Monday, 14 July 2014

Samothraki Mysteries 2

As I stood on the pebbled beach and watched the full moon rise over the ancient city I reflected on a day of contemplation awe and more questions than answers.
The day had started before dawn with a cleansing bath in the thermal springs in the mountains, and a rinse from the freshwater spring near the ocean. I took only waters from this spring until after the ceremonies/rituals at the Temple.

This was a day to follow the footpaths of the ancients as they became initiates - Alexander the Great ' s parents were fellow initiates who (so it is said) conceived him during this three day festival.  I made myself a band of ripe summer grasses to denote that I had already passed the first stage of initiation.

Nine days ago, I entered the Temple site from the East - from the ancient city and sat on the steps of the Propylon of Ptolemy where the introductory rites were performed; to ask myself "What is the worst thing I have ever done?" I passed many incidences through my mind, it took me hours I think, and I cried bucket loads as I looked at the things I was least proud of in my life. Since there was no confessor - no-one to absolve my deads, when I was finished I concluded that none of these things were so bad and that I could move forward into the circular waiting area across the gully/torrent. This area was the gathering place for the initiates who had moved to the second stage; where the candidates learned the requirements for the second level invitation ceremonies before they entered the inner sanctum.

There is a more ancient story than this though - this site was used for Mother Earth festivals well before, 3,000; 4,000; maybe even 7,000 or more years ago.

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