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(cropped from source)
You know, the last thing Ikaria is known for is church life and monasticism. The people are very religious in a natural, casual way, indifferent of formalities, nevertheless always showing a sincere and full respect of higher forces which control our destinies. Whether one believes in the salvation of the soul or not, religion provides consolation because, salvation taken apart, it does speak about the soul while economics do not. And believing in the soul, the existence of a soul, whether this soul is immortal or not, is something very important in the life of the island. Religion also provides occasions for celebration and community gatherings. It also offers an explanation for natural things as well as for «luck» : God’s will. And natural things and lucky or unlucky circumstances are also important elements in the consistence of Ikarian life. To cut this short, we have churches – a lot of big and small churches. They are, so to speak, our guardians, houses of God, houses of the spirit (soul) of the community: «be good and be good to each other» (be good to God).
But what about monasteries? Thereupon we are a failure. Although there are a few monasteries, there is no monastic tradition in Ikaria, at least none as strong as in some other islands. In my opinion, besides our natural dislike for discipline and formalities, the most important reason is that the island is poor and cannot sustain monastic communities. The rocky soil produces hardly enough for the population so the Ikarians, even though devout believers, could not afford, so to speak again, professionals in prayer, experts in salvation. Like everything else in Ikaria, the tending of the soul had to be done by the poeple themselves with the occasional help of an educated priest or solitary monk.
Yet, there are exeptions. If monasteries didn’t thrive, small hermitages were abundant in the slopes of Mt Atheras. But let’s not think that these retreats were inhabited by anchorites who pursued unification with God like in Mt Athos or Sinai. Though little is known about the lives of these people, it’s obvious to me that they were more or less ordinary men and women who either by some misfortune or simply because of taste, discarded the joys of the marital bed and the comforts of village and family life. They walked away from the world, seeking solitude, entrusting their fate to their labouring hands, to good God and to Mother nature. I am all respect for them. It’s hard to believe that in am island as virgin and wild as Ikaria and in a time when most settlements were of the kind of «lost villages» (see, entry), there were people who sought even more solitude and peace! Out-of-the-worldness must be some sort of second nature to us. The outer the better, the further the better, the remotest and most inaccessible is the best, ask my friend Nana & co about it!
Anyway, this entry was not meant to be a dissertation of the religious ethics of the Aegean. I have come to Ikaria for the winter and recently my friends, the explorers of OPS Ikarias, in the course of a project to create a long-distance trail from one side of the island to the other, have been in love with a wild area under the tops of Mt Atheras where according to local legends various groups of monks lived in different periods of time from the 15th century to the 1800s. I saw the photos and I found these landscapes absolutely enthralling.
What made men and women walk out of the world and settle in places like this? What kind of experiences were they after? Were they looking for God? Did they want be gods themselves? Was it because of a practical reason such as piracy, oppression, social disorder and percecutions? Or is it something inherent to the human nature? Escapism? Some people just drop everything and go?.. Is that it? 🙄
I have always been too committed to everything I do and to everybody I love to even think about escaping. But as I am growing older, sometimes I am tired of the world and this makes me wonder. Until I sort this out, you take a good look at those rocky wildernesses. Take a good look at those vast views to the mountains above, the sea straight ahead and the skies all over. I am inviting you to find your answer.
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Not many words needed for these too few snapshots I was allowed to post wishing to celebrate Nana’s first sureal weeks of her new life in Ikaria. Don’t pay too much importance to the title of the enty. It’s only a joke. 🙂 My best friend is no ordinary girl so the whole thing was a success! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
.(top left) Synthesizing Artemis of Ephesus: an 18th-century engraving of a Roman marble copy of a Greek replica of a lost Geometric period xoanon. Read more about the Syncretic and Enigmatic Lady of Ephesus in The Wikipedia.
(top right) «Plank figure» of chalk, Early Cypriot III to Middle Cypriot I, 1900-1800 BCE (Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens)..
(bottom right) «Bell Idol« : Late Geometric pottery item from Thebes, Boetia, rare example of figurative sculpture from the period (750-690 BC) probably representing a Nature goddess – a descendant of the Minoan tradition, which some commentators have identified with Artemis. (LE LOUVRE) .
Is this a do-it-yourself blog? You give us the title and we provide the body?
