At the beginning of the world there were two gods, Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth). Uranus, terrified of losing his power to his descendants cast his children down to earth.
Gaia was furious with her husband’s selfish behaviour and hid her son Cronus from him in the marriage bed.
When he was grown she helped him over throw his father Uranus. Gaia convinced her son Cronus to take a sickle and castrate his father, throwing his manhood into the ocean (ouch!). This is how the goddess of love, Aphrodite was born.
Anyway, like father like son, Cronus was also terrified of his own children. He worried that they might do as he had done & so like any sane, reasonable man, he ate them. Swallowed them whole so they would never be able to take his place. Cronus and his wife Rhea had five children who were all gobbled up before Zeus was born.
As you can imagine poor Rhea was a bit sick of sending her babies off to their gruesome fate so when pregnant with little Zeus she asked her parents Uranus & Gaia for help.
They suggested she hid. So pregnant Rhea went to Crete and hid in a cave in the mountains so she could give birth in peace. She tried to remain as quiet as possible so to stifle her cries of pain she dug her nails into the earth. From each finger arose of of the ten Dactyls, benevolent inhabitants of the Cretan mountains.
Once Zeus was born he was given to the Curetes to guard. They dances & clashed their shields to cover the din of his crying (which I can’t imagine helped the crying) and keep him secret. Clever Rhea went to her husband with the news that she had given birth, swaddled a rock in blankets and gave it to him. Cronus swallowed the bundle in one gulp & relaxed, safe in the knowledge that his children would never take his throne… or so he thought *dum dum duuuummm *
As we all know, Zeus grew strong on goat’s milk & honey in the mountains and overthrew his father in a huge & terrible war. Eventually he assumed divine authority and he & his children ruled the world with his children as the 12 Gods of Olympus.
Flash forward a couple thousand years… Rosie & her mother are in Greece! No-one’s pregnant, no-one’s hungry for baby, they just quite fancy a little pilgrimage to see where the great God Zeus was born. They jumped in their little hire car & wound their way through the mountains until they arrived at the bottom of the steep climb to the cave.
At the top of the mountain the heat is stifling. The crickets don’t sing here, they sort of scream & the noise reverberates inside your head. You have to pay to enter the cave (only 4 euros to keep the place going) but as soon as you slip below the lip of the entrance the sounds & heat of outside just disappear. The cave is perfectly quiet, cool & comforting.
There’s a well at the bottom of the cave where people leave coins & offerings to their gods & spirits of choice.
I dangled down & dipped our necklaces in water for luck & we made our wishes together.
The peace & quiet of the cave is perfect to just sit & think.
Imagine all the souls who’ve been there before you & revel in how small your life and problems are in the grand scheme of things. It’s a very humbling thought.
Watch out on the climb out though… you never know what creature from the depths could be following you!
Outside there’s a little shop where you can buy frozen Greek yogurt & strawberries.
If you’re planning on making the climb you’ll want to wear sensible shoes. (These Nikes are as sensible as I get.)
Of course you could always get an ass to take you up the hill, but you have to be prepared to look like one.
On the way home stop and buy some honey & herbs from one of the local ladies on the road.
They don’t speak a work of English but a smile doesn’t need translating.
If she has them grab a bag of these little plums.
They’re like miniature victoria plums & burst with juice as you eat them.
Gifts from the Greek Gods themselves.