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Interview With a Local:
Ancient Greek Rituals and the Alternative Athens

Ancient Greek Rituals and the Alternative Athens

15 April 2020

Today we meet in Athens with Poliana Dimitropoulou to talk about ancient Greek rituals and alternative vibes of Athens. Poliana's work focuses on ritual healing arts and world cultural immersions. She is the founder of RHEA Temple, a multi-dimensional initiative, offering holistic healing sessions, ritual arts, retreats and many more. Her passion is to share the precious knowledge gained through her world travels with other people, delving deep into the wisdom of ancient traditions. Let’s see what Poliana has to say about ancient Greek customs and Athens!

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Poliana Dimitropoulou - Credit: Greek TravelTellers

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Athens. It was about when I turned 16 when I realized how much I love to broaden my horizons through travel. After finishing my studies on Interior Architecture & Design in Athens and visiting various countries and continents, I spent most part of the last 7 years living in Mexico. Since last year, however, I felt my cycle there was complete so I decided to come back and make a new start in Greece.

What kept you in Mexico and what made you come back to your homeland?

Besides my love for the arts, I was always interested in alternative healing practices and the precious wisdom of ancient cultures. This fortunately still exists in countries like Mexico, where the indigenous tribes keep alive their traditions and ancient rituals. For me, this was such an enriching experience and after some years of integrating it in my way of life, it inspired me to investigate and rediscover the very similar wisdom of my own roots and ancestors of ancient Greece. So I came back to deepen this research and also to share what I have already learned.

The Caryatids of Erechtheion, on Acropolis

What is it that you love the most about ancient Greek culture?

Well, there is a lot! Firstly the amazing mythology that is such a great reflection of all the cultural beliefs and contains so many secret symbolisms and teachings. Then the ancient philosophy which goes so deep into the human soul and nature of life, as well as the traditional medicine knowledge. Of course, I adore the magnificent art and unique architecture of Classical Greece. But most of all, I love the ancient rituals; those dances, songs, ceremonies and theater which were so important for the spiritual education of the people.

Do you think that ancient Greek practices can still benefit us today?

Yes, I totally believe it! Those practices are actually necessary for our evolution as humans because they remind us of some simple truths that we have forgotten in western society. For example, that all life forms are interconnected. Raising our spiritual awareness could make us more responsible, kind and caring as individuals, towards each other and towards the planet we live in.

Weaving our dreams across Acropolis

What is your favorite thing about Athens?

For sure the sea! It is vital for me to have such a fast and easy access to a beautiful clean beach anytime! And the ancient temples… it feels so good to have them still in our lives. The next favorite is the old city center and the non-stop cultural events that give life and nice vibes to the city.

Any tips for lovers of ancient cultures visiting Athens? Where to go/what to do?

Well, a good start is always the museums where you can first get some information about the cultural heritage of Greece. And then the archaeological spaces, which actually speak for themselves. I would advise you to take your time in each place and not rush; to pause somewhere where you feel inspired, reflect and breathe in the special beauty and energy of those marbles and sculptures. For me, one such a place is the Acropolis Museum. It houses the artifacts found on the Acropolis Hill and the Temple of the Parthenon, which was the spiritual center of ancient Athens. It is really inspiring to bear witness to everyday objects and unique art created by people thousands of years ago!

Acropolis Museum

Where is the best place to go today in Athens to connect with our inner selves?

Some of the best places for inner work and connection are inside or around the temples; of course during less popular times for tourists. Clearly, wherever there is nature, earth, trees or water is a great place to practice meditation. And if the weather doesn’t permit, it can be anywhere, the inner self is always there (smiling)! We are also fortunate to have in Athens many centers that teach meditation and other practices that enable this connection. Personally, my favorite place in Athens to connect with nature and the energy of our ancestors is Philopappos Hill, across Acropolis. I pick a quiet spot, away from other people, and from where I can see the Temple of the Parthenon. It is easy to find for anyone visiting Athens and, although officially an archaeological site, there is no entrance fee.

Meditation on Philopappos Hill across Acropolis

Could you enlighten us on ancient Greeks’ love for nature?

They knew how important and vital is our connection to nature; they highly respected her and were grateful for everything that she gives to us. Without maintaining the balance on her, there cannot be life. The ancient practice of ‘Offerings’ was a gesture of honor, gratitude and generosity to life itself. This teaches us also the philosophy of giving, of offering, instead of only receiving, which is so widespread in our modern world.

Which ancient rituals would you recommend to keep practicing?

I would highly recommend the practice of ‘Offerings’. It can really change our perception of life and the nature of our relationships. Anytime we feel like it is a good moment for us and we are in an appropriate place, we can leave on the ground a simple offering; some water, for example, or seeds, flowers, or food. It can be under a tree or near a spring, with the intention of giving thanks for all the goods that we have. Pure intention is always the most important for all rituals. Another very nurturing ritual is the connection to the sunlight, which we are blessed to have in plenty in Greece. During the time of sunrise and sunset, you can stand or sit still, look at the sun and breathe in and out the light. By breathing it in we fill every cell with the light of good health, vitality and creative power and by breathing it out we release back to the world that light, so we enrich this eternal circulation of the never-ending force of light and cosmic energy.

We thank Poliana for sharing her wonderful knowledge around the ancient Greek culture and filling us with her beautiful energy. If you would like to meet her and enjoy a meditation journey to Ancient Greek wisdom, you can join the Ancient Greek Meditation experience.

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