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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Getting stuck in the MMP Pantheon series

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I figured this would happen sooner or later. I guess I'm lucky I made it through so much of the Modern Minoan Paganism pantheon before it happened.

For nearly a year now I've been writing posts in the MMP Pantheon series, talking about where we can find our deities in Minoan art. Some of the connections are pretty obvious - the Serpent-Mother and the Snake Goddess figurines, for instance. But some aren't as easy to see.

Minos, for instance. We've come to know him pretty well in the five years since I wrote this blog post about the possibility that he's a Moon god (spoiler: he is, but that's not all he is). He is so strongly connected with Crete that he survived the Bronze Age collapse to appear in the classical era as the king of the island. Then Sir Arthur Evans named the culture of Bronze Age Crete after him - the Minoans - so in a sense, he's ever-present even now.

But where does he appear in the art?

It's often hard to place the Minoan deities in the art of ancient Crete. Unlike later eras, when people like the Greeks and Romans portrayed their gods and goddesses in standard human form, the Minoans appear to largely have avoided directly depicting the divine. With the exception of the tiny floating epiphany figures on the seal rings, which show gods and goddesses appearing to their followers, we don't have any real pictures of the deities. What we have instead are images of priests and priestesses enacting rituals in which they became trance possessed by gods and goddesses.

There are Minoan seal stones that show male figures in priestly robes, often holding objects such as ceremonial maces or accompanied by certain animals. These seals probably depict men who were priests of specific gods - not the gods themselves - but it may be as close as we can come to finding images of some deities.

Some deities may be depicted in more abstract form, such as spirals or rosettes. Give our experiences with Minos, especially in the context of scrying in water on a starry night, it's possible that images that invoke the starry sky might reference him. This includes designs like the interlinked spirals on the Cycladic "frying pans" (they're not cookware, but funerary furnishings - they were given that name because of their shape). Crescent Moon shapes may also be his symbols. We just can't be sure, especially given the connection between the horns of the Moon and the male Horned Gods. The one thing we are pretty sure of is that the sacred horns aren't Minos' symbol.

So we're left wondering, when we look at Minoan art, whether Minos will be looking back at us while we go on blithely not recognizing him. Such are the adventures of revivalist spirituality!

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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