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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Laura Perry

Laura Perry

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.
Modern Minoan Paganism: What about the rules?

Different people approach spiritual practice in different ways. Some people like detailed rules for how to set up their altar, prepare for ritual, perform ritual, and clean up afterward. Others prefer a more open approach, following general guidelines but allowing their intuition to guide them for much of what they do.

Some spiritual traditions fall squarely in that first category as well, practices such as Hellenic and Roman Paganism, simply because we have extensive texts from those cultures telling us exactly how those people practiced their religion: What was allowed, what was required, what was forbidden. But for many ancient religions, we have few to no written sources to tell us how it was done. The religion practiced by the Minoans of Bronze Age Crete is one of those.

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Minoan Bell Jar Goddesses: All the funny hats

When someone says "Minoan" many people immediately think of the snake goddess figurines from Knossos. But there are other goddess figurines from ancient Crete that are just as interesting, maybe more so. Case in point: the Poppy Goddess shown at the top of this post.

She wears a crown with three poppy seed pods that have visibly been scored so the latex will ooze out, part of the process for making opium, which the Minoans appear to have used ritually. Like all the other bell jar goddess figurines (so called because of the shape of their skirts), she has her arms raised in a gesture that looks a lot like the Minoan sacred horns.

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Food and Cooking in Minoan Crete

One way to connect with an ancient culture like the Minoans is to learn about their daily life: what they did for a living, what their houses looked like, and especially what they ate. Food is a powerful way to connect with other cultures, and that includes those of the ancient world.

A while back I wrote about how the Minoans cooked - what their kitchens and cookpots were like, how they used braziers or outdoor cookfires instead of hearths. Today I'm going to talk about what they cooked. Most of this information comes from an appendix in my book Labrys and Horns.

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Lady of the Labyrinth: A Chant

I was recently inspired to write a chant that's designed for labyrinth walking. It invokes the Lady of the Labyrinth, a goddess some people identify with Ariadne or with the Serpent Mother (snake goddess) from Minoan Crete. The name that works for me is Basilissa.

Please feel free to use this chant in your rituals and your labyrinth walking, and let me know how it goes.

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Does Aphrodite have Minoan connections?

I'm regularly asked if there's a counterpart in the Minoan pantheon to some foreign god or goddess. It's a game many of us play, trying to make connections and see where beliefs and practices were similar around the ancient world. Heck, even the ancients did it, especially the Greeks and Romans, trying to figure out which one of their deities each foreign one was the equivalent to.

One of the most common ones I'm asked about is Aphrodite. If you think about it, she is pretty likely to have some kind of Minoan connection: She dates back at least to the Bronze Age, the time the Minoans flourished. Her mythos tells us that she's from Cyprus or Kythera, both islands within the Minoan sphere of influence (Cyprus even had a script that derived from the Minoans' Linear A). And she was probably much more complicated than her later depiction as a shallow sex/love/beauty goddess suggests. At the very least, the well-traveled Minoans are sure to have known about her.

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Looking Back Along the Minoan Path

I've been blogging here for three and a half years now, and I've just been looking back through all my blog posts as the year nears its end. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to discover that my five most popular posts aren't necessarily the ones I was hoping people would pick up and run with, and they're certainly not the ones I expected. But it is interesting to see what draws people, so maybe I can take the hint and provide more of what you lovely folks might like to read.

My most popular blog post? Tying a Sacred Knot - The various types of sacred knots are pretty well known, especially the tet of Isis, which appears to have a counterpart in Minoan Crete. But there's another object that Sir Arthur Evans conflated with this type of sacred knot, and this second object is obviously a piece of fabric, not a cord. I've written about this second object, which we've come to call the Sacral Scarf, in this blog post. It has its own place in Modern Minoan Paganism and was, as far as we can tell, unique in the ancient world.

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Sacred Guardians: A Minoan-Themed Protection Spell

Today I'm sharing a spell/ritual from the new second edition of my book Ancient Spellcraft. It calls on the power of the griffin, an ancient mythological creature of great power. We have recently rediscovered the Minoan sun goddess Therasia and come to realize that the griffins are hers. If you like, you can call on her directly as you perform this ceremony. I do recommend that you develop a relationship with any deity you call on for spells and rituals, since they're not cosmic vending machines (you put in an offering and out pops a goodie).

 

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