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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Minoan
Two Blades: Minoan ritual labryses and practical tools

The labrys is one of the most iconic symbols of Minoan civilization. The two-bladed axe shape evokes ideas ranging from bloody human sacrifice to butterflies in a spiritual garden. I have my own ideas about what the labrys means to me, and may have meant to the Minoans as well.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that a lot of people use the term "double axe" to refer to these artifacts, conflating them with practical tools. But they're not the same thing.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Weight is an important part of a useful ax, not just for strength. A ceremonial ax would not need weight. I have never seen a bu
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
Dining with the Ancestors: A Modern Minoan Rite

We're approaching Samhain here in the northern hemisphere, so my thoughts naturally turn toward the Ancestors. The Minoans didn't celebrate Samhain - it's a Celtic festival from a time many centuries after the fall of Minoan civilization and a place a great distance away from Crete. But the Minoans did honor the Ancestors and the spirits of the dead. In fact, as far as we can tell, that's something all ancient cultures did in one way or another.

The Minoans appear to have performed dining rites, something along the lines of a Dumb Supper, a meal where the spirits of the dead are invited as honored guests. The image at the top of this blog post is a fascinating terracotta model from the Minoan tholos tomb at Kamilari. It depicts four people in a dining shrine, seated with little tables in front of them. Two of the tables hold what appear to be loaves of bread. In front of the tables, two human-like figures are rising up out of the floor: the spirits of the dead.

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Walking the Labyrinth in Modern Minoan Paganism

The labyrinth. Everyone has heard of it. It's one of the first things people think of when I mention that my spiritual practice has a Minoan focus. They might think of the beautiful labyrinth set into the floor at Chartres cathedral, or the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, or modern projects like the Pulse Memorial in Orlando, Florida (USA).

It's interesting, then, that no one has ever found an actual labyrinth at a Minoan site. There are lots of almost-but-not-quite-labyrinth meander patterns in Minoan art. And the labyrinth does show up on Cretan coins, but not until many centuries after Minoan civilization was gone.

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I don't like changing my mind: an essay in the evolution of Modern Minoan Paganism

One thing any researcher knows is that new information is liable to blow old theories to smithereens. The same holds true for Modern Minoan Paganism, an evolving path that incorporates not just archaeological information but also shared gnosis as we work our way forward in spiritual practice.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't like having to change my views. Once I think I have something figured out, it's very pleasant to just hang there, in that space, all smug and satisfied. But I've learned the hard way that nothing is that easy, not just in archaeology, but also in spirituality.

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Racism Rears Its Ugly Head Again

The young woman in that figurine isn't doing a facepalm (it's an ecstatic posture) but it was the closest I could come in Minoan art. "Facepalm" is pretty much my mood right now because I've just had to boot yet another round of racists out of my Modern Minoan Paganism discussion group Ariadne's Tribe

Unless you've been on an extreme media fast lately, you're probably aware that there are a lot of right-wing racist (plus other prejudices) type people out there right now, spouting their hateful propaganda and doing their best to convince others to join them. Unfortunately, many of these people have infiltrated Pagan groups in order to expand their recruiting. We hear a lot about this happening with Norse Pagan groups, but it's also happening in Hellenismos and now, Minoan Paganism as well.

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Modern Minoan Paganism: Reviving ancient spirituality

I've been in relationship with the Minoan gods and goddesses since I was a teenager, but it was only a few years ago that Modern Minoan Paganism began to take shape as a specific spiritual path. I've been walking that path with the lovely folks in Ariadne's Tribe, and together we're creating a tradition that works for us as Pagans in the modern world. The hardest part, believe it or not, is explaining what we do to other people.

The name Modern Minoan Paganism gives you a pretty good idea from the start: We're combining the bits and pieces we know about ancient Minoan religion and culture in a modern Pagan context. We can't really reconstruct ancient Minoan religious practice in detail. There are too many gaps in our knowledge, we don't live in the same kind of culture the Minoans did, and we probably don't want to go back to sacrificing bulls and goats (and possibly people) anyway.

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