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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Harbor Home: The Safety of Return

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The Minoans were a seafaring people. They traveled, explored, and traded all over the Mediterranean Sea and possibly beyond it. But that sea travel wasn't a year-round thing. It had a season.

In the Mediterranean, even now, the winter is not the best time to be out on a boat. The winds can be harsh, the water choppy, the weather unpredictable. It was far more dangerous back in the Bronze Age, before the era of long-distance communication and meteorology. The Minoans had a positive relationship with Grandmother Ocean, but they were skilled enough sailors to know better than to push it. Nature is bigger than we are.

The winter was also the time to repair the ships and store them safely in the huge shipsheds located in ports around the coast of Crete. Time to rest and plan for next year's journeys. Like farming, the sailing year had its own rhythm.

So the Minoans and other seafaring peoples around the Mediterranean sailed only during the warmer months of the year. In Modern Minoan Paganism, we celebrate the opening and closing of the sailing season with two festivals: The Blessing of the Ships and Harbor Home.

The Blessing of the Ships takes place in mid-May (the third Monday in May to be exact), at a time that would have been marked by the heliacal rising of the Pleiades back in the Bronze Age. So the ships would have been sailing all summer long, taking goods and merchants around the Mediterranean, sharing objects and ideas with other people and cultures.

But now we're nearing the end of sailing season. In MMP, we've set Harbor Home on the third Monday in October, at roughly the time that would have been the heliacal setting of the Pleiades back in the Bronze Age. And yes, we purposely chose floating dates for our sailing-focused festivals. ;-)

Back in Minoan times, Harbor Home would have been a joyous yet bittersweet holiday. The people who stayed home wouldn't have heard from their seagoing family and friends for the whole season. They wouldn't know, until each ship sailed safely into the harbor, that their loved ones were all