Siracusa’s Myth of Aretusa

In May, during our tour Myths & Mysteries of Sicily: As Above/So Below, we’ll be staying right near this stunning Fontana di Diana in Ortigia, Siracusa that tells the story of the Nereid-water nymph Aretusa and her protector, the goddess Artemis/Diana. One day while hunting in the forest in Greece, Aretusa decided to take a…

The Goddess Within

Happy International Women’s Day! I offer this statuette of the goddess Cybele, the ancient mother goddess from Anatolia, as homage to all of the mothers and women in leadership and caretaking positions. Your power is profound and inspirational. You all have goddesses within! This marble piece is Roman from 1st-2nd century AD, based on a…

Autumn Is Here And So Are Pomegranates

“By what guile did the mighty Host-to-Many deceive you?” the Goddess Demeter asked her daughter Persephone in the The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (As translated by Helene P. Foley). … If you guessed that Hades (the “Host-to-Many”) deceived Persephone by feeding her pomegranate seeds (based on the photo), you are correct. Hades’ cunning action condemned…

Ancient Origins

In ancient Greek times in Sicily, especially in the eastern coastal cities such as Catania and Siracusa, extending to Enna, in the island’s center, Demeter and her daughter Persephone were venerated with fervor. Pictured here on this krater (a cistern used for mixing water with fermented grapes to make wine) from 425-400 BCE, now in…

Dress Like A Goddess

These terracotta figurines from the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C.E. are goddesses. Scholars know they are deities because they are wearing a polos. A polos is a headdress that collects the woman’s hair into a column of sorts, which prompts her hair upward and then to cascade from the top. Images of mortal women from…

Demeter’s Joy: Summer 

Happy Summer! I present to you the magnificent Goddess of Morgantina, in celebration of the solstice. Scholars don’t know if she represents Aphrodite, Demeter, Persephone, or Hera. But her size (2.20-2.25 meters high), indicates that it was certainly a mystery cult statue of great importance. Personally, I believe that she is Persephone because her right…

Ortigia’s Diana Fountain 

In the center of Siracusa’s Ortigia Island, in Piazza Archimede, is the Fountain of Diana. In 1906, Italian sculptor Giulio Moschetti (1847-1909) designed and constructed the modern, yet Baroque-feeling work that features the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, moon, and childbirth, i.e. the Roman Diana or Greek Artemis. Also present in the sculpture scene…