As a Goddess-centric Witch, I am always looking for new ways to connect with the myriad of global goddesses. Even though I know that I can have powerful relationships with different goddesses from the comfort of my home, I’ve also got a bit of a travel bug, so when I am wandering in new places, I try to hold myself open to spiritual experience and divine intervention. Sometimes, though, I only realize how magical the experience was after the fact. I'll be exploring these different experiences and goddesses on this blog.
Mary, Mary: Florence is Divine
Ten years ago, I traveled to Italy. I was a newly-minted Goddess girl, plus I’d just read The Da Vinci Code, so I spent the trip searching for the divine feminine hidden in plain sight. In Italy, I didn’t have to look very far; Mother Mary is, quite literally, represented on every street corner throughout Italy.
I spent the majority of my trip in Florence (I was there for a month), but I never got tired of coming face to face with Mary as I meandered around the city. Like the benign mother she’s revered as, Mary still looks down on the Tuscan countryside with quiet patience.
Life in Italy in the summer is slow, but I wouldn’t call it lazy. Everything is a busy bustle, the tourists mixing with the street performers, gypsies, and local businessmen and women to create a beautiful madness. It’s like the world’s coolest family reunion, where everyone has a seat at the table and the octogenarians preside in splendor. And, like so many families, it’s the powerful, often behind-the-scenes presence of the women that keep the party going.
I was expecting Italy to feel unsafe as young female traveler; the stereotype of the flirty, forceful Italian man dominated my worries as I prepared for the trip, and the warnings my school offered about gypsies and pick-pockets made me clutch my purse close whenever I walked alone.
Thankfully, Florence surprised me.
I felt equally safe wandering around the city alone as I did when I was with a fortified group of other study abroad participants. Whether we were partying, shopping, walking home after a late dinner, or simply running down to the grocer on the corner, I felt totally at ease in Florence. This hasn’t often been my response when I’m traveling alone, but looking back, I have to wonder if my security was due to Mary’s dominant presence in Florence.
My month in Florence felt more like living than traveling, and as such, I missed a number of touristy spots while I was there (and I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I meant to). I’ve loved other places I’ve visited, but I’ve never felt so quickly comfortable as I did in Italy. I’m sure a number of factors contributed to my experience, but I think Mary deserves quite a bit of the credit for making me feel so welcome.
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