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?

Find out all about Modern Minoan Paganism on our website: https://ariadnestribe.wordpress.com/. We're a 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 MMP Pantheon: Tauros Asterion

This is one in a series about the MMP pantheon. Find the other posts here.

Today, we're focusing on Tauros Asterion. He's one of three gods who are sons of our mother goddesses. As you might guess from his name, he has both earthly and cosmic aspects. In MMP, we consider the Minotaur and Zagreus to be two of his faces. But for now we're focusing specifically on Tauros Asterion, whom we consider to be the son of our Earth Mother goddess Rhea as well as having a connection with our cosmic mother goddess Ourania.

As I've mentioned before, the Minoan pantheon doesn't parse out neatly into a human-style family tree. Most of the time, it looks more like a carnival fun house full of mirrors. But still, we do view some of the deities as being mothers or offspring. That helps us, as humans, get something of a handle on the more-than-human beings with whom we have a sacred relationship.

As Tauros Asterion's name tells us, the bull is one of his major symbols, and bulls abound in Minoan art. Take, for instance, the famous Bull Leaper fresco that's pictured at the top of this post. We don't know for sure which deity or deities the bull leaping honored in ancient Crete, but Tauros Asterion is our bull god, so in MMP we see him in images like this fresco.

We also see him in beautiful works of art like this carved stone rhyton from the so-called Little Palace at Knossos:

Minoan carved stone bull rhyton

Image CC BY 1.0 (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Now, bear in mind that we have cow goddesses as well as bull gods in the Minoan pantheon. Make sure you can tell the difference between a bull and a cow when you're looking at the art. This lovely ceramic rhyton from Pseira is definitely a bull:

Minoan bull rhyton

Image CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

So is this one, a 3-D fresco of a running bull from the north portico of the Knossos temple complex:

Knossos north portico with fresco of bull

Image CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I'll get to some more specific types of bull (or bull-and-human) images when we talk about the Minotaur and Zagreus. But when you see a bull just being a bull in Minoan art, you can think of Tauros Asterion.

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

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Laura Perry is an artist, writer, and the founder and facilitator of Modern Minoan Paganism. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a passion of hers since a fateful art history class introduced her to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. Her first book was published in 2001; one of her most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. She has also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. 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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