Images of Neolithic Malta, from temple shapes and pottery sherds,
to the figures of the Sleeping Lady of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum,
the full-bodied figures of Hagar Qim and Tarxien, up to the
recently discovered double figures of the Xaghra (Brockdorff)
Stone Circle in Gozo (pictured below), suggest a matrifocal culture
which deeply honored the Earth Mother and divine feminine. Rich and
varied, rooted in lunar symbolism, these images are built around
understanding that life on earth is in eternal transformation,
in constant and rhythmic change between creation, destruction, and
regeneration. In all her manifestations, the presence and power
of the earth-centered goddess was depicted in temple, tomb and
cave...as animals, birds, snakes, fish, trees, vines and spirals...
thus the holistic belief in the sacredness, mystery, and continuity
of all there is on earth.
The Neolithic community of Malta was one of agriculture, but also enjoyed
art and aesthetics, weaving and crafts. There are no known weapons of
destruction from this era in Malta, but by 2300 BCE the warrior cultures
from northern Europe overtook these peaceful times and the goddess
retreated from being actively worshiped, to a subculture, where she has remained
for many centuries, visible only in folklore and fairy tales. These beautiful
ancient images show us clearly that the cycles never stop turning...
and now, in the 21st century, we can discover the goddess
re-emerging, bringing hope for a peaceful future in harmony with
nature and each other, returning us to our most ancient human roots.
The Black Madonna also resides in Malta, some obviously associated with
Our Lady of Loreto. The connection of the Black Madonnas of Provence
and the Knights Hospitallers and Knights Templar is a controversial subject
with many differing interpretations, which can be explored and discussed.
A journey to Malta provides an opportunity to get in touch with both the
sacred places without and the sacred spaces within. Peaceful, personal
time at the temple sites helps to forge the link between past and present,
connecting us to the joy of celebrating life, so abundant in the art and architecture
of the 3rd and 4th Millennium BCE. Heritage Malta now offers special sunrise
visits to the Neolithic temples for Equinox and Solstice.