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?

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Book Review: Lost Goddesses of Early Greece

Over in Ariadne's Tribe we have a list of recommended books about Minoan spirituality and related topics. One of the books from that list that I find myself pointing out frequently to anyone who is interested in Modern Minoan Paganism and/or goddess spirituality (besides my own books, of course) is Charlene Spretnak's classic work Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths. Originally published in 1978, this amazing little volume is still in print, and with good reason.

Ms. Spretnak addresses herself to nine goddesses, eleven if you count the Moon Triad as three separate ones: Gaia, Pandora, Themis, Aphrodite, the Moon Triad (Artemis, Selene, Hecate), Hera, Athena, Demeter, and Persephone. She offers some fascinating information about each one, detailing where they originated, what their early worship was probably like, and how the Hellenes and other later cultures "demoted" them from their original places of honor and power. It's both enlightening and a little sad to discover how these goddesses were purposely tarnished over time. But this book helps to polish them back to their original glow.

Those who are interested in Minoan spirituality will find Pandora, Artemis, and Demeter/Persephone to be particularly interesting, since their stories trace back to Minoan times. Pandora, originally a positive goddess (her name means All-Giver) was an aspect of the Minoan mother goddess Rhea. Artemis is the sister-twin to the Minoan goddess Britomartis, also known as Diktynna, who is likely her precursor. And the Eleusinian Mysteries, which enshrine the tale of Demeter and Persephone, probably began in Minoan Crete.

The information is interesting, but Ms. Spretnak's stories speak directly to the heart. Each goddess gets not only an explanation of her original, important place in myth, but also a beautiful, poetic version of her tale. Ms. Spretnak made a ritual out of the writing of these moving pieces, going into meditation and asking each goddess to speak through her, and speak they do. The stories flow the way good ritual does, from thought to image to emotion and back again. In fact, many people use these tales in ritual to invoke these goddesses and honor them.

If you have an interest in goddess spirituality or Modern Minoan Paganism, or if you'd just like to hear the goddess speak via her own voice, I recommend this book. I think you'll find it both enlightening and moving. May you hear Her and may She touch you and bless you.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.

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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.

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