Jhenah Telyndru

Scoperta Della Dea In Italia

Or, On Finding the Goddess In Italy

A Photo Essay by Jhenah Telyndru

In the blazing summer of 1998, I was fortunate to spend a month traveling around Italy. My senses where delighted on every level, and my love of ancient cultures has never been so deeply actualized. The travel itinerary for every stop included at least one church, and as a Pagan woman, I sought remnants of the Old Ways embedded in the traditions and symbols adapted by the new faith that had replaced it. I was pleasantly surprised to find how very much has survived, unwittingly transmitted through the ages to the inheritors of the ancient faiths, so that they in turn, can restore what has been lost, and build the old temples anew.

I reveled in the subtleties — like the ubiquitous seven-pointed star of Ishtar-Astarte-Aphrodite found everywhere the Blessed Mother was depicted – and rejoiced in the obvious – like the incredible statue of the multi-breasted Diana of Ephesus, so well preserved in the collections of the Vatican Museum. My greatest personal discovery was the modern-day continuance of an ancient fertility ritual in my father’s hometown (see “Inner Pilgrimage” for more information), but I would like to share some of the other powerful images and vestiges of Goddess worship which I encountered along the way.