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 an independent polytheist spiritual tradition that brings the gods and goddesses of the ancient Minoans alive in the modern world. We're a revivalist tradition, not a reconstructionist one; we rely heavily on shared gnosis and the practical realities of Paganism in the modern world. Ariadne's thread reaches across the millennia to connect us with the divine. Will you follow where it leads?

Find out all about Modern Minoan Paganism on our website: https://ariadnestribe.wordpress.com/. We're a welcoming tradition, open to all who share our love for the Minoan deities and respect for our fellow human beings.

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Laura Perry

Laura Perry

Laura Perry is an artist, writer, and the founder and facilitator of Modern Minoan Paganism. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a passion of hers since a fateful art history class introduced her to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. Her first book was published in 2001; one of her most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. She has also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. When she's not busy drawing and writing, you can find her in the garden or giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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Minoan Winter Solstice: A Gathering of Posts

It's December already (how did that happen?) which means we're moving inexorably toward Winter Solstice where I live in the northern hemisphere. In Modern Minoan Paganism, our celebration of Midwinter involves several different layers of myths and practices. Since I've written about this festival a number of times already, I thought I would gather up all the posts here along with a little explanation.

First, a few introductory thoughts from the section about Winter Solstice in Labrys & Horns: "This festival has two layers in MMP, one that focuses on our Sun goddess Therasia and one that centers around Rhea and her Divine Child. In both cases, the central symbolism is that of birth and rebirth, of the old cycle ending and a new one beginning. Minoan civilization lasted for many centuries, and during that time religion changed and grew. Like the Egyptians, the Minoans tended to simply add new ideas, gods, and celebrations on top of what was already there instead of substituting the new ones and removing older ones. So over time, Minoan religion became a lot more complicated, with multiple reflections of the same ideas throughout the sacred year. We’ve included some of these nuanced layers in our sacred calendar because they have meaning for us as modern Pagan practitioners."

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This is one in a series of posts about finding the MMP deities in Minoan art. Find the whole series here.

Today we're going to focus on the Melissae. In MMP, we view them as bee-spirit goddesses who care for the spirits of the dead. As such, the bee and beehive are the most obvious symbols we associate with them. For instance, there's the famous Malia bee pendant:

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It's autumn where I live in the southeastern US, which means harvest time. Here, the concept of harvest is simple: From late summer through the autumn, all the harvests happen together - fields of grain, vineyards full of grapes, fruit in the orchards, vegetables in the garden. That's because I live in the northern temperate zone, with the four-season setup so many of us learned about in elementary school: spring, summer, autumn, winter.

But in the Mediterranean, it's different.

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This is one in a series of posts about finding the MMP gods and goddesses in Minoan art. Find the full list of blog posts in this series here

Today we're looking for the bull-god Zagreus in Minoan art. In MMP, we consider Zagreus to be an aspect of our god Tauros Asterion. So obviously, we're going to look for images of bulls. But what kinds of images? When we go looking for Tauros Asterion in Minoan art, we seek out naturalistic/realistic images of bulls. When we're in search of the Minotaur (another aspect of Tauros Asterion), we look for shape-shifting depictions of half-man, half-bull creatures. So how do we know when we've found Zagreus?

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This is one in a series about finding the MMP gods and goddesses in Minoan art. Find the list of the full series here.

The Snake Goddess is perhaps the most iconic representative of Minoan culture and religion. Show a person a Snake Goddess figurine, and it's a pretty sure bet they'll think of the Minoans. But did you know that there are only a handful of these figurines, and no other representations of the Snake Goddess in the frescoes or the seals?

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This is one in a series about the deities in the pantheon of Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP). You can find the full list of posts in this series here.

Today we're going to focus on the Horned Ones: the Minoan gods and goddesses who take the form of horned animals - cattle, goats, and deer - and where we can find them in Minoan art. They come in god/goddess pairs: the Minotaur and Europa, the Minocapros and Amalthea, the Minelathos and Britomartis.

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Reading Minoan Art: A How-To

I feel a little bit like an elementary school teacher: OK, everyone, we're going to learn to read Minoan art!

We're all a bit past elementary school, but learning to understand the iconography of any ancient culture is a big step toward understanding their religion and worldview. Iconography is the set of symbols (icons) that have meaning in religious art. They're pictures, but in a sense, we can "read" them and they'll tell us their story. Archaeologists and historians of religion have pieced together the basics, and we've fleshed it out just a bit more in MMP using dance ethnography and shared gnosis.

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