Eftyhia Leontidou, MD, is a Greek Obstetrician- gynecologist, who has worked for over 40 years healing and empowering women, in villages, University clinics, the National Health system and the private sector. A lover of music, archaeology, travel, photography, and Tai chi, she is a member of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights and has offered her medical services to the Medical Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors.
Eftyhia has written and translated many articles on women’s rights and health issues for medical and feminist magazines in Greece and abroad. She has also coedited and contributed as an author, translator and photographer to many collective women’s books. Her activities include lectures, seminars and workshops for doctors, medical students, women’s groups as well as battered, unemployed, immigrant and socially excluded women, in collaboration with women’s and cultural organizations, groups, schools, parents’ unions, local authorities, and the European Union; in addition she has taken part in training programs for the police on violence against women.
For more than 50 years she has been active in the autonomous women’s movement being a member of self-examination, feminist activist and feminist spirituality groups in Athens. Her latest project is called Feminist Gynecology and consists so far of three books: 1) Goddess in Action – Childbirth, 2) Female Sexuality – From Flesh to Spirit, and 3) Female body – A Mystical tour.
FEMALE BODY – A MYSTICAL TOUR
The presentation I wish to contribute will unfold around the Greek dark
Goddesses of prepatriarchal mythology, their qualities, their symbols, their stories.
My latest book “Female Body – a Mystical Tour” begins with one of those stories, the myth of Baubo, which is connected with the myth of Demeter and Persephone and the Underworld. Baubo is the Crone Goddess who offers laughter to the exhausted and despaired Demeter by exposing her genitals to her. I will describe the relevance of this story to the dark seasons of our times, which are filled with fear and violence and war, and how the female principle holds the potential for universal change and rebirth.
This creative, wonderful, unpredictable chaos, ruled by the Crone Goddess or Lady of the Otherworld, otherwise called the Dark Goddess or Black Goddess, is experienced by visiting the frightening Labyrinth, where we have to meet our shadow side, accept it, and become friends with it. The Lady of the Otherworld, our comfort and consolation, waits for us in the center of the Labyrinth to initiate us into the Mysteries, and to remind us that every death is followed by rebirth. In the darkness we gain self-knowledge and inner power and become whole. This dangerous journey will eventually lead to creation and rebirth, its hardest moment being right before the dawn. In self-knowledge and self-acceptance we will find the magic thread that will lead us back to the light, renewed and inspired, ready for the next stage of our lives.
In my book I describe the cycles, spirals and transformations we experience in our lives, which are manifest mainly in the female body. This book – only in Greek language for the time being – is part of my greater project Feminist Gynecology which offers biological and medical knowledge; information on the feminist struggles for autonomy and self-determination; and an esoteric view on the symbolism and spirituality of the sacred temple which we call the body, and how its transformations resonate with the greater cosmos. I will further discuss the awe with which women were regarded in prepatriarchal, Goddess worshipping cultures when their bodies were considered sacred embodiments of the Goddess and their spirits were shining. The message I want to convey is, be proud of yourself, rejoice in your body.