Temple of Athena – Delphi

10 03 2007

 

Pilgrimage is one of the oldest endeavors of humankind. It may very well be triggered by a mysterious urge deep within our souls to follow in the footsteps of the ancestors. This inexplicable urge is felt by only a few of us. And of those, still fewer follow this heart-felt need to adventure into the unknown, not for riches and external power, but for purity of heart and soul and to answer the ageless questions of the meaning of our existence on earth.

Since the dawn of time, seekers of these questions have made pilgrimages to sacred sites pursuing true knowledge, wisdom and power. They always brought an openness of spirit to the potentiality of being in touch with the elements and becoming one with nature and the mysteries of life. To these spiritual adventurers, the mountains, jungles and the valleys facilitated a relationship with the Otherworld. Here they discovered inspiration, transformation and healing.

Pilgrimage is one of the corner-stones of ‘awakening’ the divine spark within. Entering into the mountains, jungles and valleys, we become detached from the limitations of mundane time and space and the attachment to ordinary life. We step into the extraordinary and it is in this space that we develop and grow our ideal self.

The way to true knowledge, power and wisdom is through direct and personal experience. The more that we can separate ourselves from the mundane world, the closer that we may then come to the realm of the divine. The magical mist that surrounds this sacred world stays hidden from the human ego, but will evaporate for the pilgrim who sincerely searches for the truth. It is possible to experience this sacred environment as an immortal human being, dwelling in the divine presence of the heaven and the earth.

Our journey in 2001 can only be described as a pilgrimage and when I reached Delphi, the famed Castalian Waters and the Temple of Athena, I knew that my pilgrimage was complete. It was a sacred, transformational journey. Once I walked the Sacred Way, all but swam in the waters of Castalia, stood in the Temple of Athena, I knew that one day my children would bring my ashes, mixed with some of Darryl’s, to be spread in this exquisite mountain retreat, a place where I could join my beloved muses. I had reached centre.

 

Photographs by Darryl Blakey 2001

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After the heartbreak of Corfu, a tourist wasteland filled with cheap trinkets, I was nervous about being crushed when we finally reached Delphi. But my romantic perceptions were all affirmed and my faith is stronger than ever.

It was a glorious, windless, 30c day in Delphi. The town itself is prettier, far more affluent than I had anticipated. They do not seem to need to have temporary stalls, cluttered with cheap plastic Taiwanese wares, although there are plenty of postcards and cheap copies of museum pieces to be found.

We sat, under two vast, old, plane trees, where pilgrims would have regularly sat, eating lunch and returned to the adjacent, quiet cafe for our dinner that evening. This eating house stood apart, away from the crowded eateries catering for the busloads of one nighters that fill Delphi’s Hotels. Our hotel room, which afforded magnificent views of the sea and coastline was away from the main drag, relatively secluded and very comfortable. Indeed, it was one of the best rooms we have had in Greece.

As for the slopes of Parnassus and the sites themselves all I can say is that they stopped my breath and I felt a quickening not unlike that when Helen and Greg first stirred in my womb. Tears welled as I climbed the Sacred Way and I stopped many times to absorb my surroundings. I drank copious amounts from the legendary waters of Castalia and splashed my arms and face, purifying myself, injesting the creativity properties of this cool water.

As we drove out of Delphi towards Athens, past the Castalian waters we stopped, on Darryl’s suggestion, to fill water bottles with this holiest of waters and I prayed for a safe return. I promised to return – when I am turned to ash so that my soul can sing along with the choir of voices that echo through these pristine mountains.

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