Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, loving goddess of ancient Crete who lives on in the hearts and minds of the modern world. Modern Minoan Paganism is not a purely 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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Posidajea: The Minoans' Grandmother Ocean

If you live on an island, even a big one like Crete, the ocean is a constant presence. And if you spend a lot of time in boats and ships, like the Minoans did when they went fishing or traveled across the waves to trade, the ocean becomes a powerful focus for your safety and livelihood. So it's no surprise that the Minoans had a goddess of the sea, the sacred embodiment of the womb-ocean that their island rises up out of. Her name is Posidaeja.

Posidaeja's name shows up in the Linear B tablets, which record the Mycenaean Greek language. We don't know for sure that Posidaeja is what the Minoans called her, but when we use the name, she answers, so at the very least she's agreeable to it. Many of us who practice Modern Minoan Paganism simply call her Grandmother Ocean.

I often address her as Thalassa, which simply means "ocean." To the Greeks, Thalassa was the primordial ocean goddess - she wasn't the goddess of the ocean, but she actually was the ocean itself. Interestingly, the word thalassa may be pre-Greek so it's possible that it was an actual Minoan epithet for Posidaeja.

Posidaeja is one of the the Three Mothers, the Minoan goddesses of land, sea, and sky - the embodiment of the sacred within the material world. Grandmother Ocean rules the tides, the currents and eddies and motion of water on Earth, and maybe in our bodies as well, since our tissues and bloodstreams are also full of salt water.

She is the World Ocean that encircles the globe, and not just the Mediterranean where the Minoans made their home. I've happily connected with her in the Atlantic, on the eastern coast of North America, and I suspect it's possible to reach her on any seashore anywhere, as well as out on the open ocean itself.

To me, Posidaeja is very ancient and wise. I often see her as a sea turtle, swimming slowly in the depths, blinking her kind, dark eyes at me. The fact that all life on Earth came from the oceans tells me how old she is, and how she rules not just the ocean waves but also the strands of DNA that swirl and turn and float in the fluid of our cells. The threads of our ancestry wind backwards from the land to the sea. Posidaeja is the ultimate womb of every living thing on Earth.

Hail Grandmother Ocean!

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 particular 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, I enjoy gardening and giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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