Sicily is a fascinating vacation destination. Lovers of Greek mythology will be dazzled by a fine collection of
ancient temples all around the coast. The people who built these places valued and honored a wide pantheon of gods and goddesses. A majority of the sites command a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. The houses to the deities still stand today.
On the Eastern side of Sicily is the island of Ortygia just a short walk from Siracusa. This is the old city dating
back to 734 BC and is perhaps one of the most sacred places for the student of mythology or a modern Pagan to plan a visit. There is so much to see here. One park not to miss is the grove of magnolia’s. This is located at the far end of the island to the right of Arethuse Fountain. It can be seen from the fountain but may be missed. On a hot day, wander into this oasis of green and be amazed.
These magnolia’s are enormous. This may be their ideal environment as the trees are so wide around the base it
might take ten people holding hands to circle the trunk. How cool and peaceful this shady grove is on a warm sunny day. There are perhaps nine trees. This number would be sacred to the Goddess Artemis who watches over this place.
Indeed, this is her and twin brother Apollo’s birthplace. Their mother Leto, goddess of the night, was transformed
into a quail and came to this island to give birth. She was in labor nine days and nights. The Greek name for Ortygia is Ortyx which means quail.
The magnolia in bloom are exquisite fragrant flowers that resemble tulips. They are pure sweetness on earth. A fantastic idea would be to plan a visit when these trees blossom. As with many places in Sicily, the visitor will believe they are touching a bit of heaven on earth. Visit Ortygia! Honor Artemis and be reborn.