Greek Fire 12. Candlemas and Ypapantís: Forty Days After Childbirth, Mary Returns to the World

Thursday, February 11, 2021 
  Here in Greece we are enjoying the lengthening late-winter days and the first flowers of spring. The almond trees, always the first to bloom here, light up the landscape in sunlit airy clouds of blossom, heavy with fragrance, dancing with bees. Thousands of anemones shine like stars scattered in the grass, ranging in hue from the palest white through faint shades of pink, to a startling deep fuchsia. And the sea squill bulb we hung by our front door for luck at New Year (see Greek Fire 6) has surprised us by flowering: a tender green stalk is crowned with tiny lavender orchidlike blooms, whose heavenly aroma wafts around us as we go in and out. I did not know it would do this and am astounded by the flower: its beauty, its fragrance, and the fact that it appeared at all. Note the resemblance to the 'sun-headed winged Goddess' motif so common in women's ritual dances and the costumes and embroideries which accompany the dances!

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