Sunday 23 February 2020


This is saffron. The most expensive spice in the world. I found this add for it today: Sale!!! 100 grams of saffron. Was €442.99 EUR now only €265.99 EUR!!!

The vivid crimson stigmas, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food. The reason the spice is so expensive is that huge number of flowers are needed to produce a small quantity of spice... And they have to be picked and processed by hand...

This is what the crocus plants look when found in nature.

And this is what crocuses look when like when depicted on Minoan frescoes. This scene called "The Saffron Harvesters", was found in the Minoan settlement on island of Santorini to the north of Crete. You can clearly see the bunches of crocus flowers growing out of rocky ground...

As I said in my post about Minoan goat mythology, Cretan crocus, the ancestor of all the saffron crocuses, starts flowering in October-November and flowers throughout winter. 

At the beginning of rain season, when Ibex goats mate and olives are ripe for picking...Which is all depicted on this Minoan fresco... 

So the saffron picking scenes depicted on Minoan frescoes all take place during the winter starting in October-November. During the season dominated by The Goddess...Why do we only see women picking crocus flowers? Maybe this was one of those sacred, female only jobs, protected by taboos...

Well stigmas are female sexual organs of the crocus flower. No wonder picking saffron was female only activity. I would bet that both crocus and saffron were seen as holy and were dedicated to The Goddess...

This is a reconstruction drawing of a room in the complex of Akrotiri. This figure is interpreted as The Goddess overseeing the harvesting of the Saffron.

I would like to show you this detail in which you can see how she holds the saffron. She picks crimson crocus stigmas, and arranges them in in a bunch...

Now here is something interesting. Wall painting from the Cult Center at Mycenae...What is this woman (I think she is The Goddess) holding in her hands? What are these crimson bunches? 

Well I would suggest they are saffron bunches. Bunches of female reproductive organs...Like this one:

Here is why I waisted your time talking about saffron...This is "Lid of a pyxis originally containing face powder. Made in Ugarit, Syria, under Mycenaean influence, end of 2nd millennium BC". Apparently depicting "Mistress of the animals feeding goats"... 

"Mistress of the animals feeding goats"??? Or The Goddess, holding bunches of saffron, in October-November, when crocus blooms, saffron is collected, when dancing Ibex Goats announce the arrival of rains, the arrival of the Dark, Wet, Yin, Goddess half of the year...

I think that "Mistress of the animals" is a figment of the imagination of the archaeologists who didn't know what to make of all these images of a woman standing between animals...

But now that we know that goats, rams, lions, bulls, birds are all symbols marking a particular moment on the solar circle, I would propose that these images of women standing between animals depict The Goddess, Mother Earth, at particular moment in in the solar year...

Like this depiction of the "Female Divinity between Lions" on Amygdaloid Gem, Mycenae. 

This is one of endless depictions of The Goddess depicting her either between the lions, standing on a lion or being driven in a chariot pulled by lions... Basically Mother Earth during the time when Eurasian lions start mating which is August - September or in Zodiac, Leo - Virgo... I talked about this in my post "Assumption of Mary". The above gem actually shows a male and female lion, just in case there is any doubt what the image represents...🙂

So which animals do we find in the "Mistress of the animals" depictions? I know of Lions, Deer, Goat, Bird, Snake...I have never seen Bull...Any other ones that you know of? 

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...


  1. I always enjoy your blog and learn so much. Just wanted to note that I planted a few Saffron Crocus bulbs at our house in North Central Texas several years ago. Even here in Texas, they flower sometime from mid-October - mid-November. The timing seems to have to do with temperature: right about the time of or just before the first frost.

    The flowers are easy to pick but you have to bend over, and I would think small hands would more easily be able to pinch them off the plant without damaging the stigmas. There are two ways they could be gathered: either pick the whole flower and then remove the stigmas after picking, or reach into the center of the flower and pick out the stigmas. I assume they would have picked the whole flower to keep from going back to that plant until a new blossom opened. Also, since the different flowers on a plant bloom one after the other, to collect them all means going back to the patch again and again over the week or so that they bloom.

    In addition to smaller hands being more effective, all of that put together means it just feels more like "women's work" - it is that "gathering and sorting" kind of task that we tend to do naturally. And it is a bit too delicate to trust children with. So it seems natural to me that it would have been a task the women did.

    Not sure that any of this is helpful, but it is neat that the flowers still grow and must be harvested exactly like they did so long ago!