Gaia – Cybele – Hecate – Selene – Demeter – Aphrodite.
I don’t consider them to be names of the goddess but masks of the eternal mother of all things, masks that reflect the time and the place of the mask maker.
If you close your eyes and slowly recite these names, it will briefly transport you into Her dark cthonian chamber.
Gaia – Cybele – Hecate – Selene – Demeter – Aphrodite…
Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 12:22am (PDT)
Και πρέπει να παίζανε και τρελά λεφτά!Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 02:34pm (EEST)
- Simon G
This Ephesian Aphrodite doesn’t look like much of a hunter. I wonder if the Nas one was a bit more athletic?
I’ve seen the Hippolytus / Phaedra story on stage a few times.
Aphrodite complains about Hippolitus:
«Love he scorns, and, as for marriage, will none of it; but Artemis, daughter of Zeus, sister of Phoebus, he doth honour, counting her the chief of goddesses, and ever through the greenwood, attendant on his virgin goddess, he clears the earth of wild beasts with his fleet hounds, enjoying the comradeship of one too high for mortal ken.»
(Euripides http://classics.mit.edu/Euripides/hippolytus.html )
Of course he comes to a bad end; you have to be careful with goddesses.
Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 04:16pm (CEST)
Perhaps ‘Apollonios’ is right in his first comment. I am usually patient and do what you ask me to do but this time please get to the point -to one of the points at least. You are a master in iconography, so what do you think? Do you think that the statue of Artemis in Nas, Ikaria, was a wooden xoanon, an early version of something that looked like the Goddess of the Wikipedia?
I am trying to imagine it made of a single log of wood, painted with many colors and loaded with silver and gold.
‘egotoagrimi’ -> lol
Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 09:04pm (EEST)
You know so many artists. Why not have one of them carve an imaginary replica of this statue (including the animals!) on a piece of tree and paint it? I bet it would look like an American Indian Totemic pillar -ugh!
or maybe better…
Thursday October 23, 2008 – 02:39pm (EEST)
Spooky revelation #1
In ancient times, Ephesus was a huge cosmopolitan port with a population in the hundreds of thousands and it was the center of Artemis-Cybele the mother goddess cult.
Island of Delos was the sacred city of Artemis the huntress cult, destination of many pilgrims from all over the mediterranean world.
Ikaria’s Nas bay is e-x-a-c-t-l-y the midpoint between Ephesus and Delos.
I have always suspected this but now thanks to the Google-Earth measuring tool I verified it.
Ephesus Nas is 73.5 Miles, Nas to Dilos is 73.5 Km. Ephesus – Nas – Dilos is in a straight line and therefore Nas was a possible stop-over for the pilgrims from and to Dilos.
I don’t attach any metaphysical significance to this but it is no accident either. It is very likely that Nas was built by Ephesian settlers as a naval re-supply point for food and water and also as a safety and praying stop when the Ikarian archipelagos was in turmoil (and most of us who travel to Ikaria by boat have gotten a taste of that)
If this is true then the Artemis Xoanon at Nas temple was fashioned like the one in Ephesus. (The Nas Artemis bull sacrifice connection, also points in the same direction – coins depicting Artemis sitting on a bull were found near Nas)
Thursday October 23, 2008 – 11:34am (PDT)
Nana is right, Ephesus was a modern day Las Vegas, Delos was like Switzerland, besides being a sacred city was also the central treasure bank for the Delian league, you know money and religion always stick together.
And Ikaria was, well, like modern Ikaria, a port stop on the way to Samos or to Mykonos.
Thursday October 23, 2008 – 11:41am (PDT)
I measured the distances on the actual map -the very accurate Greek Hydrographic Service Map. YOU ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Friday October 24, 2008 – 01:05pm (EEST)
but wait, there is more…
Why would Ephesians or Greeks care about the mid-point anyway, the divine proportion in ancient times and even today is the golden ratio (χρυσή τομή )
“In math two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio between the sum of those quantities and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller. The golden ratio is a mathematical constant approximately 1.618. Phi = (a+b)/a = a/b = 1.618 (Pay attention we will have a pop-quiz at the end of this blog)
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio for details about the fascinating history of the golden ratio.
Artists, mathematicians, architects, astronomers, philosopher and yes magic cults were captivated by this ratio.
