I arrived to Crete on June 6. Movers were in my house in Lesbos on the 4th and 5th. I put myself, my car, and my cat on an overnight ferry from Lesbos to Athens on June 5, and, after a day, took a second overnight ferry from Athens to Heraklion. Then another day moving my furniture and belongings up to my 5th floor apartment using a crane. The agreement was that the moving company would put all of the furniture in its place, while I would unpack over the next few days.
This was the end of a very long journey. I bought the apartment at the end of September and expected to be in Crete by Christmas. Paperwork problems delayed the contract of sale until the end of February. My architect was ready to begin renovations. I hoped to be in Crete by the end of March. Then the Covid quarantine hit Greece. Luckily work on the apartment was allowed to continue during the quarantine. And my architect sent copious photographs and asked my opinion about everything.
Not so luckily, it was discovered that the heat and air condition system needed to be replaced; the jacuzzi bathtub was broken and could not be fixed; and due to a series of loose tiles the whole apartment would need to be retiled. I understood that in the long term it would be good to replace the heat and air condition now rather than later. And the new tiles I found days before the quarantine would have made seeing them in person impossible are stunning.
The renovations were coming to an end about the time Greece began to allow travel to the islands (which had almost no Covid). The move itself was a bit more chaotic than I had anticipated, and of course the two days of travel to reach Crete were tiring. But I was very pleased with the renovations. My little cat who had been indoor-outdoor was very good on the trip and told me that she is happy with the large balconies in the apartment and glad to be free of the “mean cats” in the garden of our former home.
Though I was exhausted when the movers left, I recovered my strength in the next few days. There were workmen in the house the first week, but they were all kind and careful and eager to please. I did not make as much progress unpacking as I had hoped, but I succeeded in making the bedroom and bathroom beautiful. On the downside, my cell phone broke and every time I went out to shop, I got very lost in a warren of one-way streets that were not laid out geometrically.
Then exhaustion hit and my gastro-intestinal system packed up.
I spent most of the next week sleeping and did not have the energy to open a single box. I live alone and am not used to asking for help. I suffered. Finally, I asked new friend and FAR sister Eirini Delaki to send me healing energy from far away Spain. Within in the hour the blockage in my gastro-intestinal system cleared! I felt I was on the road to recovery. Still I could not gather the strength to resume unpacking. There was still something blocking my path.
My friends reminded me that no matter how well I had planned it, the move I am making is massive. They told me to be sure I was eating fruits and vegetables and olive oil (I had been surviving on fast food) and to rest as much as I needed to. During one of my naps, while pondering the tasks ahead of me, I heard the words: the uprooting of the sacred tree. Though I would never condone the literal uprooting of a sacred tree, I understood that this was exactly what I had done when I moved.
“Some people have altars in their homes,” my friend Christine Downing once said, “but Carol’s whole home is an altar.”
Not only are images of the Goddess and found shells and stones lovingly placed in every room, but also, inherited china and silver, peacock feathers from my grandmother’s garden, and special pieces of furniture testify to my ancestral connection to my mother and grandmothers.
As I thought about the words “uprooting the sacred tree,” I realized that I had dismantled the sacred space of my home.
The next message came in the words “losing my skin.”
Those who know me, know that I am very sensitive. Two energy healers have told me that my energy field is—very unusually–right on the surface of my skin. One of them commented that it is as if my electric wires are without the normal plastic coating. I have learned that my extreme sensitivity, while not always easy to navigate, is a gift: it is the reason that so many women have responded to my work and that many have confided their deepest secrets.
No wonder it has been difficult for me to be living without the protective skin that is the sacred space of my home!
Now that I realize that my home is not only an altar, but also provides the protection my sensitive nature requires, I trust that I will find the strength (slowly slowly) to re-root the sacred tree in my new home in Crete.
Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator who lives in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.
Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.