Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, loving goddess of ancient Crete who lives on in the hearts and minds of the modern world. Modern Minoan Paganism is not a purely 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?

To join the discussion about ancient Minoan culture and Modern Minoan Paganism, head on over to our welcoming community at Ariadne's Tribe on Facebook.

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Laura Perry

Laura Perry

I'm an artist, writer, and lover of all things ancient and mysterious. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a particular 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, I enjoy gardening and giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Music for Ritual in Modern Minoan Paganism

One aspect of ritual that we don't often think about until we're armpit-deep in actually performing one is music. The ancient Minoans, like other Bronze Age cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean, used music in ritual - we know because we see it in the art. But we don't know what it sounded like. So how can we incorporate music into Minoan ritual? It's not that hard, really.

Like many aspects of Minoan religion, we have to base our choices on two points: what we see in the archaeological record and what evokes the ancient Minoans to us as modern Pagans. In other words, we have to make some educated guesses as to what Minoan music probably sounded like. We know a lot about Minoan music from Minoan art. And we have a pretty good idea about what other types of ancient music from the Mediterranean and the Near East sounded like. So what we tend to go for in Modern Minoan Paganism is music that makes us feel like we're in the ancient world. It's a psychological trigger, in other words.

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The Equinoxes in Modern Minoan Paganism: A problem of location

I live in the southeastern US, which is almost literally half a world away from Crete, where the ancient Minoans lived. In this modern day, what with the Internet and all, that's not such a big deal, except for one thing: the seasons aren't the same in the two places. That makes the equinoxes... interesting.

Though we don't know for sure what the ancient Minoans' year looked like, we have managed to create a sacred calendar for Modern Minoan Paganism that hits the high points based on educated guesses. It works for us and it helps us relate to the Minoan deities and the ancient culture that we're drawing on for our spiritual practice.

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Minoan goddesses: Who is Potnia?

We don't know for certain what the Minoans called their gods and goddesses since we can't read Linear A, the script they used to write their native language. But we can read Linear B, which is an adaptation of Linear A that was used to write Mycenaean Greek way back in late Minoan times. And one of the most common goddess epithets in the Linear B tablets is Potnia.

So who is she? She is many goddesses. Let me explain why.

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Myth-information: Minoan facts, rumors, and wild tales

The Internet is a great source of information, but it turns out that it's also a repository of out-of-date and incorrect ideas that keep getting passed around again and again simply because they're floating around in cyberspace. Believe it or not, the Minoans are the subject of quite a few of these bits of misinformation.

In the interest of efficiency, here's the list of Minoan-related concepts that I find myself having to explain most often. Don't panic; I believed many of them myself at one time. But it's a good idea to set the record straight. Plus, this way I have a link to point people to instead of having to constantly repeat myself. :-)

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Book Review: Aspecting the Goddess

I hadn't intended to review Jane Meredith's book Aspecting the Goddess on this blog. But then I read her tale of Ariadne, and I just had to.

The book is both a how-to manual of methods for connecting with the divine and a recounting of her own experiences using those methods. Her writing is poetic, touching, and inspiring - and just to be clear, the methods can be used to develop relationships with gods, goddesses, land spirits, and other non-human beings.

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The Minoan Sacred Year: A Modern Pagan Calendar

Most modern Pagans are familiar with the eightfold Wheel of the Year: the solstices and equinoxes and the points halfway in between. But that's a modern construct. It also doesn't match the unique seasons of the Mediterranean region, where Crete is (and where the Minoans lived).

So in Modern Minoan Paganism, we've worked out a sacred calendar based on the Mediterranean seasonal cycle. We've combined information from Minoan artifacts and ruins, archaeoastronomy, the few fragments of myth that made it down to us via the Greeks, and a bunch of shared gnosis. That gives us a set of festivals that work for us as modern Pagans but that still reflect what we think went on among the Minoans in Bronze Age Crete.

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The Blessing of the Waters: Building Modern Minoan Paganism

Since the Minoans aren't around anymore and we can't read the things they wrote (Linear A has not been deciphered), we have to build our practice of Modern Minoan Paganism based on whatever kind of inspiration we can find.

It turns out, there are still remnants of ancient rites that cling to life in the folk practices of Crete and other parts of Europe in this Christian era. You probably already knew this: the Christian church took over Pagan practices and renamed them, like the Irish goddess Brigit becoming a Christian saint.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Alethea Leondakis
    Alethea Leondakis says #
    I only discovered this yesterday, but I believe in 2015 or 2016, the Phaistos discus was decoded. Here is a link where it is read
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm given to understand that in Venice there's a Great Blessing of the Waters to mark the beginning of sailing season; if Minoan C
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    That would be a separate rite and would involve Posidaeja, the Minoan sea goddess, rather than the spirits of local streams and la

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