Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan pantheon. Modern Minoan Paganism is not a 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 culture 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 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, you can find me in the garden or giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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Minoan archaeology: It's still a thing

When I talk with people about the ancient Minoans, I find they often believe that everything we know about ancient Crete was dug up by Sir Arthur Evans a century ago, and that's it. But that's not the case.

Evans is famous, sure, but did you know that the Minoan site at Gournia was originally excavated by the American archaeologist Harriet Boyd-Hawes? Work at the site was still ongoing this summer (2019). In fact, work at a lot of Minoan sites is still in progress, and we're learning and discovering more all the time. Here's a sampling of what's happening these days in the world of Minoan archaeology:

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Modern Minoan Paganism: Reconstruction vs. revival

I spend a lot of time telling people that Modern Minoan Paganism is not a reconstructionist tradition. But the issue is actually a little more complicated than that.

When I was at Mystic South this past summer, one of the other presenters, Joseph Beofeld, attended my workshop about Modern Minoan Paganism. What was his presenation about? Reconstructionism! He came up to me afterward and pointed out that even though I had said we aren't a reconstructionist tradition, we use reconstructionist methods extensively. And that's quite true.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    You have a group of fellow travelers to work with and support each other on your journey. I think that is wonderful. I've recent

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There's more than one Minoan goddess!

When I mention "Minoan," most people think of the famous Snake Goddess figurines. And many people think those figurines represent "the Minoan goddess," as if there were only one of them. But there are many Minoan goddesses, not just one.

In fact, there's a whole pantheon.

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Hands of Great Skill: A few "handy" Minoan deities

Modern Minoan Paganism's pantheon includes a variety of gods and goddesses with varying attributes. One group I haven't talked much about is the set of deities we call Hands of Great Skill: those whose purview is highly skilled handcrafts of various sorts.

Taking the raw materials of the Earth and transforming them, turning them into something new and different: that's a kind of magic. Rhea's gifts to us - clay and metal ore - are the body of the Earth Mother, offered up to those whose can make blades from rocks and vessels from mud using their hands and the equally magical power of fire.

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Calendar conundrums: harvest time in Modern Minoan Paganism

Over the past few days, my family and I have celebrated Lammas, a European harvest festival. But we don't include Lammas in the sacred calendar for Modern Minoan Paganism. Why not? First, there's the fact that the modern Neopagan eight-fold wheel of the year hadn't been invented yet back in the Bronze Age. But there's also the fact that in the Mediterranean, this isn't harvest time.

Many of us live in the northern temperate zone - the parts of North America and Eurasia that have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter. Those seasons may be milder or more severe depending on the local climate, but they're still there.

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Modern Minoan Paganism Workshop at Mystic South

I had a marvelous time at Mystic South last weekend. I saw some old friends and met some new ones. I also gave a workshop about Modern Minoan Paganism. I never know what to expect when I'm doing public events, but I was happily surprised that so many people were interested - we had to rustle up extra chairs so everyone would have a place to sit (thank you to the Mystic South volunteers and organizers for being so helpful with this!).

Though there were a lot of attendees at the conference, there are also a lot of people who didn't get to come. With that in mind, we recorded the workshop to share online. A big thank you to my daughter, who patiently babysat the equipment while I gave the presentation.

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Ritual object or everyday pitcher? A few searching questions about Minoan artifacts

It's an old joke in the archaeology community, that if you can't figure out what an artifact was used for, you call it a ritual object. But it's a problem for those of us who are trying to figure out how the ancient Minoans actually practiced their religion, so we'll have some guidance for how we do our thing in the modern world.

I've written about this issue before, and there are some obvious clues in some instances. If an object was found on an altar or shrine shelf, it's pretty obviously a ritual object, regardless of what it looks like. Sarcophagi, by their very nature, are sacred items. Deity or priestess figurines, scenes of rituals on frescoes and seals, objects found in ceremonial areas in temples - those are clearly ritual artifacts.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My mom had a coffee cup with a dogwood blossom and the legend of the dogwood on it. The legend of the dogwood is a bit of local C

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