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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Minoan
A Modern Minoan Pagan Author: Why I do what I do

A lot of people ask me how I got into Modern Minoan Paganism and why I'm inspired to write the books and create the art that goes along with that spiritual path. If I'm honest, the Minoan gods and goddesses have been stalking me since I was a teenager and it just took me a while to pick up on their intent - sometimes I'm slow that way. But once I finally got started, all enthusiastic and rarin' to go, I hit a roadblock: There were virtually no resources out there.

Bear in mind, I'm old enough that when I first started researching the Minoans, I had to resort to actual ink-and-paper encyclopedias and history books. And none of those ever had more than a paragraph or two about the Minoans, usually as a sort of side note before the text started talking about the Greeks.

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Is Modern Minoan Paganism true for its time?

Joseph Campbell said that all religions are true for their time. Of course, the religion the ancient Minoans practiced had meaning and value in Bronze Age Crete. But what about the spiritual path we're creating with Modern Minoan Paganism? How can we be sure it's true for our time?

First, I should point out that we're not trying to reconstruct ancient Minoan religion - really, we couldn't do a proper reconstruction even if we wanted to because we can't read what the Minoans wrote and we're missing a lot of the original mythology. And even if we did manage to reconstruct it all, it probably wouldn't fit well in our modern world: We have a different lifestyle, value set, and worldview than the Minoans did, even if we're Pagans.

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“Some Day We'll Have Sacred Dances Again”

“Some day we'll have sacred dances again.”

When my friend Doc said this to me more than 20 years ago, his tone was wistful.

Today, decades later, though we may not quite be there yet, we're closer, closer, to the day that he foresaw.

 

In 1890, avant-garde French composer Eric Satie (1866-1925) published a mysterious, haunting piano piece that he titled Les Gnossiennes.

The word is Satie's own coinage. What he meant by it is unclear. At least some commentators have derived it from Knossos—in Latin, Gnossus—the First City of Minoan Crete. If so, it would mean either “the Knossian Women” or “the things (fem.) of Knossos.”

American dancer-choreographer Ted Shawn (1891-1972) read a Minoan reference in the term. Accordingly, he choreographed a dance for solo male dancer to Satie's music that presented—in Shawn's own words—“a priest of ancient Crete going through a ritual at the altar of the Snake Goddess.”

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Summer Solstice: Celebrating Modern Minoan Paganism

Here in the northern hemisphere, we're coming up to Summer Solstice, the height of the Sun's power over the yearly solar cycle, a time to celebrate the Minoan Sun goddess Therasia and the solar year-king Dionysus. In the Mediterranean, where the ancient Minoans lived on the island of Crete, this was (and still is) an incredibly hot, dry time of year - the Sun's power is overwhelming.

As modern Pagans, we have multiple options for what to focus on and how to celebrate this special point in the year. Most of us probably don't have the resources to put on a huge Midsummer mystery play the way the ancient Minoans probably did at their big temples. But we can celebrate with modern-style ritual that focuses on the Minoan deities who are associated with this time of year.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Minoan Goddess: Double? Triple?

The Maiden/Mother/Crone configuration of goddesses is popular in modern Paganism. It resonates with a lot of us, but there's no evidence the Minoans viewed their goddesses this way. In fact, the Maiden/Mother/Crone triplicity was invented by Robert Graves in the mid-20th century. Yes, it works, but it's not historically accurate so we shouldn't apply it to the Minoans. If you're interested in Graves' process and teasing out which of his ideas are historic and which are purely poetic, I recommend Mark Carter's excellent book Stalking the Goddess.

But back to the Minoans.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Music among the Minoans

Like every culture, the Minoans had their music. We can see that in their art and artifacts. The image at the top of this post is of a group of terracotta figurines from Palaikastro. There are three women holding hands and dancing in a semicircle around a fourth woman who is playing the lyre. We don't know what the occasion was here: a celebration? A ritual? One of the famous harvest dances on a circular threshing floor? (There was a circular piece found with these figurines that might have been a model threshing floor.)

It could even have been a funeral; there's a lyre-player on the "death" side of the Hagia Triada sarcophagus.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Minoan Paganism: A How-To

When I first discovered the Pagan community, I never dreamed I'd end up as the facilitator for a new spiritual path, but here we are. Modern Minoan Paganism is a thing and a lot of us are doing it. So what, exactly, are we doing?

Like many Pagan traditions, there are no rules about what you must believe. Some of us are hard polytheists; some of us approach the Minoan deities from a psychological or symbolic perspective. All that really matters is that the connection works, however you make it. The central focus is the Minoan pantheon, the gods and goddesses of ancient Crete who are still very much alive today.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "Gods of the Runes" by Frank Joseph the author claims that each rune of the elder Futhark represents one of the Norse gods. Ha
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Linear B is not actually the Minoan alphabet. It's an adaptation of Linear A, which was the Minoan syllabary, used to write Mycena
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Yeah, 80 does sound like a bit much unless your talking about every mountain, river and island getting it's own deity. Have fun w
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Archaeologists continue to discover new Minoan sites all the time; there's some speculation that Crete was more heavily populated

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