The Minoan Path: 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. This is not a reconstructionist tradition, but a journey of modern Pagans 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 culture and Modern Minoan Paganism, pop on over to our Ariadne's Tribe group on Facebook.

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Laura Perry

Laura Perry

I'm an artist, a writer, and a 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 many years ago. My first book was published in 2001; my most recent work is Ariadne’s Thread: Awakening the Wonders of the Ancient Minoans in Our Modern Lives. When I'm not busy drawing, writing, and editing, I enjoy gardening and giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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My Cup Runneth Over: A Ritual for Abundance

This little prosperity/abundance ritual comes from my book Ancient Spellcraft. The first edition is out of print but I'm hard at work on a revised and updated second edition that will be available in 2017. It's the first book I ever published, the first publishing contract I ever signed, a whopping 15 years ago - how time flies! So as we approach Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I wish you all the abundance, beauty, and gratitude life has to offer.

My Cup Runneth Over

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oh my, Laura, I was delighted to see this post and love the job you did with it. For decades, been channeling rituals with milk an
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thanks very much for your kind words. Yes, we really have missed out on a lot of really powerful symbolism and connection by remov

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Who were the gods of ancient Crete?

The description of my Facebook group Ariadne's Tribe states that Modern Minoan Paganism isn't a reconstructionist tradition. That's true. Reconstructionist traditions use texts from the original culture to figure out what the religion looked like back then, and we don't have any Minoan texts that we can read. Linear A, the script the Minoans used to record their native language, is still untranslated. But we do have something close that has been deciphered: Linear B.

I know, the names of these scripts are maddeningly non-descriptive, but they tell us one thing right up front: Linear A came first, with the Minoans, who were one of the indigenous peoples of Old Europe and who inhabited Crete beginning in Neolithic times. Later, during the Bronze Age, the Mycenaean Greeks (who were an Indo-European people) came down through the Greek peninsula and met up with the Minoans. They learned a lot from the Minoans, including how to write (they were illiterate before contact with the Minoans).

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Honoring the Dead: Modern Minoan Seasonality

Where I live in the northern hemisphere, the wheel of the year is turning inexorably toward Samhain, and my thoughts of course turn toward the ancestors and the Blessed Dead.

Like many other ancient cultures, the Minoans held their ancestors in high regard and honored them in their spiritual practice. But they didn't celebrate Samhain. I'm sure many people in ancient Crete did a little something to honor their ancestors on a regular, perhaps daily basis the way I light a candle on my ancestor altar every evening. But their big ancestor celebration happened at harvest time, which in the Mediterranean occurs in the spring. So...not Samhain.

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Minoan Birds: Goddess on the Wing

Birds of all kinds are a common theme throughout Minoan art. We find them in natural settings and in ritual art, and in some very interesting combinations that suggest the Minoans worshiped a Bird Goddess.

In many cases, the artist depicted the birds with naturalistic realism, to the point that we can often identify the specific species. These images include swallows and partridges:

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A Bit of a Rant: The Minoans weren't Greek!

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Minoans, the people who lived on the Mediterranean island of Crete during the Bronze Age, is that they were Greek. They weren't. Let's look at where this misunderstanding comes from and find out who the Minoans really were.

First of all, it's a good idea to distinguish between modern national boundaries and ancient cultures. The island of Crete has been a part of the modern nation of Greece for about a century, so most school history texts lump the two together simply because it's easier to divide the world up based on the modern map we're familiar with. And because of the great antiquity and popularity of Crete's history, the modern nation of Greece is more than happy to include it in their PR, including such spectacular events as the opening ceremony to the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

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  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    Here is a little info . . .As far as Aphrodite is concerned, she was born in Mesopotamia. She did not come into existence in Crete
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Calling the Minoans 'Greek' is kind of like calling Native Americans 'European settlers'.
  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis says #
    It's not quite the same thing. For one thing, modern Greek genetics are hardly uniform and show quite a bit of influence from Afri
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Wow, way to overthink a humorous observation...
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Exactly!

I was going to write an article about the Pleiades in Minoan spirituality and culture for today’s blog, but the research time for that got pre-empted by the fact that my husband was hospitalized and then had major surgery. I promise to write about the Pleiades later. But the whole surgery-and-hospital thing got me thinking about the role of the gods in our lives and how that has changed—or hasn’t—since ancient times.

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  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    Very true! And unfortunately so easy to forget, seems like, in this day and age of MEDICINE/SCIENCE/what-have-you CAN SOLVE ANYTHI

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Ancient Crete Was No Utopia

One of the dangers of having an ancient civilization as the focus of our spirituality is the tendency to view that culture through rose-colored glasses. That’s especially tempting when it comes to ancient Crete and the Minoan civilization that flourished there in the third and second millennium BCE.

There are so many positive aspects of Minoan culture: Women had high status and the Goddess was revered. Minoan cities and towns had paved streets, enclosed sewers, and flush toilets. The Minoans appear not to have had any sort of military, choosing instead to invest all their energy and wealth into what was probably the largest merchant fleet in the Mediterranean at the time, so their society was prosperous and relatively peaceful.

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