As an anti-capitalist, un- sporty, un-nationalistic Londoner is there anything I can find positive about the Olympics? Am I crazy to experience this looming event like an army of corporate logos invading sacred land? Are they primarily here to erect yet more shiny temples to honour eternal competition and endless profit? Sport seems to have become the religion of our times. But is its God actually the Market, and its players and athletes mainly merely his faithful priests?

Then I remembered my friend Harita Meenee’s book written for the Greek Olympics in 2004, exploring its spiritual roots. Some scholars believe that the games were originally brought from Crete to Olympia around3,000 yrs ago as aspects of religious fertility rites. The male winner of the foot races may have been chosen for the sacred marriage with the priestess. She may have been there to represent the goddess whose shrines on the Olympic site evolved and were fought over for many centuries. They included Gaia, Hera and Rhea, mother of the Gods whose ruined temples remain today.

The Eleans who took over Olympia around 748BC also honoured the god Dionysus, he of ecstasy, wine and transformation. In Euripedes ‘The Bacchae’ ,people go mad if they do not honour this god once in a while. The wildness and transgressiveness of these energies contrast dramatically with the the ordered, corporate control of todays games.

London too had her goddesses and gods before the Romans built their amphitheatres here. Elen who is associated with roads and paths, light and bliss was one of the most important. Can we reconnect with these earlier earth energies during this time and remember¬† what it all once meant? We could imagine processing meditatively along Elen’s ways around London, and ending with a sacred marriage between her/us and whoever we chose to represent our partner. In this way we can transform the corporate madness of it all into¬† something personal and ecstatic.

Harita’s book is called ‘The Women’s Olympia and the Great Goddess’ Published by Eleusis Press in 2004.