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Journey With The Goddess
(The Goddess Temples of Malta)


Article by Mary Marzo - an excerpt from her Malta journal


Six millennia ago - 4th millennia BCE (Before Common Era).

Imagine yourself at the prow of a ship longing to see your beloved temples once again. You have been initiated as a Priestess, carrier of the Great Mystery. You experienced the passage through death, lain in darkness, fasted and prepared. You incubated in the special chambers and spoke the oracle truth as it came through your inner most being. You were taught the Great Mystery as it came from Her through the long lineage of women to you. You experienced the regenerative powers of death and rebirth. You were initiated into the new - feted and honoured. The women who are with you now are ready to cross the same threshold and be initiated.

You see the temples gleaming their soft yellow glow in the sunlight. Your heart quickens at the sight. The beauty and love of Her resonates in your belly, your center core calls you forward. Great Mystery, Great Mother, Beloved Temples - all are one.


July 1999 (Christian calendar): It is a year of closure, clearing and releasing the old. A time of honouring that which came before us. It is also the year of the Feminine and I am called forth to pilgrim to the Great Goddess Temples of Malta once again.

I have prepared for this sacred journey. Ive undergone physical, emotional, mental and spiritual clearing. I have released the old. I remain empty as I prepare for the new - the rebirth. I embrace the void, the unknown, the Mystery and allow it to come in its own time. I begin the process of deep inner listening. I open to my dreams, my inner visions, my body knowing. My senses remember.

What is it about the Maltese islands, located between Sicily and North Africa that invoke such power and mystery. They contain the oldest megalithic freestanding stone structures that exist on earth today. They predate the Pyramids and Stonehenge by over 2000 years. And they were built to honour the Goddess.

These temples are a clear reminder that a Goddess culture existed and was based in peace, flourishing in creative and spiritual expression. These islands once contained up to 40 Goddess temples. Today, nine remain - 7 on Malta and 2 on Gozo. Of the 7 temples on Malta, 4 are open to the public and only special permission or divine intervention allows one to enter the other 3. Of the 2 temples on Gozo, only Ggantija is open. The other, Xaghra (the Stone Circle), is still being excavated

The "temple" people lived here between 4500 BCE and 2500 BCE - the Neolithic and Temple periods. They were peaceful - no evidence of weapons. They were healthier than the peoples who came afterwards (according to the paleontological studies of the bones at their sacred burial sites). For them, the secular and spiritual were connected and this is no more evident than in the expression of honouring the Great Goddess by creating these megalithic stone temples.

Everywhere you look, curved lines met the eye. Everything is modeled after the female form. Even a birds eye view of the temples shows the shape of the Goddess - curved, bountiful, corpulent and massive -honouring the female form.

Ggantija      Mnajdra 

The repeated symbol of the spiral is seen in the lintels and friezes of the stone blocks. There is pitting in the walls and the altars. There are holes for libations cut right into the ground rock signifying the actual invoking of Her - reaching into the earth, into Her body.

The symbols of trees, birds, flowers and animals are everywhere. The symbol of the snake is seen cut in stone the regenerative power of the Goddess shedding of the skin - the movement through death and rebirth.

The use of red ochre in stylized symbols is seen on the temple walls and was used for healing, initiatory rites and for sacred burials - honouring the sacred blood of women blood of life.

And, of course, there are the many figurines of the Goddess. They come in all sizes but mostly they feature an opulent and massive female size. The largest was found in the Tarxien temple (3300 - 2500 BCE) where only the bottom half of this stone Goddess statue remained. It must have stood at least seven feet high with small feet and an elaborate pleated shirt. One of the smallest is the famous Sleeping Goddess measuring only 5 inches. She was found at the Hypogeum (3300 - 3000 BCE) where it was picked up from the rubble that had been excavated and dumped unceremoniously in cartloads.


And how many treasures still lie buried deep within Her temples? How many have been lost? Unfortunately, the unscrupulous and in many cases primitive forms of excavation that was carried out on many of these temples have paid little respect to Her. Thankfully, some of these sites have been designated World Heritage Sites, but unfortunately there is little money for preservation and deterioration is occurring rapidly.

My pilgrimage peaks on Aug. 2nd, 1999 - nine days before the full Sun Eclipse. Two special men join me. One is my life partner/soulmate and the other is a Maltese cultural guide, Charles Borg, whose sketches of the Goddess figurines are shown within this article. Both divine intervention and special permission from the curator allows me to visit both the closed and open temple sites of Malta.

First we set out to the Hypogeum a precious underground temple which has been closed to the public for over 2 years. As a World Heritage Site, it is undergoing extensive restorations. This temple is absolutely amazing. It was first built in the 4th millennia and comprises of 3 underground stories. I can not fully explain the flood of emotion that surges through me as I enter it. What strikes me most is the sheer love it must have took to sculpture this beautifully curved sacred space out of bare rock.

Thankfully, our visit is not rushed. I have time to just absorb.

A flood of knowing and remembering comes through me.

I see, sense and feel our predecessors. Past priestesses being prepared for initiation in the lower most chambers . All clothing and earthly possessions are removed. Totally naked covered in red ochre - the fluid of the Mother. Moving through each chamber - some completely dark - for its in the darkness that the light is born. Passing tests and trials. Dying to the old self. Sleeping in the incubation chambers. Dreaming the oracle. Speaking the truth that comes from deep within - inner belly body knowing - sacred truth. Speaking it out through the sacred oracle hole. Coming to the Holy of Holies the most sacred chamber. You are initiated as a Priestess of the Great Mysteries. Just before you enter the chamber you are sprinkled with the sacred fluid in the libation holes just outside the Holy of Holies. It is Menstrual Blood - sacred fluid of the Body of Women, Body of the Goddess, Body of the Great Mystery. All are one.

I sit before the Holy of Holies and spontaneously perform a ritual of thanksgiving, of honouring the remembering, of reconnecting and of being initiated. Im literally vibrating inside.

From the dark cool embrace of the Hypogeum we go into the 40-degree heat at the temples of Tarxien. I see the most beautiful spirals carved into the stones. I see altars everywhere - circular fire pits - large trilithon entrance ways -circular chambers - oracle holes - libation holes pitting in the walls snake symbols stone triangles (symbol of the vulva) images of animals - an incised relief of bulls and a sow with 13 suckling piglets. There are three separate sanctuaries and in one there was found the remains of the 7 feet Goddess statue which is considered as one of the oldest sculptures in the world. The temple itself is shaped like the Goddess.

Next we travel to the south part of the island to visit two monumental and magnificent temples by the ocean, Mnajdra and its sister, Hagar Qim.


Mnajdra, with the distant island of Filfa in the background, is the most dramatic of all. It consists of three temples set around a semi-circular forecourt. The oldest temple looks like half a Goddess - small compared to the other two. The middle temple is exactly in the shape of the Goddess. For me the energy is the strongest in the lower temple, which was a sophisticated solar observatory capable of predicating the summer and winter solstices. This is where I first heard  the MA chant within me as it could have been performed by a circle of 13 women (priestsses) back 5-6000 years. It is this vision which is recorded on my Goddess & Child CD.  

Hagar Qim (meaning "stones of worship" or "sacred stone") remained buried under mounds of earth until its discovery in 1839 when clumsy attempts were made at excavation. I feel dwarfed by its size. One of the rocks on the outer wall weighs up to 20 tons. When a crane was utilized to lift one of these stones, it toppled right over. Again I'm connected to the fact that these temples were not built by a patriarchal society but by people who were divinely connected from within. They built these megalithic structures out of love and reverence - not fear and guilt.

  Hagar Qim

The sun is now past its zenith and its time to move to our last two and oldest temples, Mgarr (4000 BCE) and Red Skorba (4400 BCE),

Mgarr consists of two temples echoing the shape of the Goddess. Since we have gained access by special permission, I have privacy and opportunity to do ritual at the altar of the main chamber. Ive brought a vial of the waters of the world. I invoke Her and offer the sacred life-giving water on the altar along with my invocations.

Next, Red Skorba one of the oldest sites. Our guide, Charles, has brought a dowser to measure the energy that he has felt so strongly in this particular temple. Again, I deeply tune in and have a strong body knowing. I move to my right, outside the main area. I enter a smaller round circle in the midst of stone rubble and vegetation. I do my final invocation of the day as the sunsets.

Charles confirms that I was standing in the oldest part of the site. It was created before the erection of the main temple and was an important shrine for the mud hut village which once stood here. It was the largest feature of the village that dated back to the Grey Skorba period (4500 BCE). Thats six millennia ago!

The following week we travel to Gozo, Malta's sister island and home of one of the largest and truly magnificent temples, Ggantija.

Mythology says that a large Goddess suckling her young daughter built Ggantija in one day and one night. The two temples of Ggantija are in the shape of a Goddess and her daughter.

We wisely visit the temple early before the heat of the day and the arrival of the tour buses. I have the pleasure of enjoying the magic of the place all to myself. The snake symbol carved on one of the pillars - ochre on some of the walls. I perform a ritual at the main altar and once again offer my libation of the waters of the world. I meditate and give thanksgiving. I know that this was not my first visit to Ggantija or to any of the temples of Malta. I also know that this will not be my last.


The pilgrimage feels complete. Ive been truly honoured and blessed! A threshold has been crossed. Much has been healed and reclaimed.

If 1999 was a year of closure, death, releasing and reclaiming the past, then 2000 is a year of the liminal state the chrysalis forming into the butterfly the time of the void the unknown the Great Mystery.


Blessed be to the Goddess - Great Mystery, Great Mother, Beloved Temples. 

All are One!



Photos by Murray Geddes


Malta Goddess Sketches by Charles Borg