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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The Minoan Sun Goddess: Therasia is with us!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Over in Ariadne's Tribe, we've been chasing the Minoan Sun* Goddess for some time now. It has long been a given that there is a Minoan Sun Goddess; Nanno Marinatos even wrote a book that's largely about her, without being able to properly identify her (and clinging far too heavily to some of Sir Arthur Evans' discredited ideas, but that's a rant for another day).

Several of us have had dreams and visions of the Minoan Sun Goddess, and folk dance from around the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean enshrines a regional Sun Goddess even today.

So who is she? What are her symbols? How can we connect with her?

In Ariadne's Tribe we call her Therasia (pronounced teh-RAH-see-yah); she is the goddess whose throne so famously sits in a room just off the central courtyard in the Knossos temple complex. If you look closely at the front of that throne, you'll see the sun rising over the double-peaked sacred mountain, Mt. Juktas. But there are far more clues than just the carving on the front of the throne.

Throughout the Mediterranean, the palm tree and the griffin are symbols of an ancient Sun Goddess. And what flanks that throne? Palm trees and griffins.

(Please note that when the wall surrounding the throne was reconstructed, the artists inexplicably erased the palm trees and inserted lilies instead, so that's what you see in most photos of the Throne Room. The photo above, from an exhibit at the Ashmolean Museum, shows how the palm trees originally flanked the seat, between the throne and the griffins.)

Some time back, when I was feeling particularly frustrated in my search for the Minoan Sun Goddess, I had a dream in which I was standing on top of a ziggurat in Mesopotamia. The goddess Inanna was standing beside me, pointing west across the land and the sea, to Crete.

"The date is the Day Sun," she said to me, "and the pomegranate is the Night Sun." So I began following the threads, particularly of the Cretan date palm. Then the lovely folks in Ariadne's Tribe started chiming in with their own research and numinous experiences, and together we found our way to Therasia.

Here's what we have so far, though the threads are a bit tangled after all these millennia: Therasia is the Sun Goddess whose mythos originally involved her self-rebirth every year at the Winter Solstice. Later on, Dionysus was co-opted as a solar year king and Rhea's son, who is born every year at Midwinter. Like ancient Egyptian religion, Minoan religion added layer upon layer as time went on, so both of these stories probably existed side by side in ancient Crete. We've chosen to honor both of them in the Tribe.

But back to our Sun Goddess.

Her symbols are the date palm and the fruit of that tree; the griffin, perhaps the fieriest of the mythical creatures in Minoan art; the color red, including the famed blood-red murex dye that later became known as Phoenician purple; saffron, the stigmas and styles of the saffron crocus that are deep red but that dye a sunny yellow; and of course, the Sun rising over the sacred peaks of Crete. She rides through the Underworld (the land of pomegranates) at night, from her place of setting in the west to her place of rising in the east, though her Underworld face goes by another name.

Therasia is one of the Minoan Mothers, the goddess triplicity of Land/Sky/Sea.

For some time, we struggled with this set of goddesses, putting Ourania (the Minoan cosmic/stellar goddess) in the place of Sky. But that always seemed a bit awkward; Ourania is beyond the sky, beyond our Earth-bound realm, wider than the solar system or even the galaxy.

Therasia now takes her rightful place as Sky within the triplicity, alongside Rhea as Earth and Posidaeja as Sea.

I invite you to approach Therasia, meditate with her, celebrate her with music, invite her into your rituals, and get to know her.

May she shine brightly on your life and all your endeavors.


*The smart folks at NASA tell us that we should capitalize the names of our Earth, Sun, and Moon the same way we capitalize the names of other planets (Jupiter, Neptune), stars (Aldebaran, Sirius), and planetary moons (Io, Europa). I think it’s only right that we show as much respect for our Earth, Sun, and Moon as we do the other celestial objects.

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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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