We start our journey in an ancient feminine place, the Temple of Fortuna Primogenia in Palestrina, an hour drive south-east of Rome. During antiquitity there was an enormous temple here, built in seven layers on the pyramid shaped mountain that overlooks the valley below. Pilgrims were only allowed to go there step by step, and the top layer was reserved for priestesses who guarded the eternally burning fire: approaching and getting initiated into the Divine is always a long road to go.
At the sixth layer, a former theatre, now stand a beautiful museum dedicated to Fortuna, We are too late to visit but from last time that I was here I feel the treasures inside: beautiful statues of Fortuna, with her cornucoppia (the horn of plenty), a special room with paintings of the Olympian Pantheon, surrounded by 24 double tailed mermaids, and a huge mosaic, originally situated in a lower layer of the Temple, where you see the overflowing of the river Nile. It clarifies the connection between Fortuna and Isis, both ancient Goddesses of the mysteries of the cycle of life.
Under the half-circle formed stairways to the Museum stands a special statue of Voltumna. She overlooks the valley beneath, but also the territory reaching out to the Adriatic see, towards the place where according to legend Aeneas once set foot on the Lazio territory – one of the roots of the founding of Rome. But Voltumna also looks towards the Eternal City itself. She stands in a special alignment with the Foro Romano ànd with the Vatican. In that way she creates a line between important Solar Temples, amongst others by the Solar Symbol – the small sun that stands above the entrance gate of Palestrina, put here by the Barberini family. It’s the family of Pope Urbano VIII who rebuilt the Vatican in accordance with the Egyptian town Heliopolis, and who brought the remains of Matilda to St. Peters Basilica. Everything is connected…
Before Fortuna’s statue we do a small ceremony to initiate our journey, with the help of our solar and lunar discs, and a beautiful flower of life in the middle – feminine and the masculine combined towards unity and creation. I ask for the blessing of this most important Goddess, and remember how she has guided me in my journeys of the past ten years. First during my stay in Bolsena, where she was known as Voltumna, the great Goddess of the Lake, often represented as a double tailed mermaid. Later during myjourneys along the Matildaline, all the way from Mantova to Rome. Now I invoke her power to further trace the line to Southern Italy. During the rest of our journey we will meet her several times again, often to our own surprise.