I have been visiting with Marilina Paters, my good friend, Soul Sister, and Professional Tourist Guide, about our 2017 study tour to Crete: The World Though the Eyes of the Goddess of Spring, May 3-16, 2017. I thought you might like to see the plans for our trip. First, I am going to brag a little about us.

Marilina Paters is a really impressive woman. We have known each other since 2005, when I conducted my first study tour on Crete, when she was our guide. I had been suddenly inspired to take a group to Crete to study the Minoan roots of Western culture, contacted a local travel agent who made the arrangement, and Marilina “showed up” on our bus as our guide—and our source of inspiration. We “fell in love” immediately, and bonded around our common interest, the study of ancient Great Mother Goddess, and goddess-based cultures. In addition to the fact that she is a Licensed Tourist Guide
—a coveted certification that requires years of study and testing—she is also an artist, dancer, mythologist and storyteller. As for myself, as you know, I am a depth psychotherapist, cultural anthropologist, mythologist and storyteller. And I love Homer’s Odyssey, and his heroine, Penelope.

For my next study tour, I wantedtourOfCrete2 to take folks to Crete in the spring. Spring the world over is the time for the awakening of Kore, the Maiden Goddess, from her long winter sleep. She is called by many names—Persephone, Primavera, Flora, Blodwedd, Maya, or Brigid. For the Bronze Age people of Crete, she was Ariadne, Lady of the Labyrinth
. In celebration of her return, trees and flowers blossom, birds nest, bees swarm, rivers run, and the land bursts with joy. We invite you to join us in May 2017 to celebrate her glorious return.

Here are the logistics for this study tour. The 2017 Study Tour will begin and end in Heraklion, at the Lato Boutique Hotel. The journey will include the central, northwest, and southwest regions of Crete. For many years, we have dreamed of a
study tour that featured the northwest and southwest, along with the better-known central areas. These less traveled territories offer some of the most beautiful wonders of the island. Here we find Crete’s highest mountains, remotest beaches, and most splendid river gorges. Nestled in their midst are villages, sheepherders, cheese makers, and the musicians known the around the world. These precious, still wild, and remote regions of the island are especially lovely in spring.

This journey may seem like a great undertaking—and it is! What a time we are going to have. However, we will take time to move slowly, tell stories, and make connections though body, mind, and spirit with the people of Crete, with their ancestors, who lived on Crete some five thousand years ago, and with each other.

In central Crete, we will explore the Minoan palaces at Knossos, Malia, and Phaestos and their surrounds. Knossos, which is close to Heraklion, includes Mount Juktus, the village of Acharnes, and the sacred Minoan burial grounds. The vicinity around Phaestos Palace, in the south-central part of Crete, includes the village of Agia Triada and the modern beach town of Matala. The area around Malia Palace, just east of Heraklion, includes the ancient port of Amnissos; the Cave of Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth; the Lasithi plateau; and Dikti Cave, the traditional birthplace of the god Zeus. Along the way we will stop for coffee and enjoy local museums, shops, and the cuisine of Crete that—as many of you know, Bonnie believes is the best food in the world.

After we have steeped in the archeology, mythology, history, and mystery of central Crete, our journey will take us west. Along the way, we will ascend Mount Ida, Crete’s highest mountain—with the help of our seasoned bus driver, Makis, and his comfortable Mercedes van. Near the top is Ida Cave, site of the ancient Minoan Great Mother Mysteries. The energy within this cave is palpable, and we will spend some time with the souls of the ancient initiates who came to worship here. We will spend the night on the slopes of this majestic place, partake of its cuisine, listen to traditional Cretan music, and enjoy each other’s company.

Next, we are off to Chania, where we will stay for two nights.  In Chania there will be time for shopping, rest, archeology, and, you guessed it . . . more delicious Cretan cuisine! Chania, the second-largest city on Crete located on the northwest coast, is blessed with Minoan, Mycenaean, Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman Turk elements.  We will also take the opportunity to visit the museum and Minoan archeological sites within the city.

At last, we travel southward, across the mountains to the quiet, seaside village of Sougia, where we will stay two nights, and most of three days. Just a short boat ride away from Sougia, on the peninsula of Lissos, is an Ancient Greek temple to Asklipios, God of Healing.  People came here from all over Crete to seek healing dreams, and be cured by the waters of the sacred spring.  This spring is still there today, and we, too, may drink from its healing waters.

Finally, after boarding our sturdy van, Makis will drive us safely back to Heraklion, where we began our magical journey, for our final night at the Lato.

So! There you have it. Please come with Marilina and me. We are going to have such a wonderful springtime on Crete with the Springtime Goddess, Ariadne, the people of Crete, and with each other.

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