Figuring out ancient people's spiritual practices is hard. Even if we have written records that they've left us, they're not around any more to tell us how to interpret them. And in the case of the ancient Minoans, we can't read what they wrote, so all we have to go on is archaeological finds. And if those archaeological finds aren't genuine, then what we figure out about their spirituality may be wrong as well.
That beautiful ivory-and-gold snake goddess at the top of this post is probably a forgery. A century ago, when Sir Arthur Evans excavated the temple complex at Knossos, the world went "Minoan crazy." Museums clamored for items to display to bring in bigger and bigger crowds, and many unscrupulous folks were more than happy to oblige. This one's probably a forgery, too, based on carbon-14 dating:
Most of what we know about the ancient Minoans was literally dug up out of the dirt. We've uncovered temple complexes, villages, towns, and all the furniture, dishes, and other items you'd expect to find in people's homes, workshops, and places of worship. But there aren't any Minoans around any more who can tell us what all those things were used for, so the archaeologists have to make educated guesses based on where each particular object was found.
Over in Ariadne's Tribe (my discussion group about modern Minoan Paganism) we frequently post images of lovely Minoan pottery that appears to have been randomly described as a 'ritual object.' Then we consider the possibility that the item isn't really a ritual object, but the archaeologists didn't know what else to call it and 'ritual object' sounds impressive when you're writing an academic paper.
When I first started studying in the ADF Druidry Dedicants' Program over a decade ago (. . . sigh), the wording of the program was a little different at the time because it was the second draft. I was studying with my grove, Grove of the Other Gods and our senior druid was authorized to proctor the class with my cycle and she was able to bestow certification of class completion. I need to caveat here as I need to caveat everything when I talk about ADF: My grove was and is a chartered grove, we follow the few rules that we are required to follow. We use the liturgical ADF ritual outline. But I can just about guarantee that our take on 80% of ADF and how we do our rituals besides following the outline is going to be radically different from the rest of ADF. That said, we're also one of the largest groves in the US so it resonates with a lot of people from our tristate area at least. My grove is not very "high Episcopagan", there's not a lot of ritual robes, swords or thee'ing and thou'ing. If that's your bag, rock out! There's room for everyone at the Occultists, Witches and Pagans table in my opinion. Despite being raised Catholic, it's not something that really stuck for me personally but a lot of people find that level of ceremony very moving.
Midsummer's 2009, Pagan Spirit Gathering: Camp Zoe, Missouri. A bunch of us Old Style folks are camped at a fork in the road down by Rock Creek. Between our camp and the road are a couple of tall old lodge-pole cedars.
My friend Sirius sets up his stang between the two cedars. In Old Craft lore, the stang is Old Hornie's preeminent symbol. It can take a number of forms, but the simplest is an old-style two-tined wooden hay fork.
Story goes that back in the day when it wasn't safe to keep Things around, when time for Doing came and the Old Buck not to be there in His Own Self (so to say), He'd be stood-for by a hayfork or pitchfork set upright in the ground: the Upright Man, as they called him. Light a candle between those horns, and here's a stand-in for the Old Un Himself, and next morning you hang him back up on wall of barn and none to be any the wiser.
For all that I write about money, I've never summarized how I work with it, in a religious sense. In part that's because I only set up a formal money shrine recently, and having that around has caused me to step up my game. Here's a snapshot of my money practice as of today. I'm actually hoping that I will come back and read this in a few years and be amazed by it. Who knows, maybe this will chronicle practices that I will forget, and then reconstruct based upon my own ancient writings!
But even if the internet archaeologists don't find it interesting, I hope some readers will.