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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Bit of a Rant: The Minoans weren't Greek!

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Minoans, the people who lived on the Mediterranean island of Crete during the Bronze Age, is that they were Greek. They weren't. Let's look at where this misunderstanding comes from and find out who the Minoans really were.

First of all, it's a good idea to distinguish between modern national boundaries and ancient cultures. The island of Crete has been a part of the modern nation of Greece for about a century, so most school history texts lump the two together simply because it's easier to divide the world up based on the modern map we're familiar with. And because of the great antiquity and popularity of Crete's history, the modern nation of Greece is more than happy to include it in their PR, including such spectacular events as the opening ceremony to the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    Here is a little info . . .As far as Aphrodite is concerned, she was born in Mesopotamia. She did not come into existence in Crete
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Calling the Minoans 'Greek' is kind of like calling Native Americans 'European settlers'.
  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis says #
    It's not quite the same thing. For one thing, modern Greek genetics are hardly uniform and show quite a bit of influence from Afri
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Wow, way to overthink a humorous observation...
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Rites of Autumn

I asked a friend what family wisdom he felt he'd inherited from his ancestors.

“Work hard and live frugally,” he said. “And when times are good, set aside a little something for when they're not; for hard times will certainly come.”

Well, it's October in Minnesota, and that means that hard times are certainly on the way.

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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, October 11

Hispanic Americans in the United States, worried about the election, turn to supernatural aid. A look at how the Tunisian military has recovered in the wake of the country's revolution. And China cracks down on pro-democracy forces. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on political and societal news from around the globe. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Mabon for the Moirai

The Moirai have been circling me for quite some time.  Maybe because I find them soothing (though overwhelming) instead of scary, maybe because of the spinning I do on my spindle and wheel, maybe because they are actually how I make sense of the world or maybe we just relate to the world somewhat similarly - that we are more What We Do than anything else.  It was really sealed for me two Philly Pagan Prides ago when I saw three blond (fairly identical) teenagers walking through the park together, unconsciously looking like that slow walk entrance scene in every teen movie ever.  And I suddenly thought to myself, what if that's what the Fates really look like?  Perfect, with zero fucks to give?  Holy shit that's terrifying.  My Lachesis (the measurer) had a whimsical thought while at the shore – what if the Fates went on vacation?  They would dutifully sun for a few hours before they all glanced at each other and silently agreed to do what they love – Clothos gleefully spinning cotton candy, Lachesis bellowing for people to let her guess their age and height, Atropos simply turning herself into a cat and eating every mouse that had the misfortune to make her acquaintance under the boardwalk.


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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Soul's Companion

   I grew up in a house surrounded by trees. The backyard maple was a favorite perch for reading the afternoon away when I was a child. Before I climbed I was careful to loop a rope around the branch above me so I could pull a basket of apples and books up after me. The willow tree often found me seeking faeries among her branches, and later, after I had deemed myself too old for tree-climbing, reading or drawing, imagining myself one of the elegant ladies I read about so often in my beloved faerie tales. More and more I would seek the willow, both a source of wonder and magick as the Pagan Path opened before me. My greatest heartbreak at leaving home was that there were no trees near my new apartment.

   Four apartments later, I now have some trees, not many, but enough for the dryad-at-heart to feel satisfied if not happy. A leggy young maple grows against my back steps, towering over a neighboring lilac bush much in the manner my nineteen year old son towers over me. Indeed, in tree years, the maple may very well be his contemporary. The grapevine that coated the back of my building, lush, leafy, gorgeous; the grapevine that grew so prolifically that one of my kitchen windows had a beautiful green screen was torn down earlier this year, a sacrifice to the siding that needed to be replaced. (Probably due to said grapevine. I'm no fool.) She has taken her own back, however. A newer grapevine grown from sturdy roots has wrapped herself around the lower railings and is beginning to wind herself around the maple. Outside my bedroom window grows my favorite of the trees, a crab apple, so close to the building that her branches tap the window every time the breeze sets her dancing or a bird leaps amid her branches.

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Day of the Dead, Samhain, and Halloween: cultural appropriation or something wonderful?


Taos, where I recently moved, is famous for its celebration of Day of the Dead.  Not surprisingly Day of the Dead themes have been integrated in to Halloween celebrations here in Taos.  Day of the Dead also shares many points of overlap with Samhain.   For the previous two years I worked with Mexican friends to organize a joint celebration of Samhain and Day of the Dead in Sebastopol, California. We had side by side altars and people were encouraged to light votives honoring their deceased loved one, and to place them on the altars of their choice.  My Wiccan altar had marigolds on it, and the skull was a colorful one in keeping with Day of the Dead symbolism. Otherwise it was very traditional.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Intent and Purpose

It's FALL!  My favorite season and another turning point in the year.  I love the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and almost everything about fall.  It's a special time of year for me.  I have a lot of memories from this time of year as well as a lot of meaning.

Growing up on the farm, it was all about the harvest.  The growing season ending and getting the crops in for the long winter.  It was also about canning, freezing, and doing other prep for our own food.  Grocery store shopping was for things we couldn't grow or make ourselves.  

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