Sacred Journeys: The Ancient Maltese CultureKim Elkington March 1, 2004
Everyday, for three weeks in February, I’ve been either at an ancient stone temple or a sacred pilgrimage site. My whole being is still vibrating from the experience. On the first part of the journey I accompanied a friend who led a workshop to the ancient temples of Malta. The later part was in Glastonbury, England. Both locations have ancient stone temples built thousands of years ago, as well as a strong medieval presence.
Anthropologically and energetically speaking, the ancient temples and sacred sites of pre-Christian Europe and Mediterranean region were focused on the life giving force of nature. For example, buildings were aligned with the cycles of the sun, stars and seasons, while activities engaged the presence of the divine feminine or Great Mother. Likewise the arrival of Christianity brought chivalrous knights and tales of the divine male as protector and source of limitless compassion. One can tap into these forces in Malta and Glastonbury. The difference is that modern Malta is still dominated by its knights, who no longer recognize the divine feminine in the temples or even in nature, but see her now as an untouchable holy virgin. Glastonbury, on the other hand, is a town where it is not unusual to see a woman divining the ley lines with a crystal pendulum and men praying to the Great Mother at the healing waters of the Chalice.
I have often felt that the reason the world is so male dominated historically is that it balances out an ancient period in our history when feminine energy was just as dominant. When one stands inside the “goddess” temples in Malta it is clear that there was indeed a time when the Great Mother was honoured. It is very powerful. The whole trip became an opportunity for me to meet the Mother in her ancient form in the Maltese temples and later, talk to her in Glastonbury, and therein discover my divine female side was filled with divine male energy. Something about experiencing the goddess temples brought historical balance and with that, the happy marriage of oppositions within my own heart. It may be premature to say marriage — perhaps the beginnings of some meaningful flirtations.
The Malta workshop was very much about the goddess energy of the ancient Maltese temples and likewise, the union taking place again in the modern world of the divine male and divine female (for more see www.whisperingsong.com). There were wonderful opportunities to enjoy the temples after hours to chant and pray. To anyone not familiar with these surface and underground temples of Malta and Gozo they are a treasure. At 6,500 years old they are officially the oldest stone temples yet uncovered on the Earth. Most are shaped like a human figure, which most observers believe to be a female figure. The art at the temples consisted primarily of spirals and hundreds of fertility figures, or “fat ladies” as they were called.
The temples were the same shape as the fertility figures and, for us, the entrance meant moving through the birth canal into the hips and then the breasts, and as we did so, we began speaking to the spirits of the past and the Great Mother. For 2,500 years this culture never seemed to produce weapons. One underground temple, the Hypogeum, discovered fairly recently, is painted in ochre spirals and filled with dreaming chambers connected by vibration holes where the entire underground complex comes alive as a single voice is toned into the main sounding hole.
My dreams were strong in Malta and many of them were about loss and surrendering to death. After Malta I headed to Glastonbury, the Chalice Well and the magic of Avalon. Here we were greeted with spirals again, and this time my dreams were of renewal and rebirth. At the well I felt it was the same divine presence I was interacting with, but in a different guise. It was as if I had needed to move through death to be able to speak with her at the well as an empowered being, who accepted the cycles of life. The cosmic intelligence we call god, is of course, neither male nor female but an integration of both. In greeting the ancient presence of the feminine as a cosmic force in these ancient temples I found myself awed by the power of that presence, and found it in turn within myself. Within that experience of self, a strong “male” aspect appears to be present as I open my eyes each day, an easy presence, strong, calm and vast. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship!
That was when any doubt about the intention of the temples vanished as each participant got a “hit” about a culture that used sound, dreaming, and divination as a source of guidance, and honey as an offering.
Kim Elkington is the co-founder of The Algonquin Tea Co, a line of quality teas made from organic wildcrafted Canadian herbs. These days, Kim works with Local Sustainably Wild-picked Canadian herbs to make organic herbal, black, green and chai tea blends. Find these products online: www.wildcanadiantea.com, or www.algonquintea.com Email Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org