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December is off to a thrilling start

Max (the cat) got into a cat fight. I heard screeching outside, and by the time I got out there, Max was sitting under the yard light, quaking and shaking. He was so traumatized that he would not let us come near him. He hid under a couch, a chair, the bed, and even growled if we so much as spoke his name. His owner said he was a drama queen and would probably be fine.

The next day he still seemed upset, so my husband bundled him off to the vet. Poor Robin got to cope with yowling, vomiting, and pooping. The joys of pet-sitting! The vet checked him out, doctored a few scratches, and prescribed some antibiotics. The drugs calmed him, and he got cuddly again—to the point of needy! 

We had some cool outings during the week. We returned to the UNESCO Archeological Park to view all the mosaics we missed last time since we had barely scratched the surface. We marched inside, went to the other side of the venue, and found…. one mosaic. That’s right—only one! All of the other (many) mosaics were 1) covered in sand; 2) covered with gravel; or 3) hidden beneath wood panels inside a house they are in the midst of renovating. (This last one features a mosaic of Aion, which I had my heart set on viewing since Jung wrote a book with that very title!) To say we were disappointed is an understatement.

We managed to buttonhole some employees and asked why the mosaics were covered up. They told us how they “winter” them this way every year, and to come back in May when they would be visible again. Phooey! 

At least we got to see Theseus slaying the Minotaur. It was remarkable.

Can you imagine having this magnificent work on the floor of your home?!

To commemorate the birth of Aphrodite—which Cyprus is famous for—we decided to visit the ancient Aphrodite Sanctuary, another UNESCO site. The cult of Aphrodite was established before the time of Homer (c. 700 BC) because the grove and altar of Aphrodite at Paphos are mentioned in the Odyssey. Female figurines and charms found in this vicinity date to the early third millennium BC, and structures were erected here during the Late Bronze Age. In other words, this place was OLD.

The altar and aniconic black stone (see below) were worshipped at the sanctuary as the simulacrum of Aphrodite (or Venus, as the Romans called her). A Roman historian wrote:

Blood may not be shed upon the altar, but offering is made only with prayers and pure fire. The altar is never wet by any rain, although it is in the open air. The representation of the goddess is not in human form, but it is a circular mass that is broader at the base and rises like a turning-post to a small circumference at the top. The reason for this is obscure.

This stone was depicted on many Roman coins, as seen in the coin image shown below the stone, blown up to reveal its detail, featuring this stone in the center. Aphrodite herself was not depicted—only her stone. 

What do you think of this as a symbol for the goddess of love and beauty? What do you imagine it means?

On yet another day, we visited the Monastery of Chrysorrogiatissa, said to be dedicated to “Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate.” It was established in 1152 by the monk Ignatios, but the Legend starts even earlier than that.

The monk found a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary off the shore of Paphos. Somehow it was deduced that this icon had been thrown into the sea in Asia Minor during a period of religious iconoclasm, and it drifted to Paphos on the waves. He felt this was a sign that he must build a church in its honor.

The church as it currently stands is a dimly-lit single-aisle church built in 1770 that was erected atop the foundations of an earlier one. The gold and silver-plated icon of Christ and the Virgin Mary barely visible to my right is rumored to have been painted by Luke the Evangelist (one of the original 12 apostles).

Unfortunately (in an echo of the inaccessibility of the Paphos mosaics), the Icons and Utensil Treasury museum at the monastery—which is home to a collection of important icons, religious objects and other artifacts—was closed for roof repair. Our fingers are crossed that we can return and visit the museum before our final departure in a couple of months.

To put the cap on a full week of strange and wondrous things, I had a remarkable encounter with a pelican:

Yes, that is a real, live, pink pelican. 

I petted his head and he tried to eat my scarf.

Let it not be lost on you that we are at the Pelican restaurant. I guess he knows his home!  If you’d like to see a 1-3/4 minute video of my interaction with the pelican, click here:

By the way, I had some amazing breakthroughs this week while coaching one of my clients on their typology and observing how it related to her experiences of family at Thanksgiving. She gained a whole raft of new insights that rocked her world. If you would like me to rock your world too, please get in touch!

warmly, -Dr. Vicky Jo

PS: To see more and take a vicarious tour, here are some videos I found on YouTube (not mine):

Aphrodite’s sanctuary is shown here:

The exterior of the monastery can be admired here:

A short video that shows some interior is here:

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