Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mythos, Minos and a pinch of prose

Minoan Snake Goddess
I have just returned from the mystical land of Crete where the Minotaur roams through darkened labyrinths and Zeus welcomes his guests with mighty thunder. I danced under the gaze of the Snake Goddess and fell prey to ancient libation (raki).

In fact, I did nothing cultural whatsoever this time but was able to seriously chill out after what had possibly been the most challenging and stressful few months I can remember - and sometimes that's enough.

Regrettably Broadband and wi-fi was in short supply and I couldn't send email while there, but now I'm back - virtual Pina Colada in hand (I'm a lush and I'm proud) and am wildly inspired to write.


Here's a short piece of prose that has just won the UK's Writing Magazine/Writers News online forum's monthly One Word Challenge. The theme for May was 'Stream'.


She’s the island in the middle, growing fragile at the edges where the creatures dig in deep, boring holes into her soul.

All around her, tinkling and twinkling over polished rocks the summer water flows with ease. It goes about its business without a care for the weeping wart at its centre. A crumbling clump here, a stagnant pool there. Mites hiss, in love with the detritus rotting on the surface.

Lush and vibrant, the silken stream babbles with soft laughter all around the sinking isle. And all the while, the sinking isle plunges deeper, moisture bubbling through her underbelly where creeping sluice tendrils pervade the loosened soil.

All it takes, all it takes... is a passing storm to wreak the final damage. Thunderous rain spills from Zeus’s hands; a waterfall from a purple sky to soak the land below. The crevices expand. Sand – sharp and callous – blends with the furious torrent to bring about destruction, the distressed earth torn to shreds, dispersed.

And all that’s left is a pebble which slips down an empty bank to lie down on its side. Like a single word that’s taken a single girl over her own decaying edge.


  1. I'm so, so happy to hear Lily. I can feel that relief & escape in your voice. What a statue. I don't recall hearing of the Minoan Snake Goddess, but I love it. Need to look it up. And this writing entry is absolutely wild! The beginning with the creatures, the reference to Zeus, and then the ending line. Wow. Congrats on the win!

  2. Thanks Jodi!

    The Snake Goddess is still a mystery. There are various representations of her discovered at Knossos, dated to about 1600BCE but all (including the figurine above) are partly reconstructed so may be mis-represesentations. They may also be older than 1600BCE.

    Because so little is known about her there are many suggestions associating her with contemporary Egyptian Snake Goddesses and deities, especially as other Egyptian pieces were discovered at Knossos. Another idea is that she is an Oracle - which I must admit is my intuitive feeling about her. Purely my own thoughts but perhaps she had a shamanic relationship with the snake whereby she would take enough of the its venom to induce a trance state. Makes total sense to me, but I could be completely wrong. (I may attempt some trance work on this myself soon - laurel leaf under the tongue and a glass of saffron water should do it!)

    Much to ponder on.

    Hope all is well with you.

  3. Glad you had a well earned rest, Lily. We're going away in 5 weeks and I can't wait. Looking forward to reading what drips from your fingers onto your keyboard.

    That was a worthy winner, too. It read like poetry! Well done!

    Good to have you back!

  4. Thanks David. Despite the pouring rain in Eastbourne it's good to be back - nothing like an English cuppa! And great to get back online,

    Hope you have a wonderful, well-deserved holiday too.


  5. Heartening to hear of your recent win, and well deserved too!

    I agree on your comment about English tea, there really is nothing quite like it anywhere.

    Happy Writing...

  6. Thanks Maria. I may have to take a cup of said English tea to bed now - when you want a slurp, you want a slurp...


  7. What a stunning opener. The entire piece flows beautifully, like poetry. Just enchanting.

    Glad you had a lovely holiday! I do hope you remembered to pack up a sweet-looking Crete boy with the devil in his eyes for me...

  8. How mysterious! Don’t you wish you could go back in time? Finding the pieces in Knossos certainly seems to add credence of the Egyptian past. However, the oracle feels right to me too. I was once told snakes were a sign of healing in some cultures (although here on the border and in Mexico there is a great fear of them). In homeopathy the bushmaster snake venom is a remedy called Lachesis. I was told that is my remedy, although I am not entirely convinced. So what you have said seems completely plausible. Perhaps a of particular kind of snake venom can cause healing, trance like states, and shamanism qualities. Intersting things to ponder. Laurel leaf and saffron water? You’re starting to sound like Magenta! ;-) Loved the novella btw. I need to write you up a review. xx

  9. Excellent, Lily! Many congrats to you. That is a fabulous piece, such a great blend of geology, mythology, and the inevitable of all of us, flesh or rock.
    My goodness, how I would love to go to Crete!

  10. Congratulations, Lily! What a stunning piece!

    ”Lush and vibrant, the silken stream babbles with soft laughter all around the sinking isle.” Aaaah! Beautiful!

    Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday =) I´ve never been to Crete, but I love Greece. Goddesses, hm… For me it´s Dimitra, I think the myth about her is so very strong.

  11. congratulations on winning the OWC! I know from past experience that the standards are very high, nearly as high as here ... so it is a great boost to actually win.
    Sounds like a fantastic holiday ... holidays are something I don't do, I can't be doing with the packing, the sorting, the cancelling everything, the preparations, the going - then all too soon the coming back ... but I envy those who do go and wish I had the courage to emulate them!

  12. Congratulations on the win! The best custom essay writing service is about to help you if you experience difficulties with your complicated home works:)Thanks a lot for the awesome read!I know this is an older post, but great nonetheless.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.