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?

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Modern Minoan Paganism: a logo for Ariadne's Tribe

It has taken us a while, but we finally came up with a logo for Modern Minoan Paganism. Until we started tossing ideas around, I had no idea it was going to be such a tricky issue.

There are lots of symbols that people associate with the Minoans. Perhaps the most famous is the labrys - the double-bladed ax that was used not to sacrifice animals (it appears they used swords and daggers for that) but as a sacred symbol with many layers of meaning.

The thing is, some other groups already use the labrys as their symbol, so the general public associates it with Dianic and lesbian organizations. That's not who we are. Here's our official statement on the matter:

Ariadne's Tribe is a welcoming group and Modern Minoan Paganism is a welcoming path, happily open to people of any race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability level, disability, geographic location, language, education, or socio-economic status. We're all in this together.

We went through a series of possibilities, discarding most of them along the way. We didn't want a goddess image because again, people associate the Minoan goddesses (the Snake Goddess, for instance) with exclusive women's groups and that's not who we are. We're not a men-only tradition, either, so out went all the bull and horn symbols.

It took us a while, but we finally settled on the Malia bee pendant as our symbol:

Malia Bee Pendant

(Creative Commons "Bees of Malia" by Wolfgang Sauber is licensed under CC BY 3.0)

This gold pendant, with its amazing granulation and detail, was found in a Minoan cemetery at Malia on Crete. It dates to around 1800 BCE. And it's full of meaningful symbolism:

Bees represent the Melissae, the ancestral bee goddesses who guard the spirits of the dead and gift the living with all the sweet things in life (Ariadne is the Queen Bee, the ultimate guardian of the dead). Bees are social insects and we're a community, relying on each other for spiritual support. The three disks that hang below the bees represent the Threes that are important to us in Modern Minoan Paganism: the three realms of land, sea, and sky and the Three Mothers - Rhea, Posidaeja, and Therasia, the mother goddesses who represent those realms.

So now we have a recognizable symbol. Choosing it was a difficult process, but I'm happy with the result. Next up on my to-do list: find a nice reproduction copy of the Malia bee pendant to wear as sacred jewelry.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.

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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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