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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacred calendar
Serpents and Mirrors: Minoan Summer Celebrations

Summer Solstice blessings to you all! This year (2024) the moment of Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs today, June 20, at 4:51 p.m. US Eastern Time (9:51 p.m. GMT).

The first Full Moon after Summer Solstice occurs tomorrow, June 21, at 9:08 p.m. US Eastern Time ( or just over the line into the next day, 2:08 a.m. GMT, June 22, and so on further east). So there's very little time between Solstice and the next Full Moon.

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Welcome to the Blooming Time!

The Mediterranean climate has its own unique seasonal cycle. In Ariadne’s Tribe, we’ve created a sacred calendar that acknowledges this climate and gives names to three sacred seasons: Summer, Winter, and the Blooming Time. You can find more details about this seasonal structure in this blog post.

Today I want to talk about the Blooming Time. It begins the day after Spring Equinox and ends with the Blessing of the Ships in mid-May, so it’s a fairly short season. We call it the Blooming Time because, although various trees and flowers bloom throughout most of the year on Crete, the wildflowers bloom in profusion during the Blooming Time and flowers are an important symbol of this unique season.

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The Turn of the Year: Autumn Equinox

In the Ariadne's Tribe sacred calendar, we've just made our way through the Mysteries and are awaiting the arrival of the Autumn Equinox this Saturday, 23 September.

What does this date signify in our sacred calendar?

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The Minoan Autumn Holiday Season

The Ariadne's Tribe sacred calendar doesn't look like the eightfold Wheel of the Year that many modern Pagans are familiar with. Instead, we based our calendar specifically on Mediterranean seasonal cycles (the Minoans came from the island of Crete in the Mediterranean) as well as archaeological and ethnological evidence about the Minoans' religious practices.

So instead of a neatly balanced eight-spoke wheel, our calendar has some festivals that are spread out across the months and others that cluster together. One of those clusters - the biggest one - is my focus today.

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The Seasons of the Minoan Calendar

In Ariadne's Tribe, we developed our sacred calendar one bit at a time over the course of several years, relying on a combination of archaeology, comparative mythology, dance ethnology, and shared gnosis to collect up and organize the festivals. But now that it's a living, functioning thing that we've worked in sync with for a while, something interesting has happened.

We've come to know the seasons of ancient Crete.

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Harbor Home: The Safety of Return

The Minoans were a seafaring people. They traveled, explored, and traded all over the Mediterranean Sea and possibly beyond it. But that sea travel wasn't a year-round thing. It had a season.

In the Mediterranean, even now, the winter isn't the best time to be out on a boat. The winds can be harsh, the water choppy, the weather unpredictable. It was far more dangerous back in the Bronze Age, before the era of long-distance communication and software-driven meteorology. The Minoans had a positive relationship with Grandmother Ocean, but they were skilled enough sailors to know better than to push it. Nature is bigger than we are.

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Minoan Subcultures and the Sacred Calendar

We tend to think of ancient cultures as monolithic: the Minoans, the Sumerians, the Greeks, the Romans. But there were subcultures and differing groups within those larger labels, just like there are now among, say, Americans or modern Greek people.

It can be difficult to tease out the identities of the subcultures, but it's important to do so. Why? Because choosing not to bother has the effect of erasing those people from history. I think they deserve better than that.

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