You see I've never been abroad with this body before; I didn't know how it would respond. I wasn't going to do any driving and that's unusual for me and felt disempowering to the ego. I'm the woman who travelled all around China with her Dad in thee 1980s and barely turned a hair at staying in hotels where the only loo was two floors down and the culture was challenging the say the least.
And I have a neck that does not look normal—and my ego hated the idea of people staring at me. Yes, I've got a lovely haircut from Ivan so that the hair naturally flows around that part of my neck but in wind (and Cyprus has wind) it's painfully exposed.
I had been doing so much inner work on feeling beautiful again and, guess what, another challenge. Yes, I know it's all about inner beauty but it's also about re-training the ego. Middle aged women are fairly invisible a lot of the time and it had been such a wonderful surprise when I became slim again after so many years to find that I turned heads like I used to as a 30-year-old. The heads were in their sixties but fortunately that doesn't matter when you get older.
There was also the ego's fear around food. No juices for a week, unknown foods and precious little hope of any gluten-free bread. Even on a healing journey we get locked into the 'you must do this and this and this' and I am very careful about what I eat. With, effectively, a week off, ego tried to fret because its safety net had gone. Friends, of course, said 'it will do you good to eat what you like and have fun' and they're right. But...
By the time we were at the hotel I felt better and within 24 hours my ego had settled in and realised that no one was going to point and shout like in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and even though the salads were strangely disappointing, they did at least exist. And oh, the sunshine! And oh, the sea! It's only a year since we had a beach holiday but nonetheless it was so wonderful to be warm and to paddle and to sit on the sand.
(WBX warning). I sat on the beach the first evening and greeted Aphrodite, the Goddess of this island and asked for blessings on all the land, its creatures, its people and its spirits. I don't have the slightest problem with speaking to ancient Gods. They are archetypes—each one is represented by one of the names of God in the Hebrew Testament. One of the brilliant things about Judaism and Christianity is that they brought the pantheons together, recognising one over-Divinity containing different aspects to make it simpler and less dangerous for us.
In Christianity, for instance there is Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Ghost but also Mary the Divine Mother and all the stories of Christ in the Gospels. Jesus' life and those he meets and works with are beautiful demonstrations of the different aspects of Divinity and how they can be balanced or out of balance. Through understanding the Hebrew and New Testaments in a mystical context we can see those 'Gods' in us and assess whether they are positive or negative influences.
The commandment 'thou shalt have no other Gods before me' is advice to stick with the whole of the Divine as your first port of call. It doesn't say that there are no other Gods.
If you mess around with Gods you get in trouble because a single God is out of balance with the whole. Yes, you may need the energy of one to pull you back from imbalance at times but generally they're best not messed with.
However, it's only polite to greet and bless them (Gods don't just vanish because we stop believing in them—read Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul for more on that. And they're pretty prevalent in our movie and comic culture too). The blessing is the blessing of the most Holy One so you are making it quite clear where you stand. I called for blessing on all the Greek Gods but led with Aphrodite because it's her island. Aphrodite appeared—or at least I imagined she did—to see what this little human being who had blessed her and her companions was about.
Gods don't chat. Angels don't chat either. Gods are angelic archetypes and completely ruthless when they need to be. But you can usually tell if you're speaking with something from another reality when the words (that you hear in your head) are totally unexpected.
Aphrodite asked what I wanted in return for the blessing. I said 'nothing', she said 'pah' so I said 'healing, in the name of the Most Holy One, but I don't think that's your provenance for me.'
She said 'it will cost you blood' and vanished. And Pallas Athene was there instead. Yes, I know, I know, but that's what seemed to be going on and Athene is the aspect of the One God with which I am working right now—the martial 'let's cut out the crap' attribute. Athene and I had a short talk—under the provenance of the Most Holy One—and made an agreement but it was still going to cost blood.
Two days later, five minutes before going into the church for Ariadne's christening, I had a totally spontaneous nose-bleed. The Goddess got her blood. She will keep her end of the bargain.
I never saw him again.