What a journey this life is!
Lately I have found myself on a journey of self discovery and healing that is moving me to my very foundations, the universe seems to be conspiring to clear all of the detritus that has built up in my Psyche over the years, and one of the most profound parts of that journey has been a recent visit to Cyprus, the Homeland of my biological Father.
To set the scene a little I feel I need to give a snip of history to put the story into how important this is for me. I first found out about my biological Father when I was seventeen, some six years after the man I had believed to be my Father had died in a car crash. Not to make too long a story of it, I was a little surprised, not to mention curious! However, my Mother made it clear from what little she said, I would never be able to meet or find my biological father and, the Gods forbid I should discuss this with anyone, the last bit I think you can tell, I flagrantly ignored!
What she neglected to tell me at that point (it took another thirteen years for this bit) was, that I also had another Sister, a full sister from the elusive Cypriot! She is two years younger than me and had been adopted at birth, she had tracked us down as soon as she could and spent a year trying to pursued Mother to let her meet the rest of the family. I am happy to say that when Mother finally relented and allowed us to meet, there was an instant connection, it was as if my Sister had always been part of my life, and we have continued to be close.
Anyhow now you have a bit of history to put things in context, back to the point of the blog!
There is a place on Cyprus called “Aphrodite’s Sanctuary” and on the second day of our trip Damh and I decided to visit this place. We had been told of a stone there that had an amazing energy, so on what turned out to be the only bright sunny day we had in the week we were there we set of to find it. Having hired a little 4×4 and bought a map we set off. It was easy to find, we pulled into what seemed at first to be a slightly ramshackle site at the back of someones yard. We got out of the car and walked in to the newer looking part of the site, paid the grumpy lady behind the counter the few euros and went in.
The air was full of perfume and bird song as we walked through onto the site, the wind blew up the hillside off of the sea a mile or so away. We walked around the upper area discovering mosaics, old pathways, pomegranate trees and bits of the buildings that had lain around for centuries. We were virtually the only visitors there and we took our time and some photos, just soaking up the atmosphere which was pure peace. We then spent ages looking at the information boards full with information not only about the site but also the cult of Aphrodite. In those few relatively short paragraphs I learned so much and it awoke something deep within me.
I really had no idea quite how little I knew about this Goddess, to say that she has been generally underestimated is an understatement of epic proportion. This Goddess was know simply as “The Deity” for a long time and the age of the site is least Bronze Age possibly earlier, being used and rebuilt over thousands of years. She was and is an Earth Mother, the energy of her Sanctuary is beauty, peace and joy, and we hadn’t even found the stone yet!
We moved on from the info boards and on through a gateway set with simple murals made from small stones, into a courtyard with four or five large, old and beautiful trees, all of the buildings were newly restored medieval buildings, clean and elegant. We began to explore the open doorways that beckoned. Damh went into one whilst I explored another, we met in the courtyard and as I looked at his face I knew something had affected him, he said, “I will give you a minute alone in there”. Ok! I thought and walked up the cobbled ramp to a large doorway.
As I walked through the doorway from bright sunlight into the relative gloom of the vaulted room, a wave of energy washed over me that was so powerful that it took my breath away. I stood just inside the room and caught my breath and as my eyes adjusted, I saw “The Stone” sitting on a plinth placed in the center of the Eastern wall. The presence of this black piece of rock that was about three feet tall, almost conical but slightly flattened on three sides, was incredible. Either side of the rock there was information about it and how it was housed and the kinds of offerings that had been made to the embodiment of the “Deity” long before any anthropomorphic image, she was the very Earth itself and there was nothing to tell you that you could not touch “The Deity”, and so I did. I touched her smooth blackness and felt an acceptance the like I have never felt before, like all those people in ages passed, my ancestors, I touched the Goddess and she touched me.
In that place I felt the fragmented parts of my heart and soul begin to find a healing, maybe for the first time in my life, it was hard to leave that place and I will go back again, but it was getting on in the day and we had to leave at some point, so we traveled down the road a little further to the place that it is said to be the birth place of the Goddess, again it was a rock, or rather a large group on a mystical shore. There is a tunnel built to take you safely onto the beach under the busy road, it is long, thin and dark and feels like a birthing canal, and as you emerge blinking into the light the Rock formations are right in front of you, again breath taking! And to our surprise on all of the bushes along the beach there were tied white rags, offerings to the Goddess, just as at many sites have over here in Britain!
The Goddess is alive and even though she now has a supermarket, golf course and other modern day fripperies named after her, her power is still with us undiminished!
Finally I have made my Immrama to Cyprus after more than half a life time of being curious about the culture of my Father and physical aspects of being multicultural, in the genetic sense (there is another whole other story about the Irish part of my heritage), add to that a great deal of spiritual work on “The Ancestors”, personal ancestry, and connection to “The Land” with all of its cycles, myths and legends.
Many people on a spiritual path make connections with various Gods and Goddesses and I am no different, and needless to say that however you think about those connections, either because I wished to or because She called to me, I have felt a strong calling from Aphrodite. Many aspects of my life I have related to this Goddess and yet always found difficulty in relating to her stories, and now I know why. I have started to live as a whole person in a way that could not have been done without this soul quest, and I thank “The Deity” for her gift with all my heart.