An intricate description of the effect an ancient temple can work on the spirit – a falling away of complication and anxiety and a spilling over of clarity and hope.  I had such a feeling when a handful of us were allowed to roam untrammelled through ruins and wild flowers on the island of Delos. 

Not limited to Greek temples of course, many places that have been sacred at one time can carry that resonance long after their walls have crumbled, or their last inhabitants have moved on. 

Note that lovely ‘intimation of radiance, simplicity and calm’. 


A spell of peace lives in the ruins of ancient Greek temples. As the traveller leans back among the fallen capitals and allows the hours to pass, it empties the mind of troubling thoughts and anxieties and slowly refills it, like a vessel that has been drained and scoured, with a quiet ecstasy. Nearly all that has happened fades to a limbo of shadows and insignificence and is painlessly replaced by an intimation of radiance, simplicity and calm which unties all knots and solves all riddles and seems to murmur a benevolent and unimperious suggestion that the whole of life, if it were allowed to unfold without hindrance or compulsion or search for alien solutions, might be limitlessly happy. 


Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, introduction by Michael Gorra, New York: New York Review of Books, 2006 (1958), p. 140 

Photo credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969 at


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