Yes, I’ve been M.IA. It takes a lot to create something new…absurdly long gestation, relatively quick labor and birth, and now the craziness of a newborn (you can read the details about the birth of my new business at my other blog…when I’ve finished that post!)
This seemed the perfect time to talk about metamorphosis and transformation—in other words, the island of Skyros.
Each island has its own unique personality. None is like any other. Add to this, each unique soul’s experience there, and you’ve got limitless possibilities. You may disagree with me about my discomfort onMykonos or my mystical experiences at Delphi (like the American guy who laughingly shouted to his group, while in my most sacred place, “We came all this way to see a pile of rocks?!”) or being transfixed by the ancient statue of Artemis (I know, some say it is dedicated to one of her priestesses…regardless, her energy is there)in the National Archaeological Museum, but I think many of you would relate to my experience of Skyros.
Many years ago, I met intuitive spiritual mystic extraordinaire Caroline Myss at a conference, and, in the middle of her birthday celebration dinner, she “read” me at the table. She went straight to, “What is this, your connection to Greece?” Before reading me, she asked my permission, and my mind immediately wandered to the possibility she might enlighten the table about my experiences with Greek men. She quickly reassured me, “No, I’m not going to talk about that.” (Now, the rest of you at our table know what that exchange was about.) She talked about my Greece-connection, weaving a rich tapestry, like the three beautiful-ugly women-witches in The Castle of Llyr (Have you read my beloved Lloyd Alexander books?). She ended the reading with, “I see you living on the island of Skyros.” I quickly corrected her, “No, you mean Skopelos.” She answered, “No, Rebecca. Skyros.”
That was when I first heard about Skyros…I mean, really heard about Skyros. I was aware that it was at the edge of the Sporades…sharing this group with my favorite island Skopelos. I had yet to make it to Skyros. Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to make of it—this Sporades/Cycladic half-breed. I loved the dense green of the Sporades with its short, fat pine trees; the bareness, however, of the Cyclades sort of scared me. And Skyros had both.
Caroline’s reading fueled my curiosity, and, a couple of years later, a group of dolphins accompanied me there (another story). One of my dear friends, who I had met while taking Greek classes at The Athens Centre, was working at the Skyros Centre. Skyros was her favorite island. She met her future husband there, married there, and returned every year until cancer stole her from us.
I’ll never forget her extraordinary experiences on this mystical-mythical island. The great Minotaur paid her frequent visits, usually in the dark still night (I didn’t sleep too well after learning this.). One clear day, we climbed up the trail that led to a lone tree and looked back at the town; her future husband described what lay before us: “See how the town looks like a sleeping serpent/dragon? Do you see, there? Its eye is the site of the ancient temple of Athena. And look in the serpent’s mouth, what do you see? Its muzzle is the monastery.” One sacred night, we trekked up a different hill to participate in a celebration that was a bizarre but strangely comforting mix of Modern Greek Orthodoxy and ancient ritual. We drank from the blessed stream the most glorious water, rivaled only by its Delphic cousin’s spring. We experienced the radiant icon of Christ in a tiny chapel. And we ate goat meat--the only occasion on which my friend broke her vegetarian diet. I’ll never forget their beautiful wedding on the hillside, preceded by our winding procession through white-washed buildings and marble-stoned streets. And I’ll never forget Skyros’ strange paradox of profound deep calm and instantaneous, brazen transformation.