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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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.

So here's what we have to work with: garbled fragments of myths, many of which were purposely altered by the Greeks, and huge amounts of archaeological finds, from tiny seal stones to whole cities. And because we're modern people, we have no choice but to interpret it all through the lens of our modern mindset.

How can we make that work and have meaning for us? How can we make it true for our time?

I think we have to start with the aspects of Minoan civilization that drew many of us to it in the first place: the high status of women and the apparent equality of the sexes, the reverence for nature, the Goddess (or perhaps the Three) as the focal point of a plentiful pantheon full of many different kinds of gods and goddesses, both "civilized" and wild.

Sure, it's nifty to see that the Minoans had flush toilets and paved roads and enclosed sewers, but what really resonates with so many modern Pagans is the way they appear to have viewed the world as a sacred gift. Many of us value that concept, especially given the way much of humanity treats the environment and their fellow human beings these days.

So we begin with these thoughts that resonate with us from Minoan Crete, and we listen: The gods and goddesses still speak to humanity, if only we take the time and patience to listen. I think the gods understand that the world changes over time. They understand that the world isn't the same as it was in the Bronze Age. And they walk alongside us as we experiment, as we try out different ways of being in communion with them in our modern world, from quiet solitary meditations to big public rituals.

So that's how we make Modern Minoan Paganism true for our time: by living fully in our time while looking back to the ancient Minoans, their goddesses and gods, to find the truths that resonate across the ages.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.



Artwork: Modern art interpretation of the Archanes Phourni Minoan seal ring by Laura Perry

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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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