Last Saturday I arrived to the Amari Valley, a fertile valley with small ancient villages in Central Crete. I will spend almost a month as a guest artist at ArtAmari Residency in the tiny village of Kalogeros.
After over two years working with The Nomadic Labyrinth, I feel the need to complete a circle around this project and explore the possibilities of using the labyrinth as a container for the creation of ritual. I can't think of a better place than Crete - the island of the origins of the Classical seven circuit labyrinth - to do an artist residency and dive into the rituals that are still part of this ancient culture.
On my first day in the valley I met Lambros, a resident of the near by village of Thronos, where he owns a Taverna, in Greek a small restaurant that serves local food. Lambros is an enthusiastic man who knows the land, its herbs and flowers. He also makes his own wine and raki - a very strong liquor made of the distillation of grape skin.
I am using the old Byzantine chapel of Agia Paraskevi as a temporary studio. After talking with a member of the local Orthodox church, Angeliki - ArtAmari Residency Director - and I started building a Classical Cretan seven circuit labyrinth next to the chapel. I will use this labyrinth as a container for a series of rituals inspired by the seven phases of Alchemy as described in the Emerald Table. Each of these rituals will include elements of the local landscape and the Amari Valley culture.
Today I started making a tincture with three local herbs suggested by Lambros: Dittany of Crete, Sage and Marjoram. He also gave me a bottle of his homemade raki to extract the medicine from the herbs. Dittany of Crete grows up in the near by mountains . It is said it has magical properties and that Greek Goddess Aphrodite healed the wounds of Aeneas with an extract of this plant. Cretan people enjoy Dictamo- as they call it here - as an herbal tea since the Minoan times.
Learn more about ArtAmari Residency here
Fall Open Studios
The Mother of All Questions
in Crete and the creation of a labyrinth