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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"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet" - King Minos

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I love the Internet. There's so much information so readily available. It's such a contrast to my early days of researching the Minoans, back in the 1970s and 80s, when I had to scratch and scrabble for a sentence here, a paragraph there, in books about other ancient cultures. But that ease of access to the online world comes with a price.

Anyone can put up a website and say anything they want to in it. That's good; freedom of speech and expression is something I'm all for. The problem comes when websites repeat outdated and inaccurate information, either because the writer doesn't know any better or because they have a theory they want to prove. Of course, this sort of thing happens in books as well, but it's more common online, simply because it's easier to put up a website than to publish a book.

Most people know that Sir Arthur Evans was the major excavator of Knossos and brought the Minoans back into the spotlight. What a lot of people don't know is that his theories about the Minoans have largely been discredited, thanks to all the archaeology that has taken place at Minoan sites since Evans' time.

Evans was a fascinating, brilliant man, but very much a product of his times: a racist and imperialist who thought his beloved Victorian-era British Empire was the height of civilization. He was bound and determined to prove that the Minoans were just as "civilized" as the Brits, so to that end he force-fitted them into his idea of what a high civilization must look like: white people ruled by a male monarch, all of whom practiced a monotheistic religion and had an advanced military.

It turns out, Evans was wrong about an awful lot. If you'd like a good look at who he was, what he thought, and what he did, I recommend this biography of him, written by the archaeologist who oversaw the excavations at Palaikastro for two decades. And if you'd like an accurate, up-to-date overview of what we now know about the Minoans (without having to trawl through hundreds of papers on academia.edu), I recommend this book - look past the click-bait-y title for some really good info. There's also some accurate information online, but you have to pick and choose. We have curated book and website lists for Modern Minoan Paganism in our Facebook group - they took a lot of work to put together and they take continual effort to maintain.

In the meantime, I spend a lot of time re-educating people about the Minoans, because school history books are often way behind the times. Believe me, just like everyone else, I started out with an outdated and inaccurate view of who and what the Minoans were. A few posts that I regularly share to help people get their bearings about ancient Crete include:

A Bit of a Rant: The Minoans weren't Greek!

Who were the Minoans' neighbors? (placing the Minoans in time and space in the ancient world)

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

And just in case you were wondering, the "King Minos" I've quoted in the title wasn't actually a king - the Minoans don't appear to have had a monarchy. Minos was (and still is, actually) a god, and possibly the title of certain priests in ancient Crete. But not a king, just as Ariadne wasn't just a girl and the Minotaur isn't a monster. Just so you know.

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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