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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Combining Traditions: MMP at the Pagan Buffet

These days, we in the Pagan community have many choices in terms of traditions and paths to explore and practice. Most of the folx I know include more than one tradition in their regular spiritual practice.

How does that work, and what happens when you have traditions whose calendars don't fit with each other?

A lot of Pagan paths follow the Wiccan eightfold Wheel of the Year or some variation of it, even if they're not explicitly Wiccan (some Druid traditions, for instance). If you're dealing with multiple trads that all follow the same calendar, you can just switch out from one Sabbat to the next - do Bealtaine with one set of deities and Summer Solstice with another. Or choose which trad to focus on at each Sabbat based on your connection with that festival's associated deities, which of your Pagan friends will be joining you in ritual, or any messages you might receive from the deities involved.

But the Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP) sacred calendar doesn't follow the eightfold wheel. Instead, we've based it on information from archaeoastronomy (building alignments and other data), dance ethnography, comparative mythology, and general archaeology. That gives us a set of festivals that reflect the religious life of the Bronze Age Mediterranean the way the Minoans may have experienced it. But that means the calendar doesn't match a lot of the others out there. What to do?

I'm not going to dictate how you should handle this sort of issue in your own spiritual practice. It really is a YMMV kind of issue. But I will share what I do to combine Wicca, MMP, and ancestral veneration into a not-too-tangled mess, and maybe that can give you some ideas of how to handle your own "calendar clashes." It all has to do with where the calendars overlap and where they don't.

Let's start with where they don't overlap. The MMP calendar has a number of festivals that don't fall on the solstices, the equinoxes, or the cross-quarter days. These include the Blessing of the Ships, Harbor Home, Feast of Grapes, the Mysteries, and the Blessing of the Waters. So I celebrate these almost automatically - they don't conflict with the eightfold wheel calendar.

Then from the other direction, the eightfold wheel has cross-quarters festivals; I know them as Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughasadh, and Samhain, though they also have other names in various traditions. These don't match up with any sacred days in the MMP calendar, so it's easy enough to just go ahead and celebrate them.

The real problem comes at the equinoxes and solstices. Both the MMP calendar and the eightfold one celebrate all four. This overlap has several possible solutions. Some years, I promise the equinoxes to one set of deities and the solstices to another. Sometimes a deity with whom I have a longstanding relationship calls dibs on one of the solar sabbats. Sometimes I'm feeling overenthusiastic and decide to do two celebrations on one of the equinoxes or solstices - this often stems from having two different groups of people who want to celebrate with me.

Where does the ancestor veneration fit in, with its associated spiritwork? My ancestral practice is a daily thing, so I do it whether or not there's also a festival going on. The spiritwork doesn't follow a calendar, but happens on an as-needed basis. Now, that certainly can conflict with festivals in either of the sacred calendars I work with, and has done so more than once. In these situations, I have to decide what takes priority, and it's usually the spiritwork. Thankfully, ritual times can shift around a little to make way for other last-minute needs.

So it is possible to dovetail multiple sacred calendars together and make it work. Ultimately, the restricting factors are time and energy: how many festivals do you really want to celebrate in one year?

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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