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Delos - 03 The sacred geographical features

Identifier

022514

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Delos contains very very extensive sacred geographical features, - natural features and man-made - which would have appeared a great deal more impressive before the rises in sea level.

The École française d'Athènes ("French School of Athens") has been excavating the island since 1872 and these are the main sacred geography sites:

  • Water sites - The small Sacred Lake in its circular bowl, now intentionally left dry by the island's caretakers to suppress disease spreading bacteria, is a topographical feature that determined the placement of later features.
  • Fountain - The Minoan Fountain was a rectangular public well hewn in the rock, with a central column; it formalized the sacred spring in its present 6th century BC form.
  • Enclosures and camps – At one time there may have been sacred dancing spaces – the ‘dance floor’, for the ecstatic dances and music making used in Dionysian rites.  These appear to have been desecrated by the incoming Greeks or Romans and turned into market squares.
  • Twin mountains - From its Sacred Harbour, the horizon shows the two conical mounds.  Thus before the sea level rise and seen from afar,  it would have been symbolically a twin mountain – twin peaks as it were – or maybe even the pillars of Hercules. 
  • Island and isthmus - It is an island, and it has an isthmus  - if one looks at the Shaivism entry you will see that symbolically this is key, there has to be a causeway or entrance leading to the sacred centre.  The Pre-Greek name for this sacred centre is Mount Kynthos, and it is crowned with a sanctuary of Zeus [Shiva].  In other words Mount Kynthos is the Linga and the surrounding island the yoni, with the isthmus leading to it. 
    This can only be seen if you examine the hypothetical maps of the coastline of the group of islands of which Delos is a part.  Delos to modern Rineia even as late as 850 BC, was still one island, so technically what’s called Rineia today was not Rineia in Ancient Greece.

The source of the experience

Shaivism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References