The Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii is famous for its cycle of Dionysian Ritual Frescoes. Priestess of Pompeii is a fictional story of a real person, the Domina of the Villa, Rufilla Istacidia, who lived in Pompeii, First Century BCE. Rufilla is born to parents in the servant class, but when her mother dies, her father renounces the baby, and her miraculous rescue by a wealthy Pompeiian family fatefully transforms her destiny. Rufilla’s epilepsy is considered a sacred illness which not only produces violent episodes of seizures but also prophetic dreams.
A dream of her betrothed’s death, and ensuing darkness, serve as a catalyst to begin the initiate’s journey, where sexual awakening mirrors spiritual illumination.
The book takes readers to ancient healing sites: Epidaurus, Crete, The Sanctuary of Apollo and the Oracle of Delphia. Rufilla receives messages through dreams, rituals, and encounters as she struggles with her conflicting feelings over traditional marital duties and the desire to be completely free and independent.
Priestess of Pompeii is an epic, yet intimate portrayal of Rufilla’s world in ancient Pompeii and Greece. Mythology and history intertwine, like the inner and outer worlds of life. Whether on the pirate-infested seas, in the quiet of sacred sanctuaries, inside Julius Caesar’s politics, swept up in the bustling marketplaces, or in the throes of erotic rituals, Priestess of Pompeii is not only a book for time travelers, but is a portal into a woman’s coming of age through the lens of Jungian psychology.
“The journey of the Priestess is every woman’s story. The ancient voices of women, their rituals and wisdom, as told in this marvelous historical novel, flow and shine through the centuries to our day.”—Carol Faenzi, Author of The Stonecutter’s Aria.
“The Mystery, passion, and wisdom of Roman and Greek antiquity come alive in stunning emotional color in Sandy Hurt’s historical novel.“ J. G. Sparks, Author of At the Heart of the Matter.