Ariadne's Tribe: Minoan Spirituality for the Modern World

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan family of deities. Ariadne's Tribe is an independent spiritual tradition that brings the deities 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 Ariadne's Tribe at We're an inclusive, welcoming tradition, open to all who share our love for the Minoan deities and respect for our fellow human beings.

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Spring Equinox, Minoan harvest, and upside-down calendars

I live in the northern hemisphere, in the southeastern US, and here it's Spring Equinox today. But in the southern hemisphere it's Autumn Equinox. And even more confusingly, in the Mediterranean, even though we still call it the Spring Equinox, it's harvest time, so in Ariadne's Tribe we acknowledge the grain harvest festival on this day.

Allow me to explain...

The Minoans lived on the island of Crete, just south of Greece in the eastern Mediterranean. That region has a unique climate that can be confusing for those of us who are used to spring-summer-autumn-winter. But it's important to understand the Mediterranean seasons so we can have a clue about how the Minoans experienced their world.

In the northern temperate zone (Europe north of the Mediterranean, most of North America, and regions with similar climates) we're used to planting crops in the spring, watching them grow throughout the warm summer, and harvesting them in the autumn. In these regions, winter is the "dead time" when nothing grows, when the life force withdraws. But that's not the case in the Mediterranean.

In Crete and the surrounding regions, there are really only two seasons: wet and dry. Summer is the dry season, hot and arid - the creeks on Crete dry up completely and the rivers slow to a trickle. Plants turn brown and crispy. People seek air conditioning and cool drinks wherever they're available.

In the Mediterranean, this is the "dead time." Nothing grows because it's just too hot and dry. No farmer worth their salt, even today, would attempt to grow field crops (grains, vegetables) in this season. So when do they grow these crops? During the rainy season, of course.

In the Mediterranean, the rains start up in early autumn, softening the soil so it's easy to plow and plant. The field crops (grain and vegetables) grow throughout the mild winter and are harvested... wait for it... in the spring. Yes, even today, farmers follow this schedule. It's far easier to work with Nature than against her, even with modern innovations like irrigation and fertilizer. And of course, the Minoans knew better than to attempt what would absolutely have been a losing fight.

Now, the whole "harvest situation" is more complicated than this, because there are also fruit and nut trees with their own harvest schedule. But the grain harvest is the Big One, from both a practical and a spiritual perspective. And that's what we're talking about here. This myth cycle plays out in the Minoan Mysteries.

So while my local world is springing alive just now, I also turn my gaze toward Crete, toward the harvest: the grain reaped and threshed and winnowed, weighed and blessed, a portion sacrificed to the ancestors and the deities in thanks for the abundance that allows us to survive another year.

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She's the founder and Temple Mom of Ariadne's Tribe, an inclusive Minoan spiritual tradition. 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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