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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Crete

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Minoan Sun Goddess: Hail Therasia!

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' ideas, in my opinion, 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?

We believe her name is Therasia, and 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 summit of Mt. Juktas. But there are far more clues than just the carving on the front of the throne.

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Minotaur: A book review of a Sir Arthur Evans biography

Sir Arthur Evans is the name most closely associated with the rediscovery of ancient Minoan civilization. Though local Cretan archaeologist Minos Kalokairinos discovered the site of Knossos and did some preliminary digging there, it's Evans who undertook a large-scale, systematic excavation of the largest of the Minoan cities with its enormous temple complex and who introduced the ancient Minoans into the modern world. Joseph Alexander MacGillivray is another archaeologist whose focus is on Minoan civilization, and he has written a fascinating biography of Evans, titled Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth.

First, let me point out that this book is a biography of Evans, not a retelling of the Minotaur myth. I've seen a few reviews from people who weren't able to suss out that fact (seriously, did you read the back cover or the online description?) and were disappointed when they read the book. It helps to pay attention before buying a book so you know what you're getting. What you're getting, in this case, is an amazingly detailed biography of a fascinating, complex, contradictory man who made quite a place for himself in history.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Minoan by Any Other Name

If the ancient Minoans were such successful traders with so many other cultures, why don't we hear about them in the writings of those other cultures? Because in the ancient world, they weren't called Minoans.

The term "Minoans" is a 20th-century invention. Sir Arthur Evans, the British archaeologist who unearthed the temple complex at Knossos, had been chasing a set of myths for years: King Minos, the Labyrinth, Ariadne and the Minotaur. Like Heinrich Schliemann, who wanted to prove the truth of the tales in Homer's epic works by digging up the real city of Troy, Evans wanted to prove the historicity of the myths about ancient Crete.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    I really enjoyed this and look forward to learning more about the "Minoans". I love the way you combine mystery, historicity and i
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thank you! I try to make it clear where I'm speculating or working off gnosis (mine and/or that of others). But there's simply so
Minoan Seal Rings and their Mysterious Floating Objects

If you look at one of the amazingly detailed Minoan gold seal rings, you might see a tiny human figure hovering as if it's descending from the heavens. These are usually interpreted as a god or goddess coming down to their worshipers: an epiphany scene. But what about all the other strange shapes that float in the air on the seal rings?

Given the Minoans' focus (obsession, maybe) with astronomy, there's a strong possibility that those floating objects represent constellations. One clue is that they always show up in the same position relative to each other, no matter how many or few of them are on the ring.

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Reconstructing Minoan Art: Don't bet your religion on it

As we develop a spiritual practice in Modern Minoan Paganism, one of the sources we look to for inspiration is ancient Minoan art. After all, we have dozens of beautiful frescoes that tell us so much about the world of Bronze Age Crete. Or do they? It turns out, an awful lot of what we think we know is guesswork, often of the worst kind.

That beautiful image at the top of this post is the Prince of the Lilies fresco from Knossos. It's one of my favorite pieces of Minoan art. In fact, it's what inspired me to create The Minoan Tarot. Sir Arthur Evans pointed to it as evidence that there was, indeed, a king ruling at Knossos in Minoan times. But that picture up top is a reconstruction, an artist's rendering of what the original might have looked like, and many people consider it to be totally inaccurate. Let's have a look at the original as it's displayed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum:

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Teresa Byrne
    Teresa Byrne says #
    Thank you for this honest look at Minoan art. There is so much misinformation out there which is extremely frustrating.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan Cooking: A taste of the ancient world

One way we can connect with ancient cultures is by exploring their daily lives: how they cooked, dressed, worked, played, and so on. These are things we all do, things we in the modern world can relate to and that can help make ancient people more real to us. And this, in turn, can help us connect with their spirituality.

So how about the Minoans? Let's explore their food a little bit so we can get a taste (ahem) of what their life was like.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Starry Night: Minoan Astronomy

Like many other ancient cultures, the Minoans were accomplished astronomers. Their mythology, their artifacts, and their architecture reflect their fascination with the lights that moved through the night sky as well as the brightest sky-light of all, the Sun. As so many other societies around the world have done, they incorporated this astronomical knowledge into their mythology and thus their spiritual practice.

With the Great American Eclipse just a couple of days ago, I began thinking about the Minoans' ability to predict eclipses. There is some contention that this stone die found near Palaikastro is an eclipse calculator:

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