The Minoan Path: 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.
Sacred Guardians: A Minoan-Themed Protection Spell

Today I'm sharing a spell/ritual from the new second edition of my book Ancient Spellcraft. It calls on the power of the griffin, an ancient mythological creature of great power. We have recently rediscovered the Minoan sun goddess Therasia and come to realize that the griffins are hers. If you like, you can call on her directly as you perform this ceremony. I do recommend that you develop a relationship with any deity you call on for spells and rituals, since they're not cosmic vending machines (you put in an offering and out pops a goodie).

 

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The Melissae: A Bit of Minoan Honey

The Melissae are a bit of a mystery, of both the lowercase-m and capital-M variety. Today I'm sharing a roundup of what we know about these Minoan honey/bee goddesses/spirits, both from historical sources and via our shared numinous experiences in Ariadne's Tribe.

 

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By Land, Sea, and Sky: A Minoan ritual framework

Most Pagans are familiar with the Wiccan ritual framework of casting a circle, calling the quarters, and then invoking the deities. Other traditions have their own standard ways of beginning and ending their rites, of framing their sacred actions. But what about Modern Minoan Paganism? We can start by looking at what we think the ancient Minoans probably did, and build our practice from there.

As far as we know, the Minoans and other ancient cultures didn't cast circles; that's a practice that originated with grimoiric magic. What they did, instead, was purify the temple or shrine, usually with incense and occasionally by asperging (sprinkling) a substance such as herbal water.

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The Minoan Sun Goddess: Hail Therasia!

Over in Ariadne's Tribe, we've been chasing the Minoan sun goddess for some time now. It has long been a given that there is a Minoan sun goddess; Nanno Marinatos even wrote a book that's largely about her, without being able to properly identify her (and clinging far too heavily to some of Sir Arthur Evans' ideas, in my opinion, but that's a rant for another day). Several of us have had dreams and visions of the Minoan sun goddess, and folk dance from around the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean enshrines a regional sun goddess even today. So who is she? What are her symbols? How can we connect with her?

We believe her name is Therasia, and she is the goddess whose throne so famously sits in a room just off the central courtyard in the Knossos temple complex. If you look closely at the front of that throne, you'll see the sun rising over the double-peaked sacred summit of Mt. Juktas. But there are far more clues than just the carving on the front of the throne.

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Minotaur: A book review of a Sir Arthur Evans biography

Sir Arthur Evans is the name most closely associated with the rediscovery of ancient Minoan civilization. Though local Cretan archaeologist Minos Kalokairinos discovered the site of Knossos and did some preliminary digging there, it's Evans who undertook a large-scale, systematic excavation of the largest of the Minoan cities with its enormous temple complex and who introduced the ancient Minoans into the modern world. Joseph Alexander MacGillivray is another archaeologist whose focus is on Minoan civilization, and he has written a fascinating biography of Evans, titled Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth.

First, let me point out that this book is a biography of Evans, not a retelling of the Minotaur myth. I've seen a few reviews from people who weren't able to suss out that fact (seriously, did you read the back cover or the online description?) and were disappointed when they read the book. It helps to pay attention before buying a book so you know what you're getting. What you're getting, in this case, is an amazingly detailed biography of a fascinating, complex, contradictory man who made quite a place for himself in history.

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Ariadne's Thread and Labrys & Horns: What's the difference?

I'm often asked to explain the different between my two books about Minoan spirituality: Ariadne's Thread and Labrys & Horns. So often, in fact, that I figured a blog post about the subject would be a good idea.

Ariadne's Thread: Awakening the Wonders of the Ancient Minoans in Our Modern Lives was released in 2013 but it was based on about 20 years of spiritual work I had done before then. Back in the 1990s, when I was working on my second degree in the Wiccan coven I belonged to at the time, I was given an assignment: Pick a pantheon and write a year's worth of seasonal rituals and a lifetime's worth of rites of passage using that pantheon. I'd like to say I picked the Minoan pantheon, but it's more like it picked me. I'm sure you know how that goes.

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A Minoan by Any Other Name

If the ancient Minoans were such successful traders with so many other cultures, why don't we hear about them in the writings of those other cultures? Because in the ancient world, they weren't called Minoans.

The term "Minoans" is a 20th-century invention. Sir Arthur Evans, the British archaeologist who unearthed the temple complex at Knossos, had been chasing a set of myths for years: King Minos, the Labyrinth, Ariadne and the Minotaur. Like Heinrich Schliemann, who wanted to prove the truth of the tales in Homer's epic works by digging up the real city of Troy, Evans wanted to prove the historicity of the myths about ancient Crete.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    I really enjoyed this and look forward to learning more about the "Minoans". I love the way you combine mystery, historicity and i
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thank you! I try to make it clear where I'm speculating or working off gnosis (mine and/or that of others). But there's simply so

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