Mythic Wisdom: A Greek Author’s Perspective

Connecting the past with the present has always been a powerful experience for me, maybe because I live in a land rich in history. In this blog I am going to explore a variety of topics, which I find deeply meaningful: women’s roles, gender and sexuality issues, activism, goddesses and gods, etc. By examining myths, symbols, and archetypal figures, I feel that we gain a fresh perspective on our lives and society. Ancient history, art, and literature can become amazing sources of inspiration. By learning from the wisdom of the past, we can transform ourselves and the world we live in.

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Harita Meenee

Harita Meenee

Harita Meenee is a Greek independent scholar of classical studies and women’s history. Her graduate studies were in the field of archetypal and women’s psychology. She works as a writer, translator and editor while also being a human rights activist. Harita has presented cultural TV programs and has lectured at universities in Greece and the US. She is the author of five books, as well as of numerous articles and essays published in Hellenic and international anthologies and magazines.

How Stories Can Change the World and Ourselves

Stories matter. In fact, human beings have been called “story-telling animals.” Every day we consume stories on the media and in books, films and TV shows. We can spend hours on Facebook reading the posts of friends, relatives, and even total strangers. We hunger for narratives that give us hope but all too often run into descriptions filled with horror, abuse and despair.
 
The narratives we’re told and the ones we tell ourselves interact to shape our way of thinking. They provide the context in which we place our experiences and the lens through which we interpret what happens to us. Stories affect our self-esteem, our emotions, and our mental health. They can be empowering or debilitating, life-enhancing or toxic. Though we seldom realize it, our relationship with ourselves and the world depends on stories, especially on the ones we’ve come to accept as “objective truth.” If these tales happen to be destructive, they can wreak havoc on our inner world.

Stories have a powerful grip on the human mind. Research shows that most people are unwilling to change their beliefs even when confronted with facts that contradict them. Facts appeal to the rational mind; hence their power is limited. Beliefs, on the other hand, are often rooted in narratives that we’ve been told from a young age or myths that are constantly cultivated by the media and which we’ve come to accept as facts.

We live in a society that relies on oppression and exploitation, hence the narratives we’re told are meant to maintain the status quo. For example, even though the story of Adam and Eve is an obvious myth, it's still used to stigmatize women, sexuality, and everyone who doesn't conform to gender norms. Furthermore, those who are at the top of the social hierarchy maintain power by portraying human beings as inherently greedy and aggressive, blaming on individuals all the evils created by the system itself. We learn that injustice, violence and war are inevitable because well, that's human nature, so what do you expect?

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A Journey with Hermes, Part 2

How can a journey up a stream turn into a mystical experience? My visit to the Aegean island of Samos showed me how I could connect with archetypal figures from Greek mythology through the beauty of nature.

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A Journey with Hermes

I was in for some surprises in May of 2006, when I first visited Samos, a Greek island near the border with Turkey, to give a talk at a students’ club. I had been invited by Minas Papageorgiou—a student back then and now a writer, researcher and journalist—to speak about Mary Magdalene. He took me on a journey up a stream named Potami (pron. potámi), the Greek word for river. It turned out to be a magical place as the stream runs through a forest and forms small lakes and waterfalls.

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Finding Meaning and Inspiration at Midlife

Have you ever wondered why “midlife crisis” is such a taboo subject? If everybody who lives long enough goes through it at some point or other, then why isn’t it openly discussed? My sense is that there’s a lot of stigma around this phase in life. Being middle-aged often means feeling vulnerable and vulnerability isn’t particularly acceptable in the kind of world we live in.

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My Journey to Revolutionary Egypt


Much as my friends were trying to dissuade me from visiting a country in revolutionary turmoil, I decided to travel to Egypt, hoping to find an answer to the riddles in my mind. It was a burning hot desire, an obsessive thought born after the explosion of the Revolution.

It was November of 2011. The country was ruled by SCAF, the military council that had taken over after the dictator Hosni Mubarak had been ousted. The spirit of the Revolution was alive and well, so once again the people of Egypt organized massive mobilizations.

I was aware of the dangers in demonstrating in Egypt. For months I had been in touch with activists and had read lots of horror stories. Questions were pounding on my mind. What if the demonstration was attacked by security forces, armed thugs, and snipers, as had happened during the Revolution? What if I got arrested and ended up in one of the country’s notorious jails where political prisoners were routinely raped and tortured?

Yet, time and again I could hear a voice calling out: “Will you risk your life for me?” It could have been the voice of Isis, Egypt, or the Revolution. In my mind all three had merged into one. I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything in the world!

So, there I was, in Tahrir, whose name means “Liberation,” the iconic square of the Revolution. I had been there just a few days earlier to visit the world-famous Museum of Cairo. That first visit was a pilgrimage to the treasures of the past that have kept me under their spell for so long. Isis and Osiris were there, staring at me with their inlaid eyes, holding the key to secret longings.

The second visit to Tahrir was a pilgrimage too, but of a different nature. Demonstrating side by side with Egyptian revolutionaries felt like a dream come true. The place was overflowing with protesters, many of them women wearing the hijab, the Muslim scarf, on their heads. They were key figures, just like they had played a leading role during the Revolution.

The march was a huge success, as well as the rallies organized in other parts of the country. It was reported that three million people demonstrated that day all over the country. The atmosphere was almost festive. Protesters seemed proud and strong. The energy of the Revolution was palpable—and there’s nothing like a revolution if you want to raise energy!

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I consider my work in the Green Party Greece to be spiritual, but of course I don't mention that to my Green friends. And as you s
Τhe Mysterious Pomegranate, the Goddess and the New Year

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