1) Name: Ekstasy Karakitsou
2) Lives on: Mount Paggaio, near Kavala, Greece
3) From: The USA. I grew up in Massachusetts and as an adult I’ve lived in Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, and Scotland! But my father was Greek – and Greece has always felt like a second home – so it seemed natural that I would end up living here.
4) Occupation/employer: My day job is as a web designer, and I’m also an herbalist and writer. My current passion project is atemplewild.com – a blog and podcast about Greek mythology, plant lore, and the Mediterranean landscape!
5) First three jobs (ever!): Botanical Garden Intern / Admin Assistant / Reiki Master Practitioner & Teacher
6) Zodiac sign: Cancer (My Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus are all in Cancer…)
7) Enneagram Type: Type 4, the Artist/Individualist
8) What you love about Athens or Greece in general: The herbs and wild plants! Bay laurel, Asphodel, Aleppo Pine, Crocus…it never ceases to amaze me the biodiversity of the Mediterranean landscape. And where I live in northern Greece, there are large populations of Plane trees, some of them massive and 100s of years old!! But even the humble “weeds” – Nettles, Plantain, Chicory – are magic right under our feet.
9) Something most people don’t know about you: I have a BA in religious studies from Smith College, and I’m fascinated by ancient religions. That was my first passion – mythology and mysticism – and I love writing about Greek myth and nature-infused ceremony on my blog.
10) Where we are most likely to find you in Lynn’s Kundalini Yoga:? Online! I take Lynn’s online global Kundalini Yoga classes. I moved from Athens to a very small village in northern Greece a few years ago, and I love that I can take classes with Lynn, even after moving away!
11) First time you tried Kundalini Yoga: In 2014 – I’d just moved to Athens and someone in the USA had suggested I try Kundalini Yoga for deeper relaxation. So I did an internet search and found Lynn.
12) Give us your top tip to combat climate change: Consciously build inter-species relationships with plants. Most European and North American humans find it easy to connect with other mammals, but when it comes to plant life, they have something called “Plant Blindness” – the inability to truly see and understand plants as individual, living beings. Plants are instead considered inferior to animals; they are seen as “a green mass,” a static backdrop, not more than a beautiful scenery to our day-to-day lives. And when we talk about “saving the environment,” we don’t actually acknowledge that the environment is comprised of thousands of individual plant populations, each with different needs! In order to truly make any change in our relationship with Nature (whether to impact climate change or otherwise), we need to shift our mindset and start to truly notice plants as vital and individual members of our global community. They have so much to teach us about adaptability, patience, belonging, right timing, and seasonal living! And through simple observation and interaction, taking the time to watch the way they change over time and respond to our interactions, we can gain a deeper understanding of their individual habits and needs – and thus become better advocates for the biodiversity that is literally making it possible for our own species to survive.
13) Anything else you’d like us to know? I’m absolutely passionate about learning and sharing the beauty of Greek herbs and plants with others. I’ve just launched a new podcast where we rediscover the myths of the ancient Greeks through the plants and landscapes that shaped them! I also have a new video series in the works called Gardening with the Gods, where we’ll be wandering into the garden to learn together about what it means to live on the land in a Mediterranean climate! If you’re interested in Greek mythology, plant lore, and the Mediterranean garden, I’d love for you to join us at atemplewild.com!