We’d read about them—Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis. Mythic women who were once the epitome of wisdom, beauty, and wildness. Travelling in Greece, on a women’s sacred sojourn, we found these fabulous females still very much alive—waiting to bring to life the modern day goddesses we’ve always wanted to be.
When we climbed the steep path, past graceful olive trees and rock niches for offerings to Aphrodite, we found beauty in a building—the Parthenon. Ancient worshippers went there to bedeck the statue of Athena (Goddess of Wisdom) with saffron-colored cloth—literally covering her in beauty. In return, the goddess fostered an unprecedented flowering of arts and sciences. Touching the stones where ancient women were celebrated, we felt our own wisdom and beauty blossom in exciting new ways.
It was not Apollo but Gaia who was the original prophetess here. Perched on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, the site lies atop a cleft in the Earth Mother’s “body” where, legend says, she kept her sacred python. Hmmm. Together, snake and goddess helped petitioners unearth their own fortunes—reminding me that we too could know the future and dazzle others with our female insights.
Today, Delos is called the birthplace of Apollo. But his twin Artemis, Goddess of the Wilds, was born there first. Young girls danced there to keep their untamed natures after they got married. With sea breezes blowing through our hair, bright scarves billowing around us, we too danced to call up our boldest, fiercest selves.
The stunning volcanic cliffs. The sun setting into the Aegean. The fresh calamari at every beach taverna. The velvety local wines. The enticing shops and lovely blue-domed churches. The beautiful murals and 4000-year old relics at the archaeological dig. We didn’t just enjoy it—here we virtually plunged into our own lush and primal sensuality.
Set in the misty Peloponnese hills, Epidaurus was once the most famous healing center in the world. Here, Hygeia and her five sisters facilitated healing with honey and herbs, cleansing waters, laughter, and the magic of dreams. In the spectacular theater (where you can hear whispers 55 rows up), we sang, recited poetry, and called out our ancient names—claiming our own womanly talents for healing.
Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen
For 2000 years, the Eleusinian Mysteries were the most important ceremonies of the ancient world. The rites re-enacted Persephone’s journey to Hades and Demeter’s quest to bring her back. As a result, Demeter claimed her true power and taught the world the art of agriculture. More amazing, initiates to her Mysteries came away with the secret of eternal life. Meditating in the cave that once led to Persephone’s underworld, we too were filled with a sense of our own feminine power and destiny.
Greece transformed us. There, we journeyed through a beautiful land—but also to the deepest parts of ourselves—truly becoming the modern day goddesses we were always meant to be. You can too!
Article by Barbara Boulden–
Barbara Boulden is a bestselling author and the co-founder of Women’s Sacred Sojourns, a group that leads women on journeys of self-discovery. Come travel with us—and find your inner goddess!