With Beauty Around Me by Carol P. Christ

With Beauty Around Me by Carol P. Christ


When I moved from Lesbos to Crete, I decided to take some 30 large and medium-sized handmade terra cotta pots acquired over the years along with me. As I had been living part-time in Crete for several years, most of the plants had died, but I managed to salvage freesia bulbs, chives, and cuttings from nutmeg-scented geraniums.

My friend Mavroudis helped me empty the soil into feed bags provided by a neighbor who keeps sheep. I decided to move the dirt too, as I didn’t fancy carrying numerous bags up to my apartment. The movers were not too happy about this, and by the time they were deposited higgledy-piggledy on my balconies in Crete, several of the pots were broken and the bags were leaking.

I mended the broken pots with trusty epoxy glue before I got sick, which was lucky, because, since then, I would not have been able to do it. A few weeks after arriving, I felt tired and had trouble eating. I was diagnosed with cancer and began chemo-therapy. I have little physical energy and spend much of my days resting in bed or sleeping. There are still many boxes to unpack and they can wait, but I felt the need to tend the balconies.

My apartment in Crete is a 6th floor “perch” just outside the city center walls, with views from balconies (and from inside) over rooftops to the surrounding sea, mountains, and island of Dia. The day after my first chemo, my architect sent Ali, a young Pakistani man, to help me put the pots in the places I designated and to fill them ½ to 2/3 with soil, so they would be ready for planting.

Even without plants, this made a huge difference. There were no more leaking dirt bags, and the balconies, which also held marble tables and metal garden chairs, as well as a newly created lion-faced water fountain I designed while still in Lesbos, were now usable. After I regained a bit of strength, I asked my Albanian cleaning lady Vera’s husband Eddy to take me plant shopping and to plant up my pots.

I had made a list, and despite the end of August being end of season, managed to find everything I was looking for. 3 myrtle bushes in honor of the sacred myrtle tree of Paliani, 5 lavenders, 3 grey and 2 green, a local jasmine that produces large white flowers all summer long, 2 basils, one large-leafed and one small, 2 Cretan dictamus, mint, and thyme for the large balcony. 5 miniature roses for the narrow balcony outside my bedroom and study. And for the balcony outside the kitchen, I would plant a kitchen garden with Thai basil (the one that winters over), along with parsley, sage, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, chives, purslane, and in winter, salad greens. Almost all Mediterranean natives, herbs, and aromatics. A week later we created the finishing touches: a lemon tree for the balcony with the roses, a topiary bay tree to place outside a picture window in my living room, and repairs to an antique pithos jar that would become a bird bath.

I knew surrounding myself with green life would lift my spirits, but I cannot find words to express the great joy my balcony gardens have given me. I have been rising before dawn to await the sunrise on my large balcony. When the sun comes up, I move to the kitchen balcony. There I find the mountains bathed in a rosy glow and watch pigeons fly from their sea crag beds to the mountains as they begin their day. The full moon appeared recently before setting in the morning sky. When I lie in bed, I look out on miniature roses.


I can feel beauty healing me.


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.





Author: Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ is a leading feminist historian of religion and theologian who leads the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, a life transforming tour for women. www.goddessariadne.org

29 thoughts on “With Beauty Around Me by Carol P. Christ”

  1. Oh, Carol, it’s saddening to hear of your illness! Hope the chemo is working well and that in time you will regain your strength. In the meantime, thank you for this heartening essay about the beauty and healing powers of the green plants on your balconies. You’re growing all my own favorite herbs, and the idea of having a real lemon tree makes me smile.

    May the Great Mother watch over you in your recovery. Blessed be.


  2. I was deeply distressed to read of your cancer. I am hopeful that you caught it early. I hold you in my heart…Looking at your pictures I find it easy to imagine you sitting on your balcony watching the rising of the sun and the early flight of the pigeons amongst all your greening friends. You have created a peaceful and stunning oasis, in the midst of a city, a place where Nature can heal you. All those fragrant herbs – do you touch them when you walk by? If you don’t please do. Plants have a way of communicating with us on levels we can barely comprehend and you have chosen so many natural healers. The beauty and peace that you created with your space comes through the photos. I am so grateful that you had the help you needed to pot up your plants… May the Greening Grace of the Great Mother be with you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Carol, I’m sorry to hear about your recent cancer diagnosis. I agree with you that beauty is essential in our lives. I’m in the process of fixing up my New Mexico yard with the help of my son-in-law. Already I can tell a difference in the way I’m feeling when I look out the window and see just plain loveliness. Sending healing thoughts and energy your way.


  4. Singing this version of the Beauty Way Song for you. May you heal in Beauty

    beauty before you, beauty behind you, beauty above you, beauty below you
    you are beautiful, beauty all around you, everything is beautiful, you are beauty

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonder photos of your plants in your new home. I’m so sorry to hear that you have cancer. I hope you’re healed very soon.Take good care of yourself. Well, I know you’re doing that. The Beauty Way is a Healing Way. Bright blessings, my friend.


