Legacy of Carol P. Christ: Restored in Beauty

This was originally posted on May 11, 2015

The path leading to the Klapados Waterfall begins at the edge of an open meadow in the pine and oak woodlands of a mountain in the island of Lesbos. After driving several miles on a very rutted dirt track, we parked under an oak tree, crossed the meadow and scrambled down a winding path. After about 20 minutes, it ended at a stream surrounded by plane trees. From there, we climbed over rocks to reach a pool created by the seasonal waterfall.

waterfall at klapados 1

On the day we visited it, the waterfall was only a trickle of cascading drops that moistened its moss-covered path to the pool. The roots of a plane tree growing at the top of cliff followed the path of the water, weaving a web over the rockface all the way down to the pool.

Sitting on a rock at the edge of the pool I realized that the cliffs that embraced it on three sides were the remains of a crater formed twenty million (or so) years ago when a finger of molten lava pushed its way through the earth, exploding in clouds of dust and projectile rocks.

In Lesbos the volcanic activity came not from a single source–for example, from the highest mountain. Rather, like the plane trees in whose shade we rested, the volcano’s trunk with roots in the molten lava of the earth’s core, had many branches from which it erupted at different times. Huge boulders thrown out in the explosions can be seen in the meadows, while the trees in the forest curve their roots around them to reach the soil. The mountain was also shaped by the settling of volcanic dust that crumbles again into tiny fragments when exposed.

As I was thinking of all of this my friend Cristina climbed over the roots of the plane trees that surrounded the pool, removed her clothes, and slipped into the water. Soon I followed her. We sensed that we were in a sacred place, and as we have done rituals together many times before, our ritual emerged spontaneously: it almost seemed as if our minds and bodies were moving as one.

We renewed ourselves in beauty, submerging our bodies under the water three times, while floating in the embrace of the pool, gazing up at the rock formations, admiring trees that looked like dancing women, moss that looked like pubic hair, and blue black damselflies that all together had created a most beautiful place that called to something deep within us on that day.

Later we would sing the English version of the song of the Navajo Beautyway:

klapados waterfall 056

I walk with beauty before me.
I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty all around me.
As I walk the beauty way.
I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty below me.
I walk with beauty inside me.
As I walk the beauty way.

We are the creative process of life.

We are restored in beauty.

Blessed be!

BIO: Carol P. Christ (1945-2021) was an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator. Her work continues through her non-profit foundation, the Ariadne Institute for the Study of Myth and Ritual.

“In Goddess religion death is not feared, but is understood to be a part of life, followed by birth and renewal.”  — Carol P. Christ 

Author: Legacy of Carol P. Christ

We at FAR were fortunate to work along side Carol Christ for many years. She died from cancer in July, 2021. Her work continues through her non-profit foundation, the Ariadne Institute for the Study of Myth and Ritual and the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete. To honor her legacy and to allow as many people as possible to read her thought-provoking and important blogs, we are pleased to offer this new column to highlight her work. We will be picking out special blogs for reposting, making note of their original publication date.

2 thoughts on “Legacy of Carol P. Christ: Restored in Beauty”

  1. I think of Robin Wall Kimmerer saying (paraphrasing) “I want to learn why flowers are beautiful” and the Dean responding “That’s not a scientific question.” She says we need to learn both languages, that of Science and that of the indigenous folks, and toward the end of Braiding Sweetgrass she answers her own question in both ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! Robin Wall Kimmerer knows both languages and so do I and so did Carol… Carol opens the door to being in the moment and allowing nature to guide – Last night was all hallows and i have been carrying such great heaviness that is still with me – creating a death circle in which I laid my grief came to me yesterday spontaneously – I don’t plan – I let nature lead. I wonder if the reason there so few if any comments about this kind of being in the moment is because so few are?


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