Stories from the creation of the Idaea
THE BIRTH OF ZEUS; A NETWORK OF SACRED PLACES
People are kind of lost as to where Zeus, the father of the gods, was born. Some say in the Idaeon cave and others claim he was born in the Diktaeon. The Idaeon cave is in Ida Mountain (Psiloritis) in Rethymnon, while the Diktaeon is located far away from there, on Mount Dikti in Lasithi. So if the people who lived then- long ago- in both mountains, believed that they heard the loud voices of a baby - so loud that they were definitely the voices of a divine baby - and if along with these voices they also heard the deafening clanks of weapons and thundering footsteps, they are not wrong; because this happened on both these mountains. And the explanation is very simple: these two caves, like many others form a network of sacred places, communicate with each other through gates - like the rooms of a palace connected to each other by corridors and doors. So, these two cave halls had accommodated the little god who was persecuted by his father and later became the hospitable god-protector of foreigners (Xenios Zeus).
These gates still exist today. In fact, as we will see in the next story, not only do they connect places in our world, they connect our world with others. Such a world is the world of Idaea. This world is a world where those in need find hospitality. Such a need pushed its first settlers to climb the Idaion cave to protect themselves from their Venetian pursuers in 1365. There, without anyone knowing what or how, they saw the soldiers disappearing and a new world suddenly appeared before them! The earth as if it had just been born! Descending from the Idaion cave, they were the first to settle - or so they believed - in the area where in our world today the ruins of the city of Zominthos are located.
THE MYTH OF DIONYSUS AND ARIADNE; THE NETWORK GROWS AND IDAEA IS ESTABLISHED
Ariadne awoke and opened her eyes. Around her, the saturated green foliage of the forest of Naxos kept the sunlight from reaching her directly. The light was already strong enough for the day to be announced, well past dawn. Around her, the sound of birds chirping was so melodious as to lull her back into sleep and her last dream. What an eventful sleep this one has been! So full of dreams that she felt hesitant to linger in the memory of one.
Truth is before she fell asleep, she had wished for her sleep to be so deep. They had all been really stressed. The journey, all these days, struggling with an against wind, had forced the ship’s sailors to apply all their skill in maneuvering the vessel. And as of herself, she was filled with doubt and regrets. Did she act right, betraying the secrets of the labyrinth? Was Theseus the one she wanted to spent the rest of her life with?
She had helped the handsome youth find his way out of the labyrinth, basically helping him to kill Minotaur. Cretan sovereignty over Athens had been ended. Athens, no longer held the obligation to have this appalling toll of blood exacted. Yet, she knew Theseu’s heart had but little room for her. The city of Athens occupied all of his thoughts. Thoughts on how to unify its districts and turn it into a powerful state, how to rule over it and expand it and so forth. She had felt really weary listening to all of this. For days on end they had been cruising through these rough seas and with each new day, her enthusiasm for their common future, dissipated. This was not the life she had dreamed of. She did not care about states and territories. This had been the reason why she had helped him. Because she felt it unjust, what her country was doing to his country. But now? Perhaps the injustice would endure under a reversal of roles? Would it ever be possible for people to live peacefully together? Would there always have to exist someone strong and someone who would be made to suffer in the exchange?
Her anger had her fully awake and she looked around to find him and prepared to let him have a piece of her mind. Enough is enough, now. He can do as he well wishes. She was not in the mood for helping him any more. No father or husband king was to rule over her life. She wanted to live, ruling over her own life. This journey ended here. She had much rather stay in this here forest, collecting fruits and mushrooms! She had spent all of her childhood in a playful interaction with nature and later, as a priestess in the temple of the mountain peak bearing Jupiter’s likeness, she had many opportunities to escape the boring palace life. It was only in that environment she felt truly happy. Court life, she knew she was not well suited for, even if that court was Knossos.
And then she realized. No one was around. Their temporary camp, the ship’s crew, the seven young men and seven young women saved from the Minotaur, everything had vanished. Or rather, made sail. The black sails of the ship of Athens. Yet she was not totally on her own. She felt an acute presence close by. A presence, beyond how and why, filling her with joy, peace and enthusiasm for life. Suddenly Theseus was like he never existed. She knew someone was there, but she could not discern who. Yet she did hear his voice. Sweet and melodious, the voice of god Dionysus, evoking of the past and her carefree childhood, spent outside the palace, playing all day within nature.
“Here we are, meeting again!”
It has been proposed that Ariadne remained in Naxos by herself for a long while, lamenting over the abandonment by Theseus and waiting for his return; that she only much later met Dionysus and was mated to him. But this is not true. Ariadne awoke that morning having already lost her interest for Theseus. Her love for a life within nature, away from the palace, had been born years ago and her meeting with Dionysus had happened long before Theseus entered the scene, when the two of them were just children.
Ariadne turned around and saw him emerge from within the tree trunk she had awoke next to. He was smiling at her and his glance exuded affirmation and understanding for all the thoughts running through her mind during this hour. And not only this; he would do his best to offer her the life she had been dreaming about. Just like when they were children.
It felt natural for her to see him emerge from the tree trunk. During the years they were both playing near the sea, next to river banks, or climbing mountain slopes, he had taught her everything, revealing every secret having to do with the gateways of sacred places and the passages. And she had learned how to use them. Often, when there was no one around she would return home from the temple via these gateways. Dionysus, who wished to make an impression to her, had taken her to the cave his father, Zeus, had been born within: Idaion Cave. And later, from cave to cave and from there to tree trunks which, using his power, he turned into gateways, had taken her around Crete island and even further. Yet Idaea had not yet been born. The passages were only between places. And as regards journeys within time itself, Dionysus was wise enough to know, these can be dangerous. Only once in a while, when they had lost truck of time while playing and nightfall was upon them, did he steal away a few hours and returned her to the palace late afternoon. Just so she would not run into trouble with her governess.
Later though, time came Dionysus grew up. And he had a mission; to spread the art of vine cultivation and wine making. So, he begun to roam around Greece and impart this knowledge to the people. Ariadne, on the other hand, begun to develop other interests and hung out with girls, more. So, little by little, their meetings became sparse and in the way that often happens with childhood friendships they fell apart for years. Yet they would always remember each other with love.
They spent all that day, reminiscing and describing their lives to each other of what had happened since they fell apart. She described to him what led her to help Theseus and how she later felt disappointed when she realized things were not as she had imagined them to be. And he told her, that he had for a long while sought to receive news of her, that he had realized all these things. And that is why he entered Theseus dreams that night and ordered him to leave Naxos that same morning without waking her up. One discussion led to another and they did not even realize when nightfall came upon them. They felt no hunger, no drowsiness. Yet they did not have to rest for the night in the forest. Dionysus led her, through the same tree he appeared, to his cave strewn with animal skins. There, his followers served them food and made sleeping arrangements. They now had all life ahead to discuss, to make plans and to live as they have dreamed. Because it was Dionysus and Ariadne the couple who opened up the passages to Idaea, the place where every human being would find refuge from mistreatment. And they did not only open up passages to holly places or in respond to a particular need. They introduced the first laws that governed Idaea. In the way Ariadne had dreamed it: a place where there is no ruler and ruled, strong and week, exploiter and exploited. A place where each life is equal in value to all other.