So what we really have here is the distance between Ephesus to Nas = 118.5 Km and distance from Nas To Delos = 73.5 Km and their ratio is about 1.612, a golden ratio match. To me this is much more significant than Nas being the mid-point between Ephesus and Delos.
Friday October 24, 2008 – 03:56pm (PDT)
Then back to the row bench to cross the Ikarian Sea. Today the wind is north, force 6-7 and I tell you the sea is not inviting!Saturday October 25, 2008 – 02:09pm (EEST)
I know an artist. I assume none of the ladies here would like to pose as a model for the Goddess’ «xoanon»?Saturday October 25, 2008 – 02:13pm (EEST)
Discoveries! Isn’t geometry a great thing?
However, there is a limit. No matter how good your artist is, no way for me to pose as a geometric period xoanon! Too stiff and loaded with stuff! If I do, I will faint in less than an hour. Do it but use a dummie instead.
Saturday October 25, 2008 – 08:42pm (EEST)
By the way why we think this xoanon was from the geometric period? Nothing geo about it, looks like late Greek Archaic period with oriental influnces.Saturday October 25, 2008 – 01:30pm (PDT)
Who needs sponcors when there are friends?!
I am breaking in this creative thinking thread to say that I have edited my entry and added a picture of the nearest to a xoanon. I think the «venerated image» (*) Artemis of Nas looked like something between the picture on the left and the picture on the right.
(*) «image» in this case is something more than 2D and less than 3D, very much the christian cross -no iconic value if looked at from the side!
Anyway, I have a full frontal picture of myself from when I was pregnant. Minus the extra breasts (or whatever they were), I was well… very geometric, like a «Magna Mater» oversized figurine.
I could lend the photo to the artist use as a model.
To respect the 7th century Ionian tradition (as well flatter my female vanity…) the artist must add a clear touch of the looks of a Kore (bottom picture) -and please… A Nice Archaic Dress!
Monday October 27, 2008 – 05:32am (PDT)
You didn’t look at all like a «Plank Figure», I’d say…Tuesday October 28, 2008 – 03:02pm (EET)
So Eleni, you think the Nas Artemis was more of a functional and symbolic, lightly curved, painted wooden totem icon rather than an elaborate, impressive statue?
Something like an oversized colorful babushka doll?
Your instinct is probably right, the early Icarians were a small horticultural community of small scale hunters, living around rivers on an island with resources no other than wood and rocks and therefore very limited in what they could create. (but I bet you a lot of love and artistic vigor went creating the Nas xoanon)
I like the nested babushka doll metaphor, the outer doll is like an Ephesian Artemis, you peel it off and inside it you find a more primitive near-east fertility goddess, inside it you find an even more primitive doll in the geometric Cycladic style and inside that doll you find a large egg…
Tuesday October 28, 2008 – 07:06am (PDT)
I hope that you can see the editing of the entry. I have added the famous «Bell Idol» from the famous New Louvre new website which ‘Simon G’ spotted and wrote to tell me about (x x x ♥♥♥).
Les savants say it was an Artemis!
Les savants also seem to imply that it was a development of the rigorous «vase form» beloved by the 8 cent. potters.
♥@♥ Apollonios: the vase, the doll, the egg, the babushka ♀♀♀???
how and when did the bow/arrow and the virginity thing
came in the picture?
With your ♥ help ♥ we will find this out in a next episode on
Wednesday October 29, 2008 – 05:38am (PDT)
Thursday October 30, 2008 – 02:13pm (EET)
The Ephesian Artemis and the hunting Artemis of mainland Greece were two different goddesses who happened to share the same name and a common interest for nature and wild animals.
The evolution of the Ephesian Artemis is a classic case of religious syncretism, that is the morphing of a religion to something new by adding elements from other religions. Gods evolve over time as the people who worship them come into contact through wars or peaceful migration.
(For example our Greek orthodox church here in California has catholic-style stained glass windows, harpsichord music is played during the liturgy and the priest has no beard. These things may be considered taboo in mainland Greece but they are quite natural to Greeks here because other christian chrches have them)
It is obvious that the Ephesian Artemis was a prehistoric Great Mother figure that the Ionian settlers tried to Hellenize, but the locals resisted because they had such a great love for her cult and the only thing they accepted to change was the name. Maybe her cult was so old that she had no name, maybe she was an ancient fetish, an It and therefore giving her a proper name was long overdue. I just wish they had called her more appropriately, Gaia, mother Earth.