  6. Your balcony gardens are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us. Surrounding yourself with all these lovely plant beings is indeed a wise thing to do at this time. Lots of love and positive thoughts coming your way as you make your way through this time. Please continue to let us know how you are doing.


  7. Sending love and healing. Yes, being surrounded by beauty certainly makes a difference. So glad you listened to your intuition and were able to work on the balconies. You’ve got a community holding space for your recovery. Wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are amazing! So wise to know these ancient healing herbs of the Goddess will help you heal, and so brave to ask for the help you needed to realise your dreams for your balconies. Bit by bit, you are making your Heraklion ‘nest’ as beautiful as your house and garden in Molivos were, and I have no doubt you will make your home into one all-embracing, nurturing altar. Thank you for sharing the news of your diagnosis with your FAR family. May all of the thoughts and prayers for your healing which we are sending your way be like fragrant green fronds releasing healing radiance for you! We love you so much! And yes, please, do continue to let us know how you are getting on and if there is anything we can do for you….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dearest Carol,

    Your intuition seems to have gotten you ready to receive the healing beauty of your new plants. I’ve also discovered that beauty is healing! When I moved to our house on Lake Mendota, I immediately realized that I would heal from my back problems there, because of the lovely vista I saw everyday, and I did.

    Like all the other women who’ve responded to your post, I am saddened that you have to go through cancer and chemo. I will send Reiki for your healing. Please keep us all in touch.

    Love, light, and healing darkness,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Carol,
    What a beautiful nest you have created for yourself for this healing time. I am sure the colors and smells of the flowers and herbs will bring you comfort and ease during the coming months. I send you my best wishes and want to remind you of all the feminine energy of the women you have guided and taught over these twenty five years (did I remember the number correctly?). We form a wide circle around you from all over the globe and are all holding you in the Light of the Goddess. May She make Her presence known to you in your sacred space.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dearest Karolina,
    You are so wise to create such a healing space. Your description reminds me of your tranquil and lovely balcony in Athens. Thank you for sharing your creation and your exquisite teachings.
    May you find restoration and strength as you heal. I am glad that you are in a place where you can get treatment and have support in your recovery.
    Sending you love and respect and prayers for your good health,
    Tessa Goldhamer


  12. Beauty all around you Carol, reflecting the beauty within. All good healing wishes to you. May your attention to beauty and the work you put into creating it, be the beauty that heals you ..


  13. Beauty, light and healing all around you, Carol. I’ll put one of your books next to healing incense and intention this evening. Blessings, and may the Mother’s arms encircle you.


  14. Oh Karolina, many blessings to you! rest as you need, and let your life force rise again amidst the beauty. We are all pulling for you.

    The myrtle: you probably already know this, but the word in ancient Greek also meant vulva, and myrtle berry meant clitoris.

    May Diktynna bring you vital essence, Pasiphae shed grace into your life, and Ariadne dance you into wellbeing. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Like everyone else, I hope you feel the healing energy coming to you from around the world! Talk about being surrounded by love. I’m so glad all that nature brings is now easily available to you.


  16. Sending la’a ke’a – Hawaiian love light to support you, nurture you and help you to heal. Also sending it to the wonderful plants and all the beauty that surrounds you so that its aura and energy will also continue to support you. Aloha Blessings.


  17. Thinking of you Carol and wishing you well. Love, Vicki

    From: “WordPress.com”
    Reply-To: “comment+rw0khl5sd99cj06rl6-v7jfq@comment.wordpress.com”
    Date: Monday, September 7, 2020 at 12:04 AM
    To: Vicki Noble
    Subject: [New post] With Beauty Around Me by Carol P. Christ

    Carol P. Christ posted: “With Beauty Around Me by Carol P. Christ When I moved from Lesbos to Crete, I decided to take some 30 large and medium-sized handmade terra cotta pots acquired over the years along with me. As I had been living part-time in Crete for several year”


  18. Oh Carol, I am so sorry that you have cancer! May the beauty and healing energy of your plants sustain you, and may the love of all of us at FAR and all the women you’ve encouraged and taught, comfort and uplift you. Sending prayers and healing energy.


  19. Dear Carol:
    Thank you so much for sharing!!! I am sending lots of love and healing prayers. . . May the beauty of your plants as well as the land, the sunsets and all that you love in Crete be in alignment with you on your healing journey. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dear Karolina, may you be well – I am sad to hear of the cancer. I am sure that surrounding your self with this beauty does heal: it is so good that you have been able to have help to do that. I think it is time for great care and love of self.
    with love,

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Blessed Divine Sister Karolina, your inner beauty and wisdom will keep drawing the healing siblings (herbs, flowers, plants) to strengthen you out, beyond the unwelcome diagnosis. Goddess in has reached a point of communing with the grief at Lesbos. I see you emerging in renewed and luminous energies from all this.
    May Goddess in Her Wisdom work through your three bodies, with infinite Love.
    Yours in Her

    Liked by 1 person

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