Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan pantheon. Modern Minoan Paganism is not a reconstructionist tradition, but a journey in relationship with Minoan deities in the contemporary world. Ariadne's thread reaches across the millennia to connect us with the divine. Will you follow where it leads?

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There's more than one Minoan goddess!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When I mention "Minoan," most people think of the famous Snake Goddess figurines. And many people think those figurines represent "the Minoan goddess," as if there were only one of them. But there are many Minoan goddesses, not just one.

In fact, there's a whole pantheon.

One of the issues we have to deal with in terms of gathering up the pantheon for Modern Minoan Paganism is that we can't read the Minoans' writing. So we're left with just the scraps and tatters of Minoan myth that came down to us via the Greeks.

So, for instance, if you see Crete mentioned in a Greek myth as the homeland or birthplace or even the destination of a deity, chances are that deity was originally Minoan. We find remnants of Minoan deities in Mediterranean folk dance as well. So they're still with us, albeit in clandestine form.

How many Minoan goddesses are there? We don't know for sure. But these are the ones we've found so far, whom we honor in Modern Minoan Paganism:

The Three: a triplicity of mother-goddesses - Rhea (Earth/Land), Posidaeja (Sea/Ocean/Water), Therasia (Sun/Fire/Sky).

Ourania: Great Cosmic Mother-of-All. She is the very fabric of the universe.

Ariadne: Lady of the Labyrinth, a goddess and not a mortal girl.

The Snake Goddess: We call her Serpent-Mother. Her abode is the Underworld and, perhaps, the stars.

Arachne: Also called Ananke. The goddess of Fate, a spinner and weaver of the lives of mortals.

The Melissae: Ancestral bee-goddesses who guard and guide the spirits of the dead in the Underworld.

Europa: A horned cow-goddess, double or twin to Pasiphae. Both were probably originally solar goddesses in pre-Indo-European times , though they were later associated with the Moon.

Amalthea: A horned goat-goddess, sister/twin to the mother goddess Rhea and source of the sacred cornucopia, the Horn of Plenty that never empties.

Britomartis: Also called Diktynna. A deer goddess who is a huntress, connected with Mt. Dikte on Crete and with Rhea, whose mountain Dikte is.

Eileithyia: Torch-bearing goddess who is midwife to gods and women.

There are others we haven't yet discovered, I'm sure. But is plenty to start with, don't you think?

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.

 

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I'm an artist, writer, and lover of all things ancient and mysterious. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a passion of mine since a fateful art history class introduced me to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. My first book was published in 2001; one of my most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. I've also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. When I'm not busy drawing and writing, you can find me in the garden or giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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