Saturday November 1, 2008 – 07:30am (PDT)
By the way, about the bottom left reconstruction of the painted Kore:
While it is true that most ancient Greek statues were painted, the Greek artists did not smear flashy colors everywhere as the reconstructed «gaudy plumage» suggests. Only the eyes, lips and hair were painted to humanize the head and give it a haunting intimidating appearance. (These statues also served and as guards in a temple to scare potential looters)
Saturday November 1, 2008 – 07:42am (PDT)
I talked with the artist. I gave him the link and placed an order for a ‘xoanon’. He has an idea but he made no promises. We will have to wait…Sunday November 2, 2008 – 07:46pm (EET)
Στην Ικαρία κάποιοι άγνωστοι έχουν σημαδέψει με όμορφους σωρούς από πέτρες ολόκληρο το μήκος της διαδρομής μέσα στο ΠΕΠ «Natura2000» (Φαράγγι Χάλαρης και παρακείμενες περιοχές) από τον Να στη βόρεια ακτή μέχρι το οροπέδιο «Εριφή» και μετά διασχίζοντας το όρος Αθέρας μέχρι τον ορμίσκο «Ελιάς Κάμπος» στη νότια ακτή του νησιού σε μια διαδρομή που λέμε «ΜΟΝΟΠΑΤΙ ΤΩΝ ΔΥΟ ΦΑΡΑΓΓΙΩΝ».
Καθένας από αυτούς τους «κούκους» αποτελείται από αρκετές καλοδιαλεγμένες τετράγωνες πέτρες που έχουν τοποθετηθεί με προσοχή η μία πάνω στην άλλη –οι μεγάλες στη βάση και οι μικρότερες πιο πάνω- έτσι ώστε σχηματίζουν κώνους ή πυραμίδες. Μεταξύ τους οι κούκοι βρίσκονται σε απόσταση 50-100 μέτρων περίπου. Επομένως, σε μια διαδρομή τουλάχιστον 40 χμ., αυτές οι περίπλοκες κατασκευές, πολλές από τις οποίες είναι αληθινές καλλιτεχνικές δημιουργίες, πρέπει να είναι πάνω από 300 !!!
Όσο για το χρόνο που αφιερώθηκε, αν υπολογίσουμε ότι ένας ειδικός στο αντικείμενο που θα είχε δίπλα του κατάλληλες πέτρες, θα χρειαζόταν το λιγότερο 20 λεπτά για να διαλέξει τη θέση και να στήσει έναν κούκο, η εκτίμηση είναι ότι οι άγνωστοι «κουκο-κτίστες» αφιέρωσαν πάρα πολλές μέρες και έκαναν πάρα πολλές διαδρομές με τα πόδια για να ολοκληρώσουν το έργο τους. Παρ’όλα αυτά, ούτε οι αρχές, ούτε άλλος κανείς στα γειτονικά χωριά των Ραχών έχει κάποια πληροφορία για την ταυτότητα των «δραστών» ή για τα κίνητρα της ωραίας δουλειάς τους!!!
Ποιοί να ‘ναι λοιπόν οι άγνωστοι «κουκο-κτίστες»;;;
Ας παίξουμε τους ντετέκτιβ. Οι άγνωστοι «κουκο-κτίστες» μπορεί να είναι:
- «Τρελοί» καλλιτέχνες που είχαν την έμπνευση και την έκαναν πράξη –«έτσι τους άρεσε».
- ψήφοι: 0
- Ελβετοί ορειβάτες που στήνουν κούκους όπου βρεθούν –όπως κάνουν στις Άλπεις.
- ψήφοι: 0
- Κάποιοι καλοί άνθρωποι που προσφέρουν διακριτική βοήθεια στην ασφάλιση των μονοπατιών της Ικαρίας
- ψήφοι: 1
- Σούπερ εναλλακτικός τουρ οπερέιτορ που σημάδεψε και προτείνει αυτή τη διαδρομή στους πελάτες του
- ψήφοι: 1
- «Καλοί γκρούβαλοι» πεζοπόροι που προτείνουν τον Κάμπο της Ελιάς σαν στέκι τους αντί για το Να
- ψήφοι: 0
- Άγνωστη ομάδα που υποστηρίζει τα ΠΕΠ «Natura2000»
- ψήφοι: 3
- Οποιοδήποτε ή κανένα από τα παραπάνω. Είναι απλά άλλο ένα μυστήριο της Ικαρίας.
- ψήφοι: 0
Afto to systima to exw dei kai se alla monopatia. Ypothetw pws tha einai kapoios kwdikas epikoinwnias kapoiwn pou asxolountai me ta monopatia i me tin pezoporia genikotera. Eimai periergi omws na mathw ean matheis kati……
Tuesday March 20, 2007 – 03:16pm (PDT)
το μήνυμα που δίνει με τη μία είναι ΑΛΛΗΛΕΓΥΗ, συντροφιά στους αγριότοπους. Του στυλ : «Πέρασα από εδώ κι ήταν καλά. Πάει κάπου καλά. Συνέχισε. Κουράγιο φίλε». Για μένα, αυτά έχουν κάποια μακρινή σχέση με κάποια καλά grafiti και έξυπνα συνθήματα στους τοίχους των πόλεων. Είναι επικοινωνία και συντροφιά. Γι΄αυτό μερικοί τα φτιάχνουν με τόση τέχνη. Για να δηλώσουν καλύτερα την παρουσία τους.
(Σ’ ευχαριστούμε για το ενδιαφέρον σου, γλυκιά Μελένια)
Thursday March 22, 2007 – 11:35pm (EET)
Θα πω ότι μπορεί κάποιος, ως παγανιστική ένδειξη λατρείας σε κάτι μαγικό που έζησε ή ένοιωσε, να το σημάδεψε, για να το καθιερώσει. Μπορεί να είδε στοιχειά, μπορεί να άκουσε γέλια (και ορκίζομαι ότι κάτι τέτοιο άκουσα κι εγώ στο Να κι ούτε γκρουβαλίνα είμουν τότε ούτε μανιτάρια είχα φάει), μπορεί ακόμη και να σημάδεψε τη στύση του… Κι ήταν ο κώδικας στην αρχή πολύ προσωπικός, αλλά ύστερα από δάνεια από άλλες περιοχές του κόσμου, εξέπεσε να γίνει οροβάτης.
Friday June 8, 2007 – 06:17pm (PDT)
Unknown group of hikers have marked with beautiful cairns the entire length of the trail across the SPA “Natura200” (Chalares river gorge and adjacent territories), from Nas on the northern coast and southwards to the mountain plateau “Erifi” and then over the top and down as far as the cove “Elias Kampos” on the south coast of the island, on the long, rough trail we call «THE TRAIL OF TWO CANYONS». They have also raised cairns along the transikarian trail which runs on the tops of Mt. Atheras.
Each cairn consists of several well-chosen cubic stones standing one on top of the other, from the larger to the smaller like cones or pyramids. The distance between them is from 50 to 100 meters, so you may have a rough estimate of their number. On a trail of at least 40 km, these elaborate constructions, some of which are clearly artistic, must be over 300!!!
As for the time involved, given that an expert in stones and with the material handy would need no less than 20 min. to choose the right spot and build a cairn like this, the estimate is that it took the unknown group several days and many back and forth hikes to accomplish their feat. Yet, neither the authorities nor anybody from the neighboring villages of Rahes have heard a word about this!!!
Who may these people be? Let’s play the detective. Maybe they are:
- “Mad” cairn-maker artists who were inspired and did so because they felt like it.
- votes: 1
- Swiss hikers, specialists in cairn-building, who plant cairns wherever they go.
- votes: 0
- Just some good people who offer discreet help and mark trails in an interesting, difficult place
- votes: 12
- Some ultra-alternative hiking tour agency who have marked this new trail “as their own”.
- votes: 1
- “Good grouvaloi” from Nas who propose “Elias Kampos” as an alternative refuge –by hiking there!
- votes: 0
- Shadowy organization supporting the “Natura2000” SPA project.
- votes: 1
- Any or none of the above. Better not to know. It’s just another mystery of Ikaria.
- votes: 2