Ariadne's Tribe: Minoan Spirituality for the Modern World

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan family of deities. Ariadne's Tribe is an independent spiritual tradition that brings the deities 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 Ariadne's Tribe at We're an inclusive, welcoming tradition, open to all who share our love for the Minoan deities and respect for our fellow human beings.

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Adventures in Minoan Revivalist Spirituality

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Ariadne's Tribe is something of a hybrid, combining reconstructionist methods (to the extent that we can) with a lot of do-it-yourself: shared personal gnosis, spirit journeying, psychic archaeology.

We're not trying to reconstruct the exact religious practices of the ancient Minoans because, to be honest, we really can't. And there are all sorts of obstacles in our way, even if we did want to rebuild "the real thing."

We can't read the Linear A script that the Minoans used to write their own language. Yes, someone or other comes out with a supposed "translation" every few years, but they're always wrong; any well-trained linguist will tell you that we simply don't have enough text to do a proper decipherment.

There are a few things we can tell about the script, but we can't actually read it, so we don't have any Minoan texts to go by.

We do have a lot of evidence, from tiny cups to multi-acre buildings, that has survived the millennia since Minoan times. Between the artifacts and the remains of temples, tombs, and homes, we have a pretty good idea how the Minoans lived, worked, ate, and played. Thanks to residue sampling, we even know how they cooked! (I recommend you to Minoan Tastes for a bit of living history along those lines.)

Of course, there's always the danger that we'll accidentally use a forgery as the basis for our reconstruction. I've recently been reading archaeologist Alexander MacGillivray's excellent biography of Sir Arthur Evans, titled Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth. It turns out, some of the artists and diggers he hired to reconstruct the frescoes and other works of art at Knossos also ran a thriving business in Minoan forgeries.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised - ancient Roman artists made fake Greek artifacts for unsuspecting buyers back in their era, and the antiquities market is still packed with fakes of all sorts even now. It's nothing new. But it gets to be a problem for developing a modern spiritual practice when we can't tell what's really from Crete four thousand years ago and what some talented but ethically-challenged artist created in their workshop just a few years ago.

For instance, the work of art at the top of this post is my modern art rendition of a gold seal ring found at the Isopata tomb near Knossos. It's a genuine Minoan artifact with documented provenance (and a really pretty piece of highly-skilled metalsmithing):

Isopata gold seal ring


But there are two other famous rings that were probably forged by Émile Gilliéron and his son, the talented artists who helped reconstruct much of the Minoan art that we're familiar with today. The so-called Archanes ring, which conveniently supported some of Evans' theories about bull-leaping, is one of them:


Archanes Minoan gold seal ring


The other is the Ring of Nestor, which handily reinforced Evans' view about tree-and-pillar worship in Minoan Crete:


Ring of Nestor


Then there are all the chryselephantine (ivory-and-gold) figurines that were made in workshops in Knossos during the early 20th century and exported to museums and private collections everywhere. Like this one:


Fake Minoan goddess


So we can't even trust the artifacts in museums to tell us how the Minoans really did their thing. And that's not even counting the issue of genuine artifacts being labeled "ritual objects" by anthropologists who wouldn't know a Pagan religious practice if it bit them... well, you see what I mean.

And then there are the practices we don't want to revive, like human and animal sacrifice. And the things we can't replicate - I certainly can't afford to build a two-acre temple complex, and I don't have quite enough local Minoan-y friends to put on a full-blown Mystery play for a large public audience.

What we're left with looks a lot like what the ordinary Minoans probably did in their own homes, at their private shrines and altars. Personal devotion, offerings and libations, maybe the occasional small ritual with a few friends (some of the larger Minoan homes have what look like pretty good-sized shrine rooms).

In a sense, we're both the clergy and the congregation, all at the same time. Our modern society isn't organized the same way as Minoan Crete, but we do still have some things in common. It's those commonalities that build the ground for our modern spiritual practice. And if we listen, really listen, to the deities as we do our thing, they'll guide us along the way.

We're not reconstructing ancient Minoan religion, exactly. You might say we're walking along the same path but in our own way, in modern clothes, with the deities of ancient Crete beside us.

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She's the founder and Temple Mom of Ariadne's Tribe, an inclusive Minoan spiritual tradition. 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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