As a natural born feminist and founder of The Sacred Beauty Movement, I believe that every woman is a goddess. What that means to me is that we inherently possess the strength, intellect, spiritual wisdom and beauty of a divine being, to be revered, loved and honored. By definition, a goddess is a female god or deity-- a woman of extraordinary beauty and charm. Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, in “Goddesses in Everywoman” writes, “The Great Goddess was worshipped as the feminine life force, deeply connected to nature and fertility, responsible for both creating life and destroying life”.
Goddesses can be found in many cultures throughout the world, including regions as diverse as Africa, India, China, Italy and Greece. Our trip to Greece was a chance to visit the birthplace of Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis, some of the Greek goddesses whose ancient mythology has inspired people for thousands of years. Dr. Bolen’s book accompanied me on my journey-- I highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring how the Greek goddesses archetypes can guide our lives as women.
Now, onto my travels through the mythical, sacred land of Greece! I was incredibly grateful to visit this country with my partner, who was invited to speak at a wellness conference outside of Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city located in Northern Greece. We took a week to soak in Greek culture in Athens, Santorini and Crete before the conference. There is so much to share about each place, but I will focus on the highlights for this post. See much more on my Instagram stories (must view in app) , which will be up for just a bit longer on my profile!
A bird's eye view of Athens
We flew from NYC to Athens, which notably is named after Athena, the warrior Goddess of Wisdom and the Arts. Upon arrival we settled in at an adorable boutique hotel, overlooking the bustling cobblestone streets of Plaka, a historical neighborhood. That first night, we had dinner at a rooftop restaurant with an amazing view of the Acropolis, which is lit up at night. The next morning, we walked up winding streets to the Acropolis. These are the very places where many of our Western philosophies and ideas began. Alongside the grand Parthenon, is small and graceful temple to Athena Nike, meaning victory in Greek, reflecting her position as a warrior goddess.
Temple of Athena Nike
Hanging with the Caryatids
Our next stop was the breathtaking island of Santorini, which is best known for its whitewashed homes, stacked atop one another on steep cliffs overlooking the Aegean sea. This is where I tapped into my inner Greek goddess, requesting to be photographed here, there and everywhere! Our hotel, nestled in the beautiful town of Oia, provided the perfect backdrop, with wide views of the sea and surrounding islands.
The beauty of Oia, Santorini
View from our Santorini hotel, Kima Villa
After taking photos and exploring the town, we were ready to take in some of the island’s raw natural beauty. Santorini was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, over three thousand years ago. The volcanic rocks have eroded on the shore to form black and red sandy beaches. After lunch at a seaside Greek taverna, we visited both of these stunning beaches. Unfortunately, the water was too cold to get in, but I was sure to dip my feet in and thank Goddess Gaia (Earth Mother) for her infinite beauty.
Toes on the black sand beach
After two and a half days in Santorini, we took a ferry to Crete, the largest of the Greek islands and birthplace of the god Zeus! We stayed in Chania, in the quaint neighborhood of Old Town, comprised of winding, narrow streets, lined with colorful townhouses. You can see both Italian and Turkish influences throughout, but especially at the old Venetian harbor. We loved roaming around, shopping and having lunch at one of the tavernas facing the deep turquoise water. After lunch, we drove out to a visit Agia Triada (The Holy Trinity), a tranquil, 17th century monastery where we picked up olive oil produced from their abundant olive tree groves.
Charming in Chania
Venetian Port, Chania Old Town
Next, we visited Seitan Limania beach, which we heard was beautiful but didn’t know too much more (including that the name means “Devil’s Harbour”!). After a hair-raising, switchback drive down a narrow road, we arrived at a most incredible sight -- a snake-shaped inlet of the bright blue water surrounded by steep, rocky cliffs. I’m not an experienced hiker, so we hesitated to make the steep and somewhat technical climb down, but I was so drawn to the water’s beauty that I felt inspired to do it. I like to think I tapped into my inner Artemis, Goddess of the Wilderness here and I was so glad I did. It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of our trip.
Seitan Limania from above
Last, but not least, we arrived in our final stop, a quiet beach resort one hour’s drive from Thessaloniki. This was the site of the wellness conference, where healthcare professionals from all over the world came to learn about how to improve patient care and reduce burnout. Although I was just a guest of the conference, I got to share my Sacred Beauty philosophy with several new people I met, who were very interested and supportive. It was great to see so many people working on ways to improve healthcare systems worldwide. After our busy week of travel, the seaside setting was super relaxing and I took some time to take walks on the beach, collect seashells and just chill.
Our hotel room view in Pieria
Towards the end of the week, we went on a hike on Mt. Olympus, which was just a short ride from our hotel. How thrilling to visit the home of the Olympian gods and goddesses of Greek mythology! I had hoped for a moment to sit and meditate, but since we were with others, I chose to have a walking meditation, in which I quietly chanted “Goddess, guide me”. Our journey up Mt. Olympus left me in a place of reverence, for both the natural and spiritual worlds in which we travel.
Hike on Mt. Olympus
Thank you for joining me on my journey through gorgeous Greece! As women, I believe that we walk in the footsteps of the ancient goddesses of Greek mythology. Have you been to Greece or are you planning a trip soon? Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!
One more thing to share before I let you go: did you know that the word “cosmetics” comes from the Greek “kosmos”, meaning harmonious arrangement and order of the Universe? Certainly, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, had a hand in this!
Photos by Deepthiman Gowda and me