Mysteries of Greece

  • SumoMe

The Acropolis

As I pause and stop in wonder at an archaeological dig, my friends smile politely and say, “Ah you’ve been here before.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve had a past life here obviously.”

Perhaps.

Through continuous reading and endless conversations with locals, my brain is overwhelmed by a thousands fragments of information struggling to fix itself into place. Nonetheless, this information just feeds my curiosity to understand the ancients.

 

Orraon

Endless Holes

A few years ago I was location scouting deep in the countryside of Epirus, at the archaeological site of Orraon (Όρραον). When my team and I arrived, we were disappointed to find the gate locked. But as if on cue, a herdsman appeared, pulled a key out of his woolen coat pocket and opened the gates to reveal astonishingly preserved 3,000 year old houses. He explained in great detail how the locals, over many generations, traditionally take care of the site.

While my eyes darted around in excitement, somebody pointed down the mountain.

Down there is a hole, a hole that has no end and whoever goes down there never returns.

I wanted to climb down there, but everybody was seriously insistent I stay away.

I have since heard countless tales about these holes throughout Greece.

 

Looking toward the AcroCorinth

Healing at the Acrocorinth

While exploring the Acrocorinth, a large hill overlooking Ancient Corinth, an old man suggested that I visit a sacred spring of Asclepius (the ancient god of healing). He told me of how he, his wife, and the locals visit there when they don’t feel well.

Modern doctors need to revive this ancient practice  he insisted over and over again.

This led me to discover  the practice of dream healing in Ancient Greece.

 

Rising Moon

Dream Healing

In Ancient Greece, when local doctors couldn’t understand what was ailing their patients, they were sent to Epidaurus (mostly known today for its ancient theater), to an ancient hospital that was set  deep in a forest, to block out any noise.

A priestess would sit with the patient and inquire about stressful events, trauma, etc. Great focus was given to the well being of the mind as it was believed illness was a manifestation of certain experiences.

The patient was prescribed a strict diet, drank lots of water, bathed in hot springs, exercised in a gymnasium, and attended a comical play every evening, as laughter was believed to be a powerful healing tool.

At night the patient would sleep in a room underground (to be close to Earth) and report their dreams to the priestess who would analyze them. To dream of a dog or snake was very encouraging, as it meant the god of healing had heard the patients prayers. Often, the priestess would use the dreams as guidance on how to further treat the patient.

And many times, it worked.

The Ancient Warrior of Cyprus

This is not so mysterious, but I think will be appreciated. On the island of Cyprus, a man was struggling to build a house. Everything kept going wrong, causing delay after delay. Then suddenly, as the builders were digging, they chanced upon an ancient grave.

The locals urged the man to ignore it, or better yet, they insisted, throw it into a nearby forest. Why suffer through more delay? But he refused. He called up the authorities who in return swiftly excavated  what turned out to be a colorful coffin with the remains of an ancient warrior.

The man was excited beyond belief. What an honor, he said, to be part of this discovery!  He called for all the local school children to see the ancient warrior before the remains were transported to a museum.

flowers

Time Travel in Athens

One of the strangest, yet most intriguing, is a pathway in Pagrati, a neighborhood very close to the Parthenon. The locals insist, if you should cross the pathway at a certain time of day, you can briefly find yourself transported to Ancient Greece. I have not tried this, but what a romantic thought to be able to go back in time!

I would never leave.

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