In the Mediterranean Sea on the small island of Malta, some of the oldest Goddess temples exist. I was fortunate enough to visit some of the temple sites during my stay in Malta and experience their powerful and ancient energy.
Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and the Tarxien Temples are some of the larger and more well-preserved sites. Archeological investigation has placed the construction of the first temple complexes between 3600 BCE and 2500 BCE, making them the oldest remaining standing stone structures in the world! It was determined that these structures were used as places of worship due to the statues discovered in and around the complexes. The figurines are made of stone and depict fertile looking women with generous proportions – the Mother Goddess. These figurines are reminiscent of other statues found in Europe such as the Venus of Willendorf, which dates much further back to 24,000-22,000 BCE. Some of the depictions are quite large in scale, such as the “Fat Goddess” statue which was discovered at the Tarqxien Temple. The part of the statue that has survived through the years shows the lower half of a female body that is abundantly proportioned with large hips and thighs, giving it a sturdy appearance. Although only the lower half of the statue remains, it has been determined that the complete statue would have measured around eight feet tall.
Seeing this statue was an exquisite experience that reminded me of how long mankind has been able to look to the Mother Goddess for guidance, help and protection. The icon of the abundant goddess continues to serve as a promise of her ability to bless our lives with all that we need. Despite the overwhelming size, tourists and pilgrims cannot help but notice the simplistic beauty and sense of comfort that seems to emanate from the figure. This is true for not only the statues, but for the entirety of the Temple site.
At first, the complexes can easily appear to be a jumble of same-colored rocks, heaped together over a large expanse. But once the visitor enters into the area the maze of stones sorts itself out into an orderly structure.
The layout of the Temples themselves are designed to signify the body of the Mother. The passageways lead to rounded inner chambers, small and intimate in scale, that represent the womb of the goddess. Red ochre stains that are believed to signify menstrual blood can still be seen on the walls.Walking through the passageways of the Temple ruins created a meditative quality in me. I could actually feel something in my consciousness shift as I traveled through the passages. I became…relaxed, centered. My heart chakra opened more fully and my root chakra was firmly balanced. The energy of the Temples and the presence of the Mother was so pervasive that I released worries and tension without even trying. I explored the ruins with my roommate and she said something that truly struck a chord. She said we were returning to the mother of us all. And it was so true.
As I stood in the Temple chambers and absorbed the sacred energy I realized there was no need for me to struggle. I let go of all the constant worries I carry around with me and sank into the comfort of the Mother. I could feel her presence all around me. As I surrendered all my concerns to the Divine Mother I felt blessings taking their place.
Before leaving each of the Temples my roommate and I made discreet offerings to the Great Goddess to express our thanks. We poured water from our water bottles and crumbled up some of the crackers we had brought in our bags as snacks. It was a small gesture but completely sincere.
Exploring the Temple ruins of Tarxien, Hagar Qim, and Mnajdra was a wonderful experience. Although we do not know exactly how worship was carried out in the Temples, it is obvious that they played an important role in the people’s devotion to the Goddess. And just as importantly, these sacred sites have survived – serving as a bridge connecting us to our brothers and sisters in the past who looked to the same Mother we still turn to today.
(I wrote this article for Circle Magazine and it was published in their Fall 2009 issue “Labyrinths” under the Sacred Sites section. And of course, the roommate that I was traveling with was Mermaid, who I thank for the amazing pictures of the Fat Goddess and the Tarxien Temple!)
A meditation suggestion: Tap into the energy of these temples. In a meditative state, see yourself walking through their paths. Connect with the Great Goddess. How do you feel?
Share your comments and experiences below.