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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Minoan

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan Epiphany: Come on Down!

Have the gods ever appeared to you? If the artwork is any indication, they seem to have put in a few appearances to the Minoans of ancient Crete. The image at the top of this blog is of the Isopata ring, a gold seal ring from a Minoan-era tomb near Knossos. The scene shows four women, presumably priestesses, dancing ecstatically in a field of lilies. Interesting stuff floats around their heads: snake-like serpentine lines, a beehive, and... a small female figure. She is dressed like the other women, in a flounced skirt, but she's tiny; her hair and skirt are flying out as if she is moving quickly through the air. She is, perhaps, a goddess who has been invoked in this ritual.

The interesting thing is, figures like her show up on several other seal rings, as does a small floating male figure who holds a spear. And all the artwork depicts ritual settings, so I think the identification of these floating figures as deities is a pretty sound one. For instance, this ring from the Minoan port city of Amnisos has a floating goddess hovering over a boat full of people and being greeted by more people to the left:

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Archaeological Dating: A thorny issue, even for the Minoans

I've been a big fan of archaeology ever since I discovered the ancient Egyptians back in grade school. Indiana Jones aside, I think it's absolutely fascinating that we can dig up the remains of civilizations from centuries ago, put the pieces back together (mostly) and get a glimpse into those long-ago lives.

Ah, but there's the big question: Exactly how long ago did it all happen?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan Ecstasy: Filling the empty spaces

What's missing in modern life (and most modern western religion) that sends people in search of everything from Peruvian ayahuasca rituals to Native American sweatlodges and peyote ceremonies? Ecstasy.

No, I don't mean the street drug, but the state of consciousness that takes us out of the ordinary and transports us closer to the numinous, the divine. A while back I wrote about how most of the modern world is ecstasy deprived. We're so steeped in the post-Enlightenment materialist mindset that we forget to look beyond the physical to see what else is around us. We also forget that each of us is more than just physical, that we have amazing abilities to transcend our "daily grind" state of consciousness.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Years ago I took my mother to a Maundy Thursday service at her church. I could feel the energy rising and I looked forward to a m
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    That kind of experience is all too common, especially among the Protestant traditions, where 'a bunch of people sitting around in

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan Coming of Age: The Akrotiri Frescoes

One of the ways we can figure out how the ancient Minoans practiced their religion is by looking at their art. Much of their art - frescoes, seal stones and rings, carved vases - contains ritual scenes that give us a glimpse into their spiritual life. And some of the most famous frescoes are from the Minoan town of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini (it was called Thera in the ancient world).

One of the buildings in Akrotiri, called Xeste 3, appears to have been a ritual building where puberty rites were held for girls and boys. How do we know that's what happened there? The frescoes show us!

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thank you! I'm doing my best to bring the world of the ancient Minoans to life for modern people. :-)
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Fascinating. I really enjoyed this piece.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Sacral Scarf: Minoan Symbolism

A while back, I shared some information about some snake-like sacred knots in Minoan art that may or may not have anything to do with the tet knot associated with Isis in Egyptian symbology. There's another "sacred knot" found in Minoan art that's very different, made from a length of fabric that's loosely looped and knotted. Scholars often lump it in with the other sacred knots, but it's not the same. Those of us who practice Modern Minoan Paganism have taken to calling this object the sacral scarf to differentiate it from the knots made of cord or rope.

Some time ago I offered a few thoughts about the sacral scarf. Since then several of us in Ariadne's Tribe have worked with the sacral scarf and have come up with some ideas about what it represents and how we can use it in ritual to connect with the divine. First of all, from the artwork we can clearly see that this is a length of woven fabric, fringed on the ends and knotted with a loop:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Book Review: Lost Goddesses of Early Greece

Over in Ariadne's Tribe we have a list of recommended books about Minoan spirituality and related topics. One of the books from that list that I find myself pointing out frequently to anyone who is interested in Modern Minoan Paganism and/or goddess spirituality (besides my own books, of course) is Charlene Spretnak's classic work Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths. Originally published in 1978, this amazing little volume is still in print, and with good reason.

Ms. Spretnak addresses herself to nine goddesses, eleven if you count the Moon Triad as three separate ones: Gaia, Pandora, Themis, Aphrodite, the Moon Triad (Artemis, Selene, Hecate), Hera, Athena, Demeter, and Persephone. She offers some fascinating information about each one, detailing where they originated, what their early worship was probably like, and how the Hellenes and other later cultures "demoted" them from their original places of honor and power. It's both enlightening and a little sad to discover how these goddesses were purposely tarnished over time. But this book helps to polish them back to their original glow.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Minoan Paganism: Gathering together

As I've said repeatedly in interviews and in my books, Modern Minoan Paganism isn't a rules-and-regulations tradition but a broad pathway with room for many people to walk it, each in their own way.  That's great in terms of personal spirituality but not so great in terms of finding other people to practice with.

Pagans of all stripes are scattered far and wide in the modern world. Sure, there are larger clusters of us in metropolitan areas. But unless you follow one of the big traditions with standardized rules, regs, and rites (Wicca, Druidry, and various types of Norse Paganism, for instance) you may have a hard time finding others who want to do the same thing you're doing.

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