Red Earth (Photo: Joanna Hruby)
Ibiza has many different faces, some better known than others. Paradise island, mass tourism destination, hedonistic clubber’s getaway, marketing brand for international DJs and fashionistas… The island’s most common labels are the ones it suffers with the most. Dig a little deeper and the island’s lesser known faces begin to reveal themselves – a refuge for beatniks, surrealists and draft-dodgers, a bohemian stop-off on the overland trail to India in the 1960’s and ’70’s, and still today, seemingly, a magnet to alternative-minded individuals of all walks of life from around the world.
Folk dancers, San Miguel (Photo: Joanna Hruby)
But keep digging and you eventually enter new territory altogether – because Ibiza’s deepest and most crucial layers are guarded by a completely different name: Eivissa. The island’s official Catalan title, Eivissa is derived from Iboshim, the name offered by the Phoenicians who first settled on the island in 654BC, dedicating it to the Egyptian god, Bes. The Phoenicians brought with them the moon goddess Tanit, ‘the face of Baal’, symbol of fertility, associated with hedonism and dance (proving that the gods of ancient Eivissa are still very much at large on Ibiza today). After the Phoenicians came the Romans, the Moors, the Byzantines, round after round of invading pirates…it seems that Eivissa has never really belonged to anyone. But this pine-forested island appears to have something undeniably special – the Phoenicians called it ‘blessed by the gods’ and brought their dead from distant lands to be buried here and, allegedly, Nostradamus claimed that Ibiza would one day be ‘Earth’s final refuge…”
Cova Es Culleram, ‘Tanit’s Cave’, San Vicente (Photo: Joanna Hruby)
The many guises of Ibiza today can all trace their roots back to their origins, within Eivissa. But the modern, international brand of Ibiza is facing serious social, cultural, economical and environmental repercussions – namely, the effects of the mass tourism which started on the island in the 1950’s. A water crisis, for example, has been declared in recent years due to the island’s natural underground aquifers being depleted by the excessive and irresponsible practices of the tourist industries.
Eivissa’s ancient gods, myths, folklore and traditions, all of which respected and protected this island’s natural resources and delicate ecology, have been overlooked by modern-day Ibiza. Theatre of the Ancients is of the opinion that god is not, infact, a DJ – she is a goddess called Tanit. And it´s time to reawaken her. Will you join us?