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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Confluence: Flowing Together

For some time now, Ariadne's Tribe has been developing our own counterpart to the hieros gamos as it's known from ancient Mesopotamian, Greek, and Buddhist traditions and that's expressed in modern Paganism via acts such as the Wiccan Great Rite.

We wanted a concept and a practice that we could use in our rituals that would encompass the idea of communion with deity as well as connection with each other and with the non-human beings whose spirits also fill our world. And we wanted it to be inclusive, avoiding any kind of gender binary.

During the discussion, one of our beloved members, Daniel Ballard, shared a word that struck a chord with us all:

Confluence. Literally, flowing together.

Daniel has since passed away, so we dedicate the naming of this portion of our tradition to him. May the Great Mothers hold him in their arms.

What is Confluence? Dictionary.com offers five different definitions:

  1. a flowing together of two or more streams, rivers, or the like.
  2. their place of junction.
  3. a body of water formed by the flowing together of two or more streams, rivers, or the like.
  4. a coming together of people or things; concourse.
  5. a crowd or throng; assemblage.

So it's not just flowing together. It's also the place where the flowing-together happens as well as the "being" that is created by that flowing-together, whether it's two rivers becoming a third, new body of water or individual humans becoming a cohesive group gathered for sacred purposes or two people becoming a married couple.

It's communion and creation. Every instance of Confluence results in something new coming into the world.

Confluence helps us to sync up with the universe of which we are an integral part. It helps us find our way in life, and it reminds us that there is a spark of the divine within each of us and throughout the world around us. It’s not just about connection, but about allowing ourselves and our lives to change form as they need to - without trying to enforce constraints on that change.

In the process of performing Confluence, we connect with Kalaeja, a deity who is as hard to define as the Serpent Mother, of whom she is one beautiful facet. We pronounce her name kah-LYE-ah. We are all alive in Kalaeja's dance, flowing together with her and with each other. This is what we celebrate with Confluence.

We perform Confluence by pouring two liquids together - usually just plain water, but other liquids may be appropriate under some circumstances. When you pour two streams of water together, they become a single stream. You can't separate the molecules of one stream from the other once they've mixed. Yes, you can take the combined water and pour it back out into two different containers. But the process of mixing creates irrevocable change in the water. So we are changed by our interactions with each other, the inspirited world around us, and the divine.

Confluence can be performed by itself or as a part of any ritual as long as its symbology is appropriate to the meaning and purpose of the ceremony. It's more than just a libation. Performing Confluence joins the people who are doing the pouring. Individuals can also use it for healing, pouring themselves back together, if you will, and it can be used symbolically, for instance, in marriage ceremonies. I'll be including several versions of it in the upcoming second edition of Ariadne's Thread (release date November 1 of this year, gods willin' and the creek don't rise).

In the meantime, here's how to perform Confluence, if you feel called to do so, either as a stand-alone rite or as part of the Listening portion of a full MMP ritual.

CONFLUENCE

You'll need two containers holding similar amounts of water, plus a third container, a wide bowl that's large enough to hold the combined amount of water after it's poured together. Part of the symbology of Confluence involves the mixing together of the two into one, so don't simply pour the two streams out onto the ground. A receptacle helps to demonstrate and focus the concept of the two waters mixing.

I've written this as a multi-person rite, but a single person can say all the lines and perform all the actions. If you're doing it alone, you need to ask and answer all the questions yourself, out loud.

One person leads the rite, asking the questions and directing the action. This person must wear the color red, preferably on their head, hands, heart, or all three during Confluence, and that red must be visible to the participants. This could mean red jewelry, makeup (lipstick, nail polish, etc.), henna, a hat or hair ornament, even a tattoo with red in it.

The leader begins the rite by saying "Kalaeja is with us" and gesturing by laying their palm on their chest, above their heart, then reaching their hand out, palm up, toward the other participants.

Next they ask the Three Questions aloud:

- Who wishes to pour themselves together?
- Why do you wish to do so?
- How long do you wish to stay blended?

The other participants must answer the questions aloud. The last one is especially important. Confluence is like a light switch: You can set a timer so it goes off automatically at a certain point ("till death do us part" or "as long as love shall last" in a marriage ceremony, for instance) or you can turn it off manually when you're ready, such as at the end of the Listening section of the ritual. But you have to specify when it ends, one way or another.

Then pour the two waters together, slowly, watching the streams dance together as they pour into the bowl. Witnessing the Confluence is as important as pouring the water.

If Confluence will end within the timespan of the ritual, the leader ends it by saying:

"With gratitude we acknowledge the gift of Confluence. The Confluence ends now, but we are changed by it. For a few moments, we wait in silence to make space for who we have become through pouring ourselves together."

Then go on with the rest of your ritual.

After the ritual is over, the water that has been poured into the bowl should be left undisturbed to evaporate. Don't pour it into another container, and be sure to set it where no animal will drink out of it. If you need to move it - maybe you did your ritual at a local park and you need to bring everything home afterwards - you can cover the bowl to transport it. Then uncover it at home and let the water evaporate.

If at any time you wish Confluence to end before it "runs out" based on the answer given to the last of the Three Questions, you'll need to look at your reflection in a water mirror - the reflective surface of still water, preferably in a round container like a bowl. Then, while gazing at your reflection and meditating on the Confluence that you wish to move away from, tap the center of it so the image is dispersed in ripples, then look away from the water. This process is called Dissolution and can be used at any point after Confluence is enacted. The water used for Dissolution should be poured down a drain or into a hole in the ground as soon as the rite is completed.

Incorporated mindfully into your spiritual practice, Confluence can be a beautiful way to flow together with the other beings with whom we share the many worlds.

In the name of the bee,
And of the butterfly,
And of the breeze, amen.

Photo credit Bryan Hewitt, used with permission

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She is the founder and Temple Mom of Modern Minoan Paganism. 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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