Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, loving goddess of ancient Crete who lives on in the hearts and minds of the modern world. Modern Minoan Paganism is not a purely reconstructionist tradition, but a journey in relationship with Minoan deities in the contemporary world. Ariadne's thread reaches across the millennia to connect us with the divine. Will you follow where it leads?

To join the discussion about ancient Minoan civilization and Modern Minoan Paganism, head on over to our welcoming community at Ariadne's Tribe on Facebook.

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Laura Perry

Laura Perry

I'm an artist, writer, and lover of all things ancient and mysterious. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a particular passion of mine since a fateful art history class introduced me to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. My first book was published in 2001; one of my most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. I've also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. When I'm not busy drawing and writing, I enjoy gardening and giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Offerings, Minoan Style

We're modern people, not Bronze Age Minoans. But in Modern Minoan Paganism, we do some things that ancient people would have found familiar. Among those is the presentation of offerings to the gods. We do this quietly on our home altars or a bit more loudly sometimes, in group ritual.

A while back, I wrote about the kinds of offerings we make to the various gods and goddesses - what they like and what they don't. But the way we make offerings, or more specifically, the kinds of containers we use for them, take their inspiration from the Minoans.

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How the Minoans got mixed up with Wicca

Today I'm sharing a guest post from my dear friend Dana Corby (author of The Witches' Runes, which I heartily recommend). She has many years of experience in the Pagan community and has seen all sorts of theories and points of view come and go. Today, she has generously offered to share her knowledge about the way Minoan spirituality has intertwined with Wicca over the years and how that has sometimes led to misunderstandings about the Minoans, their culture, and their religion.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carmen Beaudry
    Carmen Beaudry says #
    One of the lovely things about having little to no involvement in the more public side of Wicca is that I never felt the need to t
  • Hearth M Rising
    Hearth M Rising says #
    Yes! Crete was a great neighborhood before those nasty lesbians moved in with their lying feminism. They appropriated what had bee
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    While I don't really buy that modern Witchcraft and Paganism has any lineal relationship with ancient traditions, I really appreci
Two Blades: Minoan ritual labryses and practical tools

The labrys is one of the most iconic symbols of Minoan civilization. The two-bladed axe shape evokes ideas ranging from bloody human sacrifice to butterflies in a spiritual garden. I have my own ideas about what the labrys means to me, and may have meant to the Minoans as well.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that a lot of people use the term "double axe" to refer to these artifacts, conflating them with practical tools. But they're not the same thing.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Weight is an important part of a useful ax, not just for strength. A ceremonial ax would not need weight. I have never seen a bu
Cultural Exchange in the Minoan World: Egypt and Others

Today, it's not at all uncommon to see people in New York wearing fashions from Paris, or kids in California watching Japanese anime TV shows (and kids in Japan watching American TV shows). It's called cultural exchange, and it has always happened, as long as people have traveled and traded and interacted with each other.

The way ancient cultures are presented in the history books often makes them sound as if they were completely separate from each other, sealed away in some sort of etheric ziptop bag, as if the borders of the various empires and cultures were non-permeable. But that's far from the case. During the Bronze Age - the time when the Minoans were being all Minoan-y - the whole eastern Mediterranean was one great big cultural exchange area, with people trading objects, ideas, styles, and fashions from one spot to another as fast as the ships could ply the seas.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    What are your thoughts on 'cultural appropriation'? I've been hearing that a lot lately.
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Cultural appropriation is an issue with living cultures, such as Native Americans, and it's a very real problem that I wish more p
Dining with the Ancestors: A Modern Minoan Rite

We're approaching Samhain here in the northern hemisphere, so my thoughts naturally turn toward the Ancestors. The Minoans didn't celebrate Samhain - it's a Celtic festival from a time many centuries after the fall of Minoan civilization and a place a great distance away from Crete. But the Minoans did honor the Ancestors and the spirits of the dead. In fact, as far as we can tell, that's something all ancient cultures did in one way or another.

The Minoans appear to have performed dining rites, something along the lines of a Dumb Supper, a meal where the spirits of the dead are invited as honored guests. The image at the top of this blog post is a fascinating terracotta model from the Minoan tholos tomb at Kamilari. It depicts four people in a dining shrine, seated with little tables in front of them. Two of the tables hold what appear to be loaves of bread. In front of the tables, two human-like figures are rising up out of the floor: the spirits of the dead.

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Walking the Labyrinth in Modern Minoan Paganism

The labyrinth. Everyone has heard of it. It's one of the first things people think of when I mention that my spiritual practice has a Minoan focus. They might think of the beautiful labyrinth set into the floor at Chartres cathedral, or the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, or modern projects like the Pulse Memorial in Orlando, Florida (USA).

It's interesting, then, that no one has ever found an actual labyrinth at a Minoan site. There are lots of almost-but-not-quite-labyrinth meander patterns in Minoan art. And the labyrinth does show up on Cretan coins, but not until many centuries after Minoan civilization was gone.

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I don't like changing my mind: an essay in the evolution of Modern Minoan Paganism

One thing any researcher knows is that new information is liable to blow old theories to smithereens. The same holds true for Modern Minoan Paganism, an evolving path that incorporates not just archaeological information but also shared gnosis as we work our way forward in spiritual practice.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't like having to change my views. Once I think I have something figured out, it's very pleasant to just hang there, in that space, all smug and satisfied. But I've learned the hard way that nothing is that easy, not just in archaeology, but also in spirituality.

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