There are some places in this world that are almost untouched; where mother nature has made it impossible to be conquered. Scorching heat, mountains that defy agriculture. On Crete, as on the other islands in Greece you are almost always in landscape and the myths are never far away.
As in Ireland the people are called after the ancient gods and goddesses keeping them and their energies alive. Ariadne is there: The Cretan goddess who in the popular myth of Theseus and the Minotaur is a princess who helped a prince to complete his hero’s journey.
The daughter of King Minos and Pasiphaë (daughter of the sun god Helios) helped Theseus on his quest to kill the Minotaur by giving him a golden thread that she had woven as he entered the labyrinth from where no-one had ever returned. Ariadne’s thread brought him back after he was successful in killing the beast. By then she had fallen hopelessly in love with Theseus and went with him from Matriarchal Crete to Patriarchal Athens where he would become King.
On their journey they stopped on Naxos where Theseus abandoned the heartbroken Ariadne. Dionysus found her crying on the beach after he had sailed away and they married which in our patriarchal minds would be the end of the story. But if we reflect: Dionysus is an ancient god hailing from Sumeria coming to Crete long before the Theseus myth. If we look again we might see the union of a god and a goddess in a sacred marriage outside of the patriarchy powerful as mother nature herself, surviving still.
The Theseus story forgets that Ariadne is a goddess, the first divine personage to be recognised in Crete. Mistress of the labyrinth, snake goddess and weaver weaving her sacred dance into the earth. If we look simply we can see her at every twist in every path.
Being on Crete I couldn’t help noticing the similarities we in Ireland share with her. A rich mythology, easy access to landscape and sea. The flowers in the photo below remind me of the foxgloves on Clare Island (Co Mayo) in bloom each year in July while we prepare for the Bard Summer School. This year we even had sunshine and clear turquoise seas to compare. The truth is in the landscape. Look simply and you will see the grandeur of mother nature everywhere.