The rest of my posts about my pilgrimage are being written from a distance, meaning a bit after the time I was graced with being in these magical places. I long for those days with my sisters; singing, laughing and returning to our collective roots of being truth.
We knew all along that we would construct a sunset ritual at the Ggantija Temple and I feel as though many of us on this journey were excited about this. Given that I’m unsure how many of my new sisters’ backgrounds included doing formal ritual, what we created was as though we were all seasoned professionals.
Settling into TaCenc was not difficult. Luxury and history (herstory) were all there for us. The grounds were rustic, while groomed. Bougainvillea, aloe, ginger and oleander made for lush visuals… and the numerous pools and shady havens to settle were abundant.. My days of luxury travel, I had thought, were a thing of my past. Within an hour of arriving at TaCenc, I settled into my room and deep peace.
Our first afternoon there, we met in a spacious and tremendously beautiful room in the Palazzo Palino, a renovated medieval castle complete with arched stone ceilings and luscious gardens outside the side doors. The goal was for us to gather in groups and create a portion of the ritual, but first we sang each other’s names and released the tension of the hot day. Once refreshed through song, all of our respective groups moved into different places to hash out our parts.
Women can be great planners, but we are also prone to all having great ideas, that we share all at the same time! Through patience and consensus, everyone had their part, then things flowed and our group hummed along. We laughed and were happy with what we would share that night.
Just a few days into being a group, I could feel all of us becoming dear friends. This wasn’t because we were all cut from the same cloth or even similarly focused in our lives elsewhere. It seemed magical how easy our relating was with one and other, something I found myself feeling tremendously grateful for. It’s rare to gather with strangers and have such a peaceful becoming into a tribe, but this is certainly what occurred.
Once we got our part clear, I had some time to relax alone and went to one of the many pools for a swim. The temperature during our whole trip was HOT… but it was also muggy. Sinking into the pool and being weightless for a few minutes did much to restore my energy. Once rinsed and cleaned, I dressed myself in a white skirt and bright red shirt – perfect for a ritual in a ancient temple on a tiny island… Then I slipped on my shoes and took a walk to see if I could find the famed cliffs of TaCenc.
The wind was fantastic and in mere moments of heading out, I felt I was in a state of prayer; like my feet were taking me automatically somewhere. It was rather like already knowing where to go. The plain of earth seemed to go on forever, much like in the desert and my sight offered the expanse of the sea which contradicted things . My mind knew that there was certainly an end (this was an island, after all), but the sense of being suspended in the place, as well as in time… this was strong.
Jennifer had mentioned to us that the cliffs were there and formidable – “do take a flash light if you go in the dark…” – but that knowledge was abstract until I found myself on the edge of them. Now this will sound a bit macabre, but I “knew” I’d been there before at some point in my eternal life and I didn’t get a sense of it being the happiest of lives… There was a feeling of foreboding that I thought, initially, was stimulated by the scary drop of at least 500 feet from where I was standing into the Mediterranean. Heights like that can make one feel a tad uncomfortable, yet (and I will never know for sure) between you and me, I do feel like that cliff or some cliff like it was a scene where I ended a life I lived. (I told you it was macabre)…
When I have those kinds of moments, I do my best to be present and refrain from listening to my monkey mind too much. This was a great idea, as I enjoyed my visit to the cliffs that night and didn’t get all weird or new-agey in my head about it. At least I know that I wasn’t some famous heroine from history; just a simple priestess living (and dying) on an island. The why or how of that life is not all that important, but I do feel that I’ve been on this plane of existence mostly in the position of seer, or priestess and it generally isn’t the easiest of lives. That life was just one of that sort.
There wasn’t a lot of time to linger here, but it did set me up for the sunset ritual nicely. Something about walking into a timeless place makes the transition into a ceremony of spirit quite simple. We were asked to remain silent on our bus ride back to the Ggantija Temple from our hotel and my little walk along the cliffs was a perfect precursor to our evening’s journey.
Oh my… it was amazing being at this temple, just us… and offering our contemporary ceremony to the goddess of these ancient islands. Clearly, this was not the first ritual conducted there and hopefully wouldn’t be the last, but it was OUR ceremony; woman from many places all over the world, on a pilgrimage to ourselves. Women who easily settled into being priestesses worshiping our ancient mother as we snaked our way through the ruins of the temples, singing and praying for each other, ourselves and the earth…
To me, these temples hold the secrets of our ancestors, time and presence. The people had a deep regard for the spiritual – mystical – natural presence of Source and I felt it. We all did, that was clear and another thing I have noticed over the many years of my life, women ALWAYS pray for everyone. We tend to be concerned for the planet and her many inhabitants; animals, plants, children, lovers… not just themselves.
This ritual was powerful and moving and a ton of fun! I’m an advocate of irreverence, rather than sticking to the mindset of the the serious, pious and apparently all important ritual. If Source (Goddess, God, Allah, whoever) doesn’t have a sense of humor, how to you explain half the shit that happens to us?! This ritual was incredibly spiritual, powerful and to me, huge fun. We all had our parts, which were conducted with the normal “what’s next??!!” looks from each other, as we bumbled through some of it … sang and danced through others…
It was just amazing!
As with all great women’s ritual, we ended this one with a huge feast back at TaCenc – complete with drink, delicious food, music and DANCING…