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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Crete

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Inspiration = Minoan Confusion

Minoan art is a constant inspiration: the colorful frescoes with people in naturalistic poses, an emphasis on the beauty of nature... but a lot of the "Minoan art" that circulates online is not Minoan at all, and definitely not ancient, even if it's inspired by the ancient originals.

Take the lovely image at the top of this post. It's a modern work that's a combination of this fresco from Akrotiri, ca. 1625 BCE:

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The Minoan Menagerie Part 1: Animals of the Land

Minoan art is inspiring, full of movement and color. Minoan artists depicted the natural world just as often as they showed sacred or ritual scenes. And the art is full of animals, usually depicted with enough accuracy that we can identify the exact species. While some animals in Minoan art are associated with specific deities and act as part of their iconography, others have no sacred associations that we're aware of (yet). So here, we're just going to look at the animals themselves, without referencing the iconography. The art is inspiring enough as it is, if you ask me.

I'm going to organize our exploration of Minoan animals based on the threefold division of land, sea, and sky that prevails in Modern Minoan Paganism and that we think was important to the ancient Minoans. The three realms correspond to our three mother goddesses; the land is the domain of our Earth Mother goddess Rhea.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan goddesses: Who is Potnia?

We don't know for certain what the Minoans called their gods and goddesses since we can't read Linear A, the script they used to write their native language. But we can read Linear B, which is an adaptation of Linear A that was used to write Mycenaean Greek way back in late Minoan times. And one of the most common goddess epithets in the Linear B tablets is Potnia.

So who is she? She is many goddesses. Let me explain why.

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Myth-information: Minoan facts, rumors, and wild tales

The Internet is a great source of information, but it turns out that it's also a repository of out-of-date and incorrect ideas that keep getting passed around again and again simply because they're floating around in cyberspace. Believe it or not, the Minoans are the subject of quite a few of these bits of misinformation.

In the interest of efficiency, here's the list of Minoan-related concepts that I find myself having to explain most often. Don't panic; I believed many of them myself at one time. But it's a good idea to set the record straight. Plus, this way I have a link to point people to instead of having to constantly repeat myself. :-)

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The Blessing of the Waters: Building Modern Minoan Paganism

Since the Minoans aren't around anymore and we can't read the things they wrote (Linear A has not been deciphered), we have to build our practice of Modern Minoan Paganism based on whatever kind of inspiration we can find.

It turns out, there are still remnants of ancient rites that cling to life in the folk practices of Crete and other parts of Europe in this Christian era. You probably already knew this: the Christian church took over Pagan practices and renamed them, like the Irish goddess Brigit becoming a Christian saint.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Alethea Leondakis
    Alethea Leondakis says #
    I only discovered this yesterday, but I believe in 2015 or 2016, the Phaistos discus was decoded. Here is a link where it is read
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm given to understand that in Venice there's a Great Blessing of the Waters to mark the beginning of sailing season; if Minoan C
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    That would be a separate rite and would involve Posidaeja, the Minoan sea goddess, rather than the spirits of local streams and la

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Minoan Paganism: no rules to break

A while back, I wrote a blog post about how there isn't really a rule book in Modern Minoan Paganism in terms of how people have to practice their spirituality. Unlike some named traditions, Modern Minoan Paganism is more a wide pathway than a strict method.

Yes, we have our pantheon full of all kinds of deities, and we do interpret them in specific ways. And we have our preferred activities and focal points: altarslabyrinth walking, offerings and libations, even ecstatic body postures. These are things we all share, though not everyone gets into everything equally.

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Cultural Exchange in the Minoan World: Egypt and Others

Today, it's not at all uncommon to see people in New York wearing fashions from Paris, or kids in California watching Japanese anime TV shows (and kids in Japan watching American TV shows). It's called cultural exchange, and it has always happened, as long as people have traveled and traded and interacted with each other.

The way ancient cultures are presented in the history books often makes them sound as if they were completely separate from each other, sealed away in some sort of etheric ziptop bag, as if the borders of the various empires and cultures were non-permeable. But that's far from the case. During the Bronze Age - the time when the Minoans were being all Minoan-y - the whole eastern Mediterranean was one great big cultural exchange area, with people trading objects, ideas, styles, and fashions from one spot to another as fast as the ships could ply the seas.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    What are your thoughts on 'cultural appropriation'? I've been hearing that a lot lately.
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Cultural appropriation is an issue with living cultures, such as Native Americans, and it's a very real problem that I wish more p

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