Unearthing the Divine Feminine, one archetype at a time........
Issue #10: Crawling for a Miracle on Tinos
If you couldn't conceive and wanted a baby, would you crawl over a kilometer up a hill for a miracle?
On the Greek island of Tinos there is a strange ritual enacted every August 15th, the Orthodox festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. August 15th marks a day where, all over Greece, festivals are held in honor of the Virgin, such as the one I wrote about in this series on the island of Kefalonia, involving snakes.
It seems it's not tortuous enough at the height of the blazing Greek summer to endure extreme heat and raging crowds, oh no:
on this island women - willingly - crawl on their hands and knees from the port where the ferry arrives, all the way to the main church, located at the top of a long hill.
And why would they do this, you might ask?
Like Lourdes, or any other holy place where miracles might be answered, pilgrims will flock in droves. Most of the pilgrims on this island are women, as it is well known across Greece that touching a holy icon - found in 1822 and known for its healing powers - at the church of the Panagia will help those who have had trouble conceiving become pregnant.
But first you must crawl uphill over a kilometer and then wait in line to do so.
One tourist site I researched proudly referred to this statue as depicting a "faceless woman." Wow. I'm sure there's some religious reason for this statement, having to do with prostrating oneself to be worthy of a miracle, but it still bothers me nonetheless. Faceless woman?
While I'm not a big fan of this statue, I realize the whole point of the crawling ritual is to give childless women hope....and I have a true story to tell about someone who visited this island for this very purpose: I will tell it in a post coming soon entitled Church Things.
Until then, I never get tired of learning about wonderfully strange and mysterious rituals such as this. I love this stuff. I live for this stuff -- and the stranger, the better.
I have yet to get to Tinos - let's just say that Greece in mid-August is not the best time to go. It's boiling hot and packed with tourists - many of them Greeks going on holiday themselves, so unless you're traveling on one of those deep freeze air-conditioned cruise ships, I don't recommend it.
However -- I will make exceptions:
anywhere there is a strange religious ritual involving women, snakes, Greek islands and goddesses in the dirt ---
sooner or later........
Photos courtesy of Rick and Rory's, Travelpod and Google Images