    1. Thanks for this comment Tina. Any additional info is helpful...I am glad you are enjoying my blog too :)

  2. "Mistress of the animals" comes from Homeros, who used in the Ilias (potnia theron). (the english page is very short, the dutch is better). Personally I find mistress a bad translation, I would go with Our/The lady of the animals. (our lady being the mother goddes)

    From Dutch
    "Potnia" was een Myceens woord, dat met dezelfde betekenis was overgenomen in het klassiek Grieks, dat een exacte parallel heeft in het Sanskriet: patnī.[1]
    Cottrell verklaart hierover: "...ook te Pylos (in het hoofdland) en in Knossos (op Kreta) wordt dikwijls melding gemaakt van Potnia - 'Meesteresse' of 'Onze Vrouwe'; deze laatste inscripties bevestigen wat archeologen al lang hadden vermoed op grond van wat uit zegels die op het hoofdland waren ontdekt bleek, nl. dat de Myceners ook de Minoïsche moedergodin vereerden".

    Niet elk aspect van de Meesteres kan worden geïdentificeerd met Potnia Theron of met Olympische afgeleiden van dit aspect van de godin, zoals onder andere Artemis. Op de Myceense Lineair B-tabletten te Pylos worden namen van diverse godheden die later in het klassieke Griekenland bekend waren kort vermeld. John Chadwick identificeerde er één met de uitdrukking: a-ta-na-po-ti-ni-ja Hij schreef hierover: "Geen enkele Griekse geleerde kon het eerste woord lezen zonder het op te delen in "Potnia Athana", "Meesteres Athena", bijna de Homerische vorm weerspiegelend: potni(a) Athenaie" (Chadwick 1976). In de Myceense tabletten in Pylos gaat potnia bijna altijd gepaard met een epitheton, dat een bepaalde plaats of functie van de Meesteres karakteriseert. Chadwick, Karl Kerenyi en anderen stellen dat deze Potniai in de klassieke periode door de Grieken werden geassocieerd met Demeter en haar dochter Persephone, die de koningin werd van Hades. In Pylos, identificeren de tabletten de "Twee Koninginnen en Poseidon" en de "Twee Koninginnen en de Koning."(Campbell 1964)

    De godin die simpel als Orthia wordt aangeduid in inscripties in haar heiligdom in de buurt van Sparta (illustratie) was versmolten met Artemis onder de invloed van de Olympische cultuur, als Artemis Orthia. Het cultusbeeld dat in haar naos stond was een oud houten beeld, een xoana.

    "Potnia" was a Mycenaean word, which had the same meaning in classical Greek, which has an exact parallel in Sanskrit: patnī. [1]
    Cottrell states: "... also in Pylos (in the main country) and in Knossos (on Crete) mention is often made of Potnia -" Mistress "or" Our Lady "; these last inscriptions confirm what archaeologists had long suspected on what appeared from seals discovered on the main land, namely that the Mycenaeans also worshiped the Minoan mother goddess ".

    Not every aspect of the Mistress can be identified with Potnia Theron or with Olympic derivatives of this aspect of the goddess, such as Artemis among others. On the Mycenaean Linear B tablets in Pylos, names of various deities that were later known in classical Greece are briefly mentioned. John Chadwick identified one with the expression: a-ta-na-po-ti-ni-ja He wrote about this: "No Greek scholar could read the first word without dividing it into" Potnia Athana "," Mistress Athena ", almost reflecting the Homeric form: potni (a) Athenaie" (Chadwick 1976). In the Mycenaean tablets in Pylos, potnia is almost always accompanied by an epithet that characterizes a certain place or function of the Mistress. Chadwick, Karl Kerenyi and others state that in the classical period these Potniai were associated by the Greeks with Demeter and her daughter Persephone, who became the queen of Hades. In Pylos, the tablets identify the "Two Queens and Poseidon" and the "Two Queens and the King." (Campbell 1964)

    1. O she was a mother goddess. Just not Mistress of the beasts...She was Mother Earth and the beasts were just denoting in which yearly phase she was: summer, winter...

  3. Also Theron, comes from the greek Thera and means wild animal, beasts, not domestic animals. I have found another more fitting translation for artemis potnia theron, Artemis Lady of the beasts.

  4. I enjoy your posts very much. I live in the NW of the US, and here crocuses bloom in the spring. Some people plant them in their lawn, so that by the time they are done blooming, it is time to cut the lawn.