Celebrate life on a journey through ancient Greece
3-12 May 2020
Join Rachel Pollack for a 21st century journey into the Eleusinian Mysteries, the most important religious rites of ancient Greece. The Mysteries celebrate the goddess Demeter’s refusal to accept her daughter, Persephone, being abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld. Demeter forces Hades (and Zeus) to allow Persephone to return to the Living for part of every year.
For initiates of the Mysteries, the rebirth of Persephone symbolised not just the seasons, but also the eternity of life from generation to generation and the soul’s journey from one life to the next. Because of the secrecy surrounding the Mysteries, the precise nature of the rituals is unknown. However, those who participated in the rituals overcame their fear of death.
Later mystery cults were closed to all but a few, often men only. Eleusis was open to anyone who spoke Greek and was not a murderer. The participants identified with Demeter and dressed in shrouds, which later became swaddling clothes for babies. A Roman coin shows an emperor, with the title “Goddess” because he had been initiated at Eleusis.
As we journey to sites associated with the Mysteries and the myths of ancient Greece, we celebrate our own personal journeys of descent, search and rebirth. Through ritual, visualization, story-telling and tarot, we honour the Mysteries of our own lives, those times when loss has been followed by the joy of resurrection, the joy of awakening.
Highlights of our Mysteries tour of Greece include:
- Athens – the Acropolis with optional visit to the Acropolis Museum, shopping in local markets
- Delphi on the slopes of Mt Parnassus – the Temple of Apollo where the Oracle of Delphi was consulted through the Pythia, the priestess who spoke the message of the Gods. The ancients considered Delphi the centre of the world. We honour Apollo, the God of prophecy, Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth, Demeter, who had her own temple at Delphi, and the Muses, givers of art and beauty.
- Eleusis – the remains of the sanctuary where the Eleusinian Mysteries took place every year. This, too, is a place with very special energy. People here often sense going back in time.
- The islands of Mykonos and nearby Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, an island with no modern buildings, only sacred sites.
- Crete where many believe the Mysteries originated. We visit the “Palaces” of Knossos and Phaistos, along with a prehistoric cemetery.
Click here to download a detailed itinerary.
Throughout the journey, we experience the power of the landscape as its eternal beauty merges with the myths and rituals.
The tour starts in Athens and ends in Crete. Places are limited to 22, so please register early to secure your place – by 31 October if possible.
Click here to register online.
A few weeks before the tour starts, we send additional information about the itinerary and extensive tips to help you pack and get ready for your journey.
Click the ‘Play’ arrow to hear Rachel talking about the Mysteries, the message they have for us today and what we’ll be doing on the tour.
Your tour leader
Rachel Pollack is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the modern interpretation of the Tarot. Her book Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom, in print since 1980, is often called “the Bible of Tarot readers.” She designed and drew the Shining Tribe Tarot and with Robert place created The Raziel Tarot. She is also a novelist, winner of The World Fantasy Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. She has taught Tarot in many countries, including Europe, Australia, and China. Click here to visit Rachel’s website.
Of the Eleusinian Mysteries, Rachel writes…Demeter and Persephone are among the great figures of mythology, Demeter for her refusal to surrender her daughter, and Persephone, for her transformation from a frightened innocent to She Who Shines In Darkness (the meaning of her name). By going to the sites, and creating our own rituals, and sharing our stories, we will experience our own Mysteries. This is a journey I led 15 years ago, and I am thrilled to be doing it again.
Your tour organiser
Linda Marson is a professional Tarot reader, teacher, video producer and founder of Global Spiritual Studies. She is also a former President of the Tarot Guild of Australia. “Tarot and travel go together like strawberries and cream,” she says. “I help to organise and host tours of sacred sites and landscapes in the UK and Ireland offered by Gothic Image Tours. Consulting the Tarot as you travel can yield amazing insights into stuff that’s going on in your life. Think of those cards as a GPS, one that puts you in the driver’s seat. They alert you to road blocks and shortcuts to where you want to be in your life. I’m very much looking forward to working with Rachel on ways of bringing Tarot into our Greek Mysteries journey.”
Published in 2005, Linda’s book, Ticket, Passport and Tarot Cards, was the first time anyone had systematically used travel stories as a way of explaining the meaning of the Major Arcana cards. The book contained stories from her travels over the past 40+ years, which showed how her outer journeys have run parallel to stages in her inner journey. The book was quickly followed by a TV series aired on community television around Australia. In 2017, a major revision of everything took place, resulting in TarotNav – a GPS for Life.
Your Greek interpreter
Evgenia (Evie) Stogiannidis is a first generation Greek Australian, born in Melbourne Australia. Greek was the language at home, so by the time she went to Greece with her family as a three-year old, she was already learning two languages – Greek and English. “We lived in Greece for three years and Greek became my first language. When we returned to Australia, I remember having English lessons at school to improve my English!”
In 2011, Evie returned to Greece as a solo traveller. “My time in Greece was a deeply enriching experience, re-connecting with family from both my mother and father’s side, and to the sacred places of the land where my ancestors had walked before me. It was a life-changing experience and ever since, I’ve been feeling a strong pull to return to the motherland.
I’m a certified yoga teacher and run Curvylicious Yoga, an inclusive yoga space for all bodies. I’m also a Tarot reader, reiki healer, artist, writer, and also facilitate gatherings for the new moon, full moon, as well as celebrating the seasons and equinoxes.”
Guest archaeological experts
Guides with expert knowledge of the archaeological sites we visit will join us for a couple of hours at our hotels in Athens and Crete to provide information about the sites.
Early bird: $2,995 USD per person twin share.
To qualify for this price, you must book and pay your deposit by 15 November 2019.
Full price: $3,200 USD per person, twin share (from 16 November 2019)
Single supplement: $620 USD per person. Single rooms are few and on a first come, first served basis.
If you are not registering with a friend or partner, we can help you find a kindred spirit room mate.
Deposit: $700 USD, payable upon booking.
Payment options: This can be done online through PayPal using a debit or credit card (with OR without a PayPal account). A direct link to PayPal is provided at the bottom of the registration page.
Currency converter at http://www.xe.com/.
Note: Australians registering for the tour can pay in Australian dollars. Please email Linda Marson for the price in AUD and bank account details.
- quality, comfortable, mainly 4 star accommodation.
- coach travel
- breakfast and dinner each day
- entrance fees
- guide fees, taxes and gratuities (excl. drivers) .
- international airfares and travel insurance
- gratuities for coach drivers
- services not specified.