnight in Athens.

 

Day 13 (Wednesay May 30th):

9 A.M. Drive to Delphi (about 2. hours). Check into the Dephi Palace Hotel, a quaint, period-piece hotel with stunning views.

Lunch: individual choice. Suggestion: Taverna “BakXos”

P.M. Temple to Apollo and the extended area of Delphic Oracle, including the amphitheater and stadium, perched below the clouds. The Delphic Oracle was the seat of the Pythia, Apollo’s oracular priestess, also called the Delphic Bee. Bee priestesses were gifted with prophecy and practiced the art of

divination. Ritual: we will tune into these oracular energies and ask for

wisdom and guidance at this time of critical change on our planet.

Evening: Full moon meditation at the Temple to Athena.

Group dinner: To Patriko Mas Tavern; romantic settings with

exquisite views of the valley all the way out to the Corinth Canal.

Overnight in Delphi. (2 nights bed and breakfast.)

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