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 an independent polytheist spiritual tradition that brings the gods and goddesses of the ancient Minoans alive in the modern world. We're a revivalist tradition, not a reconstructionist one; we rely heavily on shared gnosis and the practical realities of Paganism in the modern world. Ariadne's thread reaches across the millennia to connect us with the divine. Will you follow where it leads?

Find out all about Modern Minoan Paganism on our website: https://ariadnestribe.wordpress.com/. We're a welcoming tradition, open to all who share our love for the Minoan deities and respect for our fellow human beings.

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Minoan Trickle-Down Archaeology

Sir Arthur Evans believed that the huge building at Knossos was the legendary King Minos' palace and the big buildings in the other Minoan cities were the palaces of Minos' brothers and rivals. A century later, the signs at most of the Minoan sites still identify these buildings as palaces despite the fact that Evans' theories have been discredited and archaeologists now agree that the structures were temple complexes, not palaces.

A few archaeologists are notorious for taking their students through museums and pointing out the inaccuracies on the placards that describe Minoan artifacts (museum curators are not usually archaeologists and don't always communicate with archaeologists about the artifacts on display). So people visit the museums and come away with some incorrect notions.

This is one of the problems with the gap between science and popular knowledge. Not everyone wants to dig through academia.edu to find the latest information about the Minoans - and they shouldn't have to. But sadly, there's no easy or direct way for up-to-date archaeological information to make its way out into the Big World. Only the grandest discoveries make it into the popular press, and the details are often lost amid the click-bait headlines and heavily paraphrased and over-simplified stories.

So when people go searching online for information about the Minoans, what they find is often misleading, out of date, or entirely incorrect. I've done my best to correct some of the most common misconceptions, with blog posts about how the Minoans weren't Greek, ancient Crete wasn't a utopia, Greek myths misrepresent Minoan characters, and a whole list of other "common knowledge" that turns out to be wrong.

Mind you, I'm not omniscient. I started out my journey believing Sir Arthur Evans' theories and had to change my views over time as more accurate information became available. We're always learning more.

Still, it's frustrating that the media don't do more to provide accurate, up-to-date information about the sciences, including archaeology. They fact-check political articles like crazy, but often, nobody fact-checks or follows up on information in science articles before they're published. I can't count how many times I've seen "King Minos' palace" referenced in articles about the Minoans.

There are some good publications that offer accurate information in normal language instead of academese (Archaeology Magazine, for instance). But most people aren't going to subscribe to a whole magazine for each different scientific discipline. And again, they shouldn't have to.

I guess what I'm saying here is, when you find an article online about the Minoans, take it with a grain of salt. Or maybe a handful. If it references any of the outdated ideas that I've mentioned and/or linked above, check other sources. If it's based on archaeological research, see if you can find the archaeologists' original research online - often there will be an abstract (a brief summary) published, even if you don't have access to the whole paper. And as your teachers have probably already told you more than once, don't consider Wikipedia to be a reliable resource. Visit the references linked at the bottom of the Wikipedia article and go from there.

Why is any of this important for a spiritual tradition that's not trying to accurately reconstruct Minoan religion, but is instead creating a modern revival that simply harks back to ancient Crete?

Because, even though the archaeology and the history still have a lot of holes in them, they're what we have to go on. They are the foundation on which we base our comparative mythology and our shared gnosis. They are the warp with which we weave the tapestry of our modern spiritual practice.

So show the Minoans some respect, and make sure you've got the story right. I think they deserve that much. Don't you?

In the name of the bee,
And of the butterfly,
And of the breeze, amen.

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Laura Perry is an artist, writer, and the founder and facilitator of Modern Minoan Paganism. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a passion of hers since a fateful art history class introduced her to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. Her first book was published in 2001; one of her most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. She has also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. When she's not busy drawing and writing, you can find her in the garden or giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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