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?

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Minos the Ever-Mysterious

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Some time ago I wrote about the possibility that Minos, who is a god and not a mythical king, is a Moon god. It turns out, that's only one of his many fascinating aspects.

There's precious little about him in the garbled fragments of Minoan myth that survived into classical times. The stories mostly talk about him being a king, and a horrid one at that. But the tidbits of information that led us to view him as a Moon god also point to his connection with the Minoan sacred calendar. More on both of those aspects shortly.

But first... where does Minos fit in the MMP pantheon? He is, among other things, a Moon god, which puts him in good company with our Sun goddess Therasia. The oldest layers of Eurasian myth include a Sun-Mother goddess and her son, the Moon god.* We see remnants of this setup in, for instance, the Norse pantheon with the goddess Sunna and the god Mani.

If Minos is Therasia's son, that connects him with the other Sons: Tauros Asterion, Korydallos, and Dionysus. Given his characteristics in myth, we've chosen to consider him as the Elder God aspect of the Son, with the three I named in the previous sentence being faces of the Younger God aspect. Bear in mind that putting the Minoan deities into a human-style family tree is a dicey affair, done largely for our comfort in being able to organize them in our minds. Really, the relationships among the various deities are complex and look far more like a carnival fun house full of mirrors than a family tree.

Still, we consider him the Elder Son... and actually, we think there are three faces of Minos, as suggested by the fact that, in myth, he is always one of three brothers, though the other brothers' names vary from one story to another. We still aren't sure what those other two names might be, so we're sticking with Minos for now. We know that's one of his oldest names because it's recorded in The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Our experience with Minos has led us to characterize him as an Underworld god. Unlike Dionysus and Korydallos, who serve as psychopomps, traveling to and from the Underworld to aid the souls of the dead, Minos appears to dwell permanently in the Underworld. Shared gnosis suggests that he has his own section of the Underworld where he serves as a sort of "anchor" for various types of healing and divination work. We have found that mirrors (of silver metal, glass, or water) can be used as a gateway to his portion of the Underworld to contact him for various kinds of sacred work.

Interestingly, in addition to his status as a Moon god, we find Minos is also connected with the planets and the stars. The bit about him giving "the laws" to the Greeks is probably a garbled version of his old mythos connected with the calendar, since by classical times the movements of the celestial objects were thought to create humans' fates. Our experience with the Minoan deities leads us to believe that in the Bronze Age there was a less fatalistic view, that the movements of the celestial objects created "doorways" that humans could use for various kinds of sacred work.

The number eight (nine in inclusive counting, as recorded in the myths) connects Minos with the calendar and hence with the octataeris, the calendar cycle involving eight solar years, five Venus cycles, and 99 lunations, all of which overlap and take up the same length of time. We've taken to calling this sacred calendar the Minos cycle, and the first year of it (the ninth year, using inclusive counting) a Minos year.

We're still working on his symbology - where we can find him in Minoan art - and I'll share that with you once we've figured it out. But I can tell you that stars as well as the Moon are ways to connect with him. That suggests that, in addition to being Therasia's son, he is related to Ourania in some way as well.

As you might expect, his "time of day" is darkest night, the best time to call to him, though in a pinch he's usually agreeable most times except high noon. He prefers offerings of plain water, preferably in a dark bowl or cup. And he tends to like direct, honest, straightforward connection without too much pomp or ceremony.

Minos is a powerful ally for divination. He's especially good at helping your divination work with a pendulum made of dark stone or scrying in a dark bowl full of clear water. Just be aware that he doesn't sugar-coat things, so if you get a clear message from him, it's liable to be an ungentle one. He's not being judgmental, despite what the classical-era tales might say about him judging the dead. If you feel his message for you or his presence is judging you, it's likely there's something you're not being honest with yourself about. Facing that truth is sacred work that he can help you with.

In the name of the bee,
And of the butterfly,
And of the breeze, amen.


*Check out Patricia Monaghan's awesome book O Mother Sun! for an extensive survey and analysis of Sun goddesses worldwide.

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She is the founder and Temple Mom of Modern Minoan Paganism. 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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