Saturday, May 8, 2010
Samothrace, Sacred Island of the Great Mother
I found the story behind this ancient island to be truly fascinating. Samothrace is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. The myth behind it involves the Amazon Queen Myrine.
It is said that the queen of the Amazons wanted to settle in some of the islands in the Aegean. On her quest to conquer these islands, she and her crew got caught in a violent storm. In the chaos, she prayed for safety to the Mother of the Gods. She was then carried to one of these uninhabited islands, and decided to make this place sacred to the Goddess, and set up great altars and shrines. She then named the island Samothrace, which in Greek means "Sacred Island".
This island was known for its mystery religious cult. Here they performed secret ceremonies and initiations. The pantheon of Gods they worshiped were primarily chthonic deities, with focus on one central figure, The Great Mother. People from all over came to this island to partake in sacred ceremonies and rituals. Some of the Goddesses they were said to have worshiped here, were variations of Cybele, Hecate and Demeter.
The Amazons were known to be warrior women who worshiped female deities. They defended their territory quite successfully, like they're neighboring male dominated societies. On the island of Samothrace, they worshiped their Great Mother at sacred rocks, here they made great sacrifices to her. Archaeologists have found inscriptions on some of these rocks in characters of an unknown language. It is said that this was the sacred language of the Samothracian Mysteries. Some say that the Amazons were just a myth, some believe otherwise. There has been some evidence found, of a possible female warrior society. Whether the interpretation of these findings is correct remains to be seen. I don't think it would be so outrageous to think that there could have been an all female warrior society.
For more information on the island of Samothrace and its sacred temple complex check out Wikipedia
For more information regarding the story of the Amazons on the island of Samothrace, check out this great article: Amazon Research Network Article
Also if you are interested in learning more about the Amazons check out the Amazon Research Network Website
Photo courtesy of Old Vagabond
Posted by Tara at 2:28 PM