Over the years, the few trips I’ve taken have been to areas that have evidence of when the world was different – matrifocal. Those trips didn’t include Malta. I knew about it and the incredible temples that were here, but I genuinely had NO idea how incredible this place is. Not just because of the female history, but the people and the environment here.
This place is quite different than where I live, with regard to the environment, but you know… people everywhere are much the same. They have struggles, they laugh, they work and play… and I’m just watching all that, inside of my deliberate focus on the heritage here that many Maltese aren’t that interested in. Makes me wonder what I don’t know regarding the places I’ve landed on this planet!
What I recalled before coming here was that Malta had some mystery to it. The size of the megaliths that make up many of these temples was one, but also… why all the statues of huge women, the spiral motifs, the intricate painting on the limestone walls in some places and what happened to the people who lived here? After thousands of years of being here, whether they lived here or simply worshiped here, where did they go?
Yet another mystery… I believe it was simply the relatively sudden and global change from peaceful communities to warlike ones emerged. Much less reverence for life and focused on war.
What’s startling and clear is that these islands were mecca for these ancient people’s spiritual life. All throughout both Malta and Gozo there are numerous temple sites which were built, the first of these dating back to around 3500 BCE. That’s over 5000 years ago! Just for some context, these temples were built (some of them) about 1000 years before the famous Stonehenge in the UK!
At most of these sites, a good deal of the artifacts & megalith stones were stolen, moved or used to build later buildings making scientific interpretation incomplete, but the lack of obvious settlement around the sites creates further confusion for contemporary scholars to interpret what occurred here. My personal sense is that this was a place to go to for renewal, burial or pilgrimage.
The people who have inhabited these islands since those far away times, didn’t realize the ancient and valuable nature of things and didn’t preserve them or care for them until more recently. Now, of course, their value has been identified with UNESCO (click here for more http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/132) and there has been a change in that local mindset to a degree. The people of Malta and Gozo are proud of these places, but few may understand the significance of them. Even with the current change in mindset, interpretation of this is left to scholars who struggle with the idea that women were leaders & priestesses, or that the female form and her nature, was worshiped. Always unfortunate that we collectively can’t imagine a peaceful world or a world where women were valued and respected. The imagery is still referred to mostly as “fertility” images, rather than the culture’s deity or a priestess.
My own personal view is this magical place was a destination for many people in the surrounding areas, to come to worship and to bury their ancestors. In my own quest for understanding, rather than merely read a bunch of scholarly descriptions on it all, I’ve simply allowed my inner knowing to play a part in what this place was.
It is mystical and rich in it’s peaceful offerings to my heart are filling it up nicely. That much is evident.
The sense of awe and respect for all life is obvious and therefore a great example for our world communities to adapt.
What we are doing, in between visiting the temples and museums, swimming in the salty Mediterranean, eating lavish meals and dancing our heart out, is offering peace and happiness to others. In our ceremonies, we are sending everyone prayers for peace, for comfort, for happiness. Simple prayers, but meaningful ones.
Let’s hope you are feeling that!