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Revealing Aphrodite: The Journey #2

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Today I will reveal more of the enigmatic evidence Goris discovered in relation to the archaeological site of the Temple of Apollo Hylates, which I have described in my previous blog. This evidence allowed him to shed light on unknown aspects of two other sacred places in Cyprus connected to the cult of Aphrodite.

In 1991 and 1992, a team of six topographers was called in to verify, through scientific measurements using specialized instruments from the National Technological University of Athens, the alignment of the sanctuary of Apollo Hylates with the position of the sun at midday on the summer solstice. The same team verified the alignment of a Paleochristian basilica situated at the top of the hill at the site of ancient Amathus with the sun at sunrise and the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Palaipaphos at sunset.

Measurements showed that the three worship sites in question show various degrees of declination in their alignment with the sun on the summer solstice, declinations which are within acceptable limits scientifically, since they are mostly due to the shifts in tectonic plates caused by earthquakes or other geological changes in the passing of the centuries. In fact, the smallest declination is that of the Paleochristian basilica in ancient Amathus, built in the 6th century AD. According to Goris, right under this spot there was once a more ancient temple dedicated to Adonis.

Goris' claim, that the Paleochristian basilica is built on the foundations of an older temple dedicated to Adonis, has been disputed by the archaeological community, particularly by the French Archaeological School of Athens, which has been excavating the acropolis of Amathus for a number of years.

The archaeologists' view is substantiated by the fact that the foundations of the Christian church were built with building material taken exclusively from the adjacent temple of Aphrodite, which is also verified by the video I took that morning of the summer solstice of 1992. It was after all a common practice of the first Christians, who systematically destroyed the ancient temples to replace them with their own.

Nonetheless, Goris upheld his belief, justifying it on a number of indications. The first indication for Goris was the name ancient Cypriots gave to Month June. "They called this month Adonis because they identified the harvest month with Adonis for he was the primary force that brought fruition, especially to wheat. This month also was associated with the Adonian mysteries. In ancient Amathus particularly, these were celebrated on the longest day of the year with purification rituals, because they believed that Adonis' head was cut off in every stalk that was harvested."

Another indication for Goris is the existence of ancient texts referring to the worship of Adonis in Amathus, and perhaps to the existence of a sanctuary dedicated to him and Aphrodite.

In Pausanias' "Description of Greece", we read: "In Cyprus is a city called Amathus, in which is an old sanctuary of Adonis and Aphrodite,"

Stephanos Byzantios also tells us in one of his works: "In Amathus Adonis-Osiris was worshiped, who although an Egyptian god, was appropriated by the Cypriots and the Phoenicians."

A final indication for Goris is the archaeoastronomical dimension of the myth of Aphrodite sharing Adonis with Persephone in an annual cycle determined by the rotation of the sun, symbolizing nature's perpetual cycle of death and rebirth.

Goris in an interview said: "According to Macrobius, a great historian, philosopher and geographer, the ancient Greeks wisely divided the zodiac into the higher and the lower signs. It takes twelve months for the sun to move from the higher to the lower signs. For the six months that the days get longer, it's the course towards Aphrodite. On the 21st of June, the days start getting shorter. That is the course toward Persephone. This cycle symbolizes the sharing of Adonis, between the two goddesses; Aphrodite and Persephone. Just as the seed germinates in spring, becomes the fruit, which in the case of wheat is harvested, and the seed falls again to the ground to remain dormant until it resurfaces again. It is the perpetual cycle of life and death. It is the never-ending cycle of life, which repeats itself. We too abide by this significant phenomenon. There is no end; there is only perpetual motion. According to the great Pythagoras - with Heraclitus complementing that "Everything flows" - "In its perpetual motion, nature brings everything into being". And this is the quintessential act whereby divinity expresses its presence and identity."

Goris' strong conviction that there is a sanctuary or temple in ancient Amathus dedicated to Adonis, as it is presented in the Entelechy documentary (you can watch the trailer of this film through my website: led me to a new line of research, which seems to lead to the conclusion that Cyprus, apart from a bridge between great civilizations, was also an important geodetic node in the area. More about geodesy in Cyprus will be discussed in future blogs.