Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, loving goddess of ancient Crete who lives on in the hearts and minds of the modern world. Modern Minoan Paganism is not a purely reconstructionist tradition, but a journey in relationship with Minoan deities in the contemporary world. Ariadne's thread reaches across the millennia to connect us with the divine. Will you follow where it leads?

To join the discussion about ancient Minoan civilization and Modern Minoan Paganism, head on over to our welcoming community at Ariadne's Tribe on Facebook.

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Modern Minoan Paganism: A How-To

When I first discovered the Pagan community, I never dreamed I'd end up as the facilitator for a new spiritual path, but here we are. Modern Minoan Paganism is a thing and a lot of us are doing it. So what, exactly, are we doing?

Like many Pagan traditions, there are no rules about what you must believe. Some of us are hard polytheists; some of us approach the Minoan deities from a psychological or symbolic perspective. All that really matters is that the connection works, however you make it. The central focus is the Minoan pantheon, the gods and goddesses of ancient Crete who are still very much alive today.

We make that connection with those deities in the modern world. So our practices must by necessity be contemporary: We're 21st-century people. But we also do our best to reflect back to Minoan times, to the ways the people back then probably "did religion." Since our information about the Minoans is limited, our spirituality ends up being a combination of historical reconstruction and spirit-led practices, what I often call sort-of-reconstruction. And what that gives us is a bunch of practices that we all share.

Probably the single most common activity we all share is setting up and maintaining a Minoan altar of some sort. Archaeologists have found lots of altars throughout the Minoan world, in big temples and small homes alike. This is one practice that virtually everyone shared back then and that helps us make those spiritual connections now, in the modern world.

What do we do with the altars we set up? We meditate and pray. We make offerings and libations. We enjoy the presence of the gods and goddesses in our homes. Sometimes we get a few friends together and use the altar as the focal point in a ritual.

Walking the labyrinth, either literally with a full-sized one or via meditation or a finger labyrinth, is also high up on the list. The labyrinth is a marvelous spiritual tool for reaching our own inner aspects and integrating them. It can also be used as a portal for shamanic journeying to various deities or for healing.

Many of us also use ecstatic body postures as a way to connect with the divine. These poses, depicted in figurines found at Minoan sacred sites, can be used by themselves in meditation or as part of a more complicated ritual.

I would like to point out that Modern Minoan Paganism isn’t the only Minoan path out there. The Minoan Sisterhood and the Minoan Brotherhood have been around for several decades. I've been asked why I didn’t mention them in my two Minoan spirituality books, Ariadne’s Thread and Labrys and Horns. The answer is simple: because they’re separate paths from Modern Minoan Paganism. For instance, I wouldn’t expect a member of one Druid tradition to write a book that discussed the spiritual practices of a different Druid tradition. Modern Minoan Paganism is its own path with its own evolving traditions and practices, open to people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds.

To join the conversation about Modern Minoan Paganism and ancient Minoan civilization, head on over to our welcoming community at Ariadne's Tribe on Facebook.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen!

 

Art: The High Priestess card art from The Minoan Tarot deck by Laura Perry

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I'm an artist, writer, and lover of all things ancient and mysterious. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a particular passion of mine since a fateful art history class introduced me to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. My first book was published in 2001; one of my most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. I've also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. When I'm not busy drawing and writing, I enjoy gardening and giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

Comments

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Tuesday, 15 May 2018

    In "Gods of the Runes" by Frank Joseph the author claims that each rune of the elder Futhark represents one of the Norse gods. Have you tried meditating on the letters of the Minoan Alphabet yet? I'm guessing that was linear B. I don't know how many letters are in that group. I know you wouldn't all experience the same response but after 20 of you had worked on the letters I would expect a shared picture to emerge for each of the characters.

  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry Wednesday, 16 May 2018

    Linear B is not actually the Minoan alphabet. It's an adaptation of Linear A, which was the Minoan syllabary, used to write Mycenaean Greek. The Greeks were illiterate until they met the Minoans. Linear A has not yet been deciphered because we don't have a great enough volume of the script to do the job. Since Linear A is a syllabary and not an alphabet, there are more than 80 separate signs. Some of us have worked with Linear A in a magical capacity and have come up with some meanings behind a few of the signs; they do appear to have been used for magical inscriptions the way runes were. But I would be really surprised if all 80+ of the signs stood for separate deities.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Wednesday, 16 May 2018

    Yeah, 80 does sound like a bit much unless your talking about every mountain, river and island getting it's own deity. Have fun with it and hope archaeologists find a catch or two of Minoan documents to work with.

  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry Thursday, 17 May 2018

    Archaeologists continue to discover new Minoan sites all the time; there's some speculation that Crete was more heavily populated in Minoan times than it is now! So cross your fingers that one day they'll find another trove of Linear A tablets and we'll have enough text to do a proper decipherment.

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