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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

The MMP Pantheon: The Goddess Antheia

This is one in a series of posts about the MMP pantheon. Find the full list of the whole series here.

Up this week: the goddess Antheia, one of the triplicity of goddesses who are daughters of the Three Mothers in the MMP pantheon. You can read about the other two daughter goddesses: Ariadne and Arachne. And of course, the Mothers have sons as well. We'll get to them as we move along in this series.

Antheia was a bit difficult for us to find at first. She's the Minoan face of Aphrodite, and it took some searching to get a clear picture of her. But once we began to call to her in meditation and ritual, and she answered, we knew we had made the connection.

If she's the Minoan face of Aphrodite, how did we come to call her Antheia? It’s a name the Greeks used for one of the Kharites (the Graces, who were Aphrodite’s attendants). But the Greek writer Hesychius tells us that Antheia was the name used for Aphrodite at Knossos. Presumably this was a bit of mythos that survived the centuries, since Knossos was destroyed about 1350 BCE, two millennia before Hesychius wrote his works.

In MMP, we connect Antheia with water birds like ducks and geese and beautiful things like flowers. Why water birds? Because Posidaeja is her mother, so the seashore is Antheia's territory, and by association, any kind of water bird. Antheia is the goddess of love and beauty... flowers spring up beneath her feet as she walks. If she's on the seashore, those flowers might be sea daffodils (Pancratium maritimum), a lovely flower that still blooms on some of Crete's beaches.

So where can we find Antheia in Minoan art? You can see one lovely example at the top of this blog post. It's the Garland fresco from a private home in Knossos. The flowers in this fresco have been identified as lilies, myrtle, and anemones. In MMP, we especially associate myrtle - the flowers and the whole plant - with Antheia. Other specific flowers are linked to other goddesses (lilies to Rhea and Ariadne, for instance, and the saffron crocus to Therasia). But flowers in general belong to Antheia, especially white and yellow ones. So we might think of Antheia when we see this Kamares ware krater with lovely 3-D flower ornaments:

Minoan Kamares ware krater

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Or this beautiful serpentine bowl carved in the shape of an opening blossom:

Minoan serpentine blossom bowl

Image CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

We also consider water birds, like ducks and geese, to be Antheia's territory. So we think of her when we see them on the Minoan stone seals or in fresco scenes like this one from Akrotiri:

River fresco from Akrotiri

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Though Greek mythology portrays Aphrodite as petty, vain, and vindictive, we don’t find Antheia to be any of those things. She is beautiful, yes, but it’s a loveliness that she shares freely with the world, not one born of competition or jealousy. She helps us find beauty in the world: in ourselves, in each other, in nature, even in the tasks of our daily lives. And she helps us realize the power of beauty to connect us with the divine. A pretty flower, a twinkling star, a warm smile—these are things that remind us that the whole world is sacred, that the divine isn’t “out there somewhere” but right here, within each and every one of us.

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

Last modified on
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.

Comments

Additional information