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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

Modern Minoan Paganism: A bunch of book reviews

I've posted a good handful of book reviews on this blog, and it occurred to me that it might be helpful to have them all in one place so no one has to sift through five years of blog posts (good grief, has it really been that long?) to find them.

These are in-depth reviews of books that I think you'll find helpful and interesting if you're exploring Modern Minoan Paganism. We also have a long, long book list over in Ariadne's Tribe of books we've all found helpful. But that doesn't include reviews, just simple descriptions. Some of the books I've reviewed below are now out of print, but they're well worth tracking down via interlibrary loan or the various online used booksellers. A good reference is a good reference, after all.

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June and July 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Maienzug (Aarau, Switzerland) takes place every year on the first Friday in July. It's an example of a moveable feast, that is, a holiday that is not on the same date every year. The following is a list of holidays with fixed dates which are celebrated by heathens or heathen-derived cultures.

June
8
Lindisfarne Day (American Asatru, American Odinist)

9
Day of Sigurd (American Asatru, American Odinist)

21
Midsummer (Urglaawe, England),
Hleifblot (American Asatru),
Líða (Theod),
Mittesommer (Germany),
Sommersonnewende (Germany),
Hochsommer Fest (Switzerland),
Midsommar (Norway),
Midsommardagen (Sweden)   

July
7
Lindenfest begins (Geisenheim, Germany)

9
Day of Unn the Deep-Minded (American Asatru), Lindenfest ends (Geisenheim, Germany)

15 Month of possible date of Hoietfescht begins (Urglaawe)

29 Stikkelstad Day (American Asatru)

31 Month of possible date of Honoring of the Weisskeppichi Fraa ends (Urglaawe)

Some moveable feasts require knowing the date of other feasts to derive their dates. Pinkster is on the fiftieth day after Easter, aka Whitsunday (in Deventer, province of Overijssel, Netherlands)
Pinkster Bruid or Pinksterbloem on Whit Tuesday (in Volte, Ootmarsum, Markelo, Rijssen, Hellendoorn, Hengelo, and other communities, province of Overijssel, Netherlands.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome, and thanks! Have a great day!
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Right ... thanks for the explanation. Have a beautiful weekend!
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    It's on the official calendar of some groups. I'd guess it was probably intended as "fight the Christian oppressor." That was a po
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Hmmm ... Is "Lindisfarne Day" an actual thing? Seems a bit of an odd and disturbing event to celebrate ... I wonder what others i

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“Wise Woman’ By Jane Brideson. 
Used with permission

She sits on the windowsill above my altar in a gold frame. The image is entitled ‘Wise Woman’ painted by Irish painter Jane Brideson entitled. The Wise Woman is sitting by her kitchen table burning something in a small copper cauldron from which the smoke swirls and wafts up and around her.

There are images in the smoke, a hare under a waxing moon, a croft with a thatched roof, smoke trailing out of the chimney. The cottage has two windows on its whitewashed front which I want to peer through, the paint of the front door is probably peeling in several places, to reveal a rainbow of colors which span decades. I imagine what it might look like inside, maybe like the Irish croft my Great Aunt Mary lived in, a wise woman herself who never married and worked the farm alone and traded for most of what she needed. The third swirl of smoke holds the scene of a cauldron pot over a fire, next to a large kettle.

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Atheopaganism, and What It Isn't

It’s not dressing as if you’re at a Renaissance Faire.

Nor goth/BDSM aesthetic, all black and “witchy”.

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Modern Minoan Paganism: a logo for Ariadne's Tribe

It has taken us a while, but we finally came up with a logo for Modern Minoan Paganism. Until we started tossing ideas around, I had no idea it was going to be such a tricky issue.

There are lots of symbols that people associate with the Minoans. Perhaps the most famous is the labrys - the double-bladed ax that was used not to sacrifice animals (it appears they used swords and daggers for that) but as a sacred symbol with many layers of meaning.

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Heathen Symbol or Hate Symbol?

Resources for the disambiguation of Heathen symbols vs. hate symbols. TW: discussion of racism

This is a resources and links page for how to tell the difference between a religious symbol being used by heathens and a hate symbol being used by neonazis or white supremacists. There are several different symbol guides linked from this page. Using the various symbol guides requires more than looking up a suspect symbol; it also requires taking context into account. For example, once while screening applications I ran across the version of Othala with wolves attached to the lower legs of the symbol. The first time I saw this symbol, I wondered: is it the footed Othala used by Nazis or is it just the regular Othala but with wolves? I used a reverse image search (the Chrome extension) to find the origin of the symbol, and found the page of the artist who designed it. The page had many pagan and heathen artworks, none of which looked like neonazi or white supremacist symbols. The artist's statement on his website was an unobjectionable, pretty standard pagan statement. I concluded the Othala-with-wolves symbol's resemblance to the footed Othala was just a coincidence. The context provided by the artist's other artworks and artist statement helped me interpret that image.

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The Blessing of the Ships: A Minoan celebration

Minoan culture centered on the island of Crete, which lies in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Greece. The Minoans were a seagoing people: they fished, they traded, and they traveled in boats and ships. So it makes sense that they would have incorporated these major facets of their lives into their spiritual practice.

We don't know for certain what the Minoans did to bless ships before a voyage. But tidbits that made it through the Bronze Age collapse and ended up in the works of later writers, combined with archaeoastronomy research, suggest that the Minoan sailing season had a definite beginning and ending: the heliacal rising of the Pleiades in May and the acronychal rising of that constellation in October or November.* This makes sense, given that the winds during the wintertime would have made sailing in that era quite hazardous (not that it's a whole lot easier today, but at least we have modern gadgetry and gas-powered engines to help).

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