The Myths, Heroes, Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece
June 12 – 22, 2012
Island of the Gods
A Crete Encounter
June 20 – 25, 2012
Join Phil Cousineau for an unforgettable sacred odyssey into the heart of ancient Greece. Journey through a land of myth and mysteries, discovering the legends of ancient gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines. Visit sacred ancient sites in honour of the Greek gods and goddesses, and take a step back in time to relive the ancient stories. Blessed with the bountiful gifts of the captivating islands, enjoy the spectacular natural surroundings, the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the delicious traditional cuisine, the lively and vibrant culture and the welcoming Greek people.
Our journey will begin in Athens as we follow the Panathenaic Way, the ancient procession of the goddess, up to the Acropolis to explore this sacred site. At the Acropolis Museum we will discover the antique relics and findings from the site of the Acropolis, finally ending our day at the sacred centre of the Agora in the heart of the city. We continue on to the sacred site of Delphi and the Sanctuary of Eleusis to learn about the ancient secret rites and initiation ceremonies and discuss the role of the goddess in Greek mythology as well as the role of ritual in antiquity. We shall also wind our way up the ancient Sacred Way to the home of the Oracle at the Temple of Apollo, one of the greatest pilgrimage sites in all the world, and, in the spirit of the ancient pilgrims, we too shall ask a question. At Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games, we shall learn about the relationship between athletics and spirituality, and the sacred dimensions of sports in ancient times. Travelling on to the seaport town of Nafplion, we find cobblestone streets, Venetian balconies, picturesque cafés and fortresses. Continuing our journey, we stop in Mystra, Sparta, and Mycenae, eventually winding up our odyssey on the island of Santorini. With its dramatic caldera views and stunning sunsets, here we shall unravel mysteries of the ancient Minoan civilization that flourished in Akrotiri before a momentous volcanic eruption destroyed it in the 2nd century B.C.E. We will also discuss the Myth of Atlantis, which was born here, and has persisted for over two thousand years. Finally, we return to Athens and bid a fond farewell to this magical land.
You may also continue your journey and join us on an optional extension to Crete, known as the “Island of the Gods”, according to Homer. Here we will visit Bronze Age sites and learn about the magnificent civilization that once inhabited this enchanting place. Phil will spin many ancient tales on this journey, including the legend of the Minotaur and his labyrinth at Knossos. We will also visit the Paliani Monastery to discover its associations with Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, and the Dikteon Andron,the spectacular cave which has long been considered the legendary secret birth site of Zeus.