Tybalt got wind of a Greek Festival out near Seabrook and wanted to investigate, and Reynard and I immediately volunteered to go with him. I mean, Aegean dancing, feasting, and shopping next to the ocean — as initiates of the Minoan Brotherhood, we were made for this shit.
“It’s already been going on for a couple of days,” Ty said, as we piled into his car. “So we may have missed some of the good stuff.”
“So when you say it’s the last day, what I hear is that everything in the vendor area will be on sale,” I replied.
“Oh!” Ty said, getting the same look in his eyes as when he finds reasonably-priced gay Minotaur paintings on Etsy. “Yes. Excellent point.”
An hour later, we pulled up to a community center, paid our entry fees, and wandered into the crowded, covered pavilion where the event was being held. Everyone seemed friendly, and no one gave us side-eye or anything, but it was very apparent that most of the people at the festival were on somewhat familiar terms. As non-Orthodox interlopers without visible Mediterranean heritage, the three of us stood out.
“This is nice,” Reynard said, looking around. “But… okay, I’m honestly a little uncomfortable. It just kind of feels like we’re at a church social.”
“That’s because all Greek festivals are church socials,” I explained.
Reynard felt more at home after wolfing down a couple of gyros and decided to check out the merchant tables, where he found a parish cookbook that was basically three quarters comfort food and one quarter folk magic — like, seriously, if you ever need a tasty baklava recipe that’ll avert the Evil Eye and keep the Devil away, hit Reynard up. While he flipped through his new treasure, I moseyed over to a display of mosaic art, thinking there might be a piece or two reminiscent of Nerites.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any sea shell designs, although my eyes did land on a interesting assembly of pebbles, with a handwritten card next to it stating, Madonna and Child.
“Hey, look at this,” I said to Tybalt, who was standing nearby, trying on a selection of beaded nazar bracelets. “I kind of like it.”
Smelling a sales opportunity, the lady behind the table slid over to chat with me.
“Isn’t that lovely?” she said. “All of my work is made from stones and sea glass that I find along beaches in Greece. I even found the slate she’s attached to on the beach.”
“Plus it’s 30% off today,” she added. I grinned at Tybalt triumphantly.
“Sold,” I said.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that I am one of those Pagans who involuntarily see the Divine Feminine in every image of the Virgin Mary. My apartment contains more Marian idols than actual Goddess statues, and I am a fool for a good Black Madonna. So even though the little tessellation above is supposed to be the Theotokos — the Bearer of Christ — as far as I’m concerned, it is Rhea spiriting the baby Zeus away to Crete before Cronus can chow down on Him.
But also… y’all, it is clearly Princess Leia encoding R2-D2 with a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
And even that evokes Goddess apparitions, because the late Carrie Fisher is Space Mom, a sobriquet which is nothing if not a modern Goddess epithet. And if anyone deserves deification and her own cult of worship, it is Carrie Fisher.
The Madonna-Rhea-Leia is currently nestled on a bookshelf, where it fits right in with all the Virgen de Guadalupe and Our Lady of Czestechowa icons dotting my domicile. And where it also serves as a memento from the time I found a Goddess with my brothers.
And one of these days, it’ll sit on a prominent shelf in my office at a Unitarian church somewhere. And when parishioners start asking each other what they think of the new minister, one of them will say, “Well, he’s obviously a big Star Wars fan. So he can’t be all bad.”