Hi dears! If you have been following us, you know we are on holiday in Malta, continuing to explore the wonderful neolithic temples, which are among the oldest megalithic stone structures still standing on earth.
There used to be 40 Neolithic temples in Malta and Gozo but only 9 remain, and only a few are open to the public: some are still being excavated and some require ‘special’ and overly expensive passes which you need to book several months in advance: I am pretty sure they are amazing as far as pre-historic architecture goes, but I am not up to be taken advantage of (exploited) as a tourist, so we’ll skip those.
This is a comeback for us (Daniele and Jyothi) – we came to Malta 13 years ago, but we were much younger and less ‘awakened’.
This time we are more intentionally seeking a spiritual connection to that ancient culture of the temple people who were worshiping the Goddess.
But even as far as these temples go, some have a better atmosphere than other ones, in our opinion largely based on the way those places are treated by their keepers and the administration.
Yesterday we were visiting the sites of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. Here a couple of things have changed since our previous visit: first of all, the entrance to the site has been improved with an interesting museum/interpretive center at its entrance, which is very informative and definitely worth visiting. The second change is more controversial and it affects the area of the temples themselves: rain water, salt from the sea, direct exposure to sunlight as well as wind were considered to be harmful to their stability (after some parts of the megaliths collapsed in the ’90s), therefore a horrible shelter has been built on top of the temples in 2009. While the official intent was to preserve the temples from degradation, we have noticed that a lot of birds have been nesting on the shelter structure, and they are pooh-pooing all over the stones, always on the same spots. We wondered wether that will do any better to the stones than rain and sun…
The work of the shelter costed several million euros and 66% of it was paid with funds of the European community, only 34% by the Maltese goverment.
Also, to prevent vandalism, various parts of the temples are closed and you can’t really get to see them as well as we did in 2003.
But then, again, if you pay extra and get yourself a special pass, then you would be allowed to enter those inner chambers and even pray and meditate and worship on special days… we find that this whole ‘special pass’ business has taken away a lot of the sacred energy from the place and it has just turned it into another money making attraction. Such a shame. Nobody should need special passes to pray and meditate.
Anyhow, what are those ‘special days’? Well, the ‘south’ temples in Mnajdra is precisely oriented in relation to the annual solar cycle: on the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun shines directly thru the main axis/corridor of the temple onto the main altar; on winter and summer solstices, it illuminates the stones right and left of the doorway. It it basically possible to use the temple as a ‘calendar’: by looking where the sun rays at dawn hit the walls thru its main entrance you can tell which part of the year it is. Pretty remarkable of these neolithic temple folks, who were obviously worshiping all of creation: mother earth, a fertility goddess, and the sun. The smaller ‘north’ temple has other marks tracking stars positions as well.
While in the south temple, Jyothi pulled a card from the Goddess Guidance Oracle cards deck by Doreen Virtue, and she got the card of goddess Mawu, that you can see in the picture below. Pretty interesting this is an African moon goddess who created life, together with her husband the sun god!
We think she wanted to give us a reminder of not been trapped in lame ‘special passes’ and sensationalism for tourists, and that maybe we shouldn’t invest too much about sticking band aid on the exterior form of the temple (spend millions of euros repairing or protecting old stones that have survived some 6 thousand years buried into the ground, but started deteriorating as soon as we took them out of it again!), but rather look at the real issues that our planet is facing today and at the conservation of our habitat, our species and our natural resources. We should invest in a world where we stop polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil we farm our food in.
The temples remained buried for millennia, and only emerged again in recent times (excavations of these sites began in the 19th century but most got completed only in the late 20th century) – as with the industrial revolution that started accelerating drastically our negative impact on the planet, we also needed to be reminded that another way is possible. The temples are, for us, a reminder and symbol of that urge to change our ways of life back into a more loving attitude, and stop the accelerating craze of ‘progress’.
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