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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Meet the Minoan Deities: Korydallos

One of the tricky bits about revivalist Pagan religion is that lots of information gets lost over time, either because oral traditions die out or because written sources are destroyed - or both. That means there are deities we may not even realize exist until we stumble across them in our research. So today I'm introducing a new god who's also a very old god. This is the section I've written about him as I revise and update Labrys and Horns for the new second edition that will be released in June:

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This enigmatic god comes to us via the fascinating field of dance ethnography. The Red Champion still exists in folk dances around the Mediterranean today. A shamanic spirit warrior of a sort, he is the son of an ancient goddess figure. He may very well predate the Minoans, possibly going back as far as the beginning of farming in the Neolithic, given the content of the dances he appears in. But our experience with him in MMP links him with Therasia, so that’s how he fits into our pantheon: he is her son.

He’s one of the three Young Gods, each one a son of one of our mother goddesses. In that role, he acts as an intermediary between the people and the Mothers. Like his brothers, he’s forever young: youthful, energetic, exuberant. But of course, he’s also old, as old as the gods themselves. So he’s wise but also playful, which can be a nice change sometimes.

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The Modern Minoan Pantheon: Pairs and Triplets

I'm eyeball-deep in the revisions and updates to Labrys & Horns. As I sift through the conversations we've had in Ariadne's Tribe and the notes I've taken over the past couple of years, the gods and goddesses are sorting themselves into pairs and trios - something I hadn't really expected.

When we began putting together a Minoan pantheon for modern Pagan spiritual practice, we were working with the garbled fragments that have come down via Greek mythology plus some useful information in the fields of archaeoastronomy, dance ethnography, and comparative mythology. We found lots of deities, but they didn't shake out into a human-style family tree the way so many other European pantheons did.

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The Perils of Writing about Spirituality

I'm so very glad we have the internet as a venue for sharing about spirituality - the community grows as the web widens. But there are some pitfalls and obstacles that limit the extent to which we can really communicate about spirituality online, or on any other platform that involves writing. I grapple with these issues almost every time I write a blog post here.

The nature of blogging, or writing articles for Pagan magazines, or posting in spiritual groups on social media, or even writing books is that of words: we write down what we want to share, and other people read it.

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Labrys & Horns: A second go-round

At the beginning of this year I looked back over 2019 in Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP), musing about how far we've come over such a short time. Writing that post, of course, led me to look back over the years before that, and some things I need to update.

I started Ariadne's Tribe in 2014 because I was looking for other people who were interested in Minoan spirituality. By late 2015, to my utter astonishment, we had a sizable number of members, a pantheon, a sacred calendar, and a set of common practices. At that point, people started asking me to write it all down in a book so they would have a single resource to draw from.

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Deeper Into the Labyrinth: Exploring Modern Minoan Paganism

Back in 2015, I responded to a request from some members of Ariadne's Tribe by creating an online course in Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP). Thus, Into the Labyrinth was born. The course wends its way through the basics of the MMP sacred calendar. I've taught it every year since then, and even though I wrote the course, I learn something new every time I teach it - that's one of the perks of being a teacher whose students are really interested in the subject.

As soon as that first class was over, those students asked for a second course that delves deeper into some of the deities and practices of MMP. So I dug into our pantheon and our calendar and created Deeper Into the Labyrinth. And once again, I discovered that my students often had as much to teach me as the other way around.

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Red and White: The clues in the colors of Minoan art

For a long time, I wondered what on Earth possessed the Minoans to paint women as white (not Caucasian-toned, but the color of a sheet of paper) and men as dark-dark red. After all, DNA evidence shows that, like their ancestors in Neolithic Anatolia, the Minoans all had skin in various shades of brown. So why the weirdness in the art, like the Bull Leaper fresco above?

Then I began to learn about Mediterranean folk dance. Dance ethnography isn't a subject I ever really thought about before, to be honest. Then a talented dance ethnographer began to share her insights with us, and a lot of things began to make sense. (Check out her book The Ancient and Martial Dances for some fascinating info.)

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My copy of "The Ancient & Martial Dances" arrived in the mail today. It looks intriguing. Thank you for mentioning it.

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Modern Minoan Paganism: Looking back at 2019

2019 was a busy year for Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP). We had our first public ritual, put on by the talented folks of Puget Sound Minoan Pagans at a park in their local area. We made our first official appearance at a Pagan conference, the very awesome Mystic South (we'll be there again this year, hopefully putting on a ritual as well as a workshop). We drew up By-Laws, installed a Board of Directors, and began officially accepting members and chapters (the Puget Sound Minoan Pagans are our first official chapter!). We've topped 1400 members in our Facebook group, which is the official public forum of MMP, and we're still growing.

So yeah, busy year. I expect 2020 isn't going to let us slow down much, either. When I started the Facebook group back in 2014, I was just looking for other folks who shared an interest in Minoan religion and culture. I had no idea we were going to end up with a practicing Pagan tradition. But here we are, and I thank the Mothers every day that I'm surrounded by so many marvelous people whose enthusiasm and skill has helped us move forward in a way that (I hope) serves our members and respects the gods and goddesses with whom we have a formal relationship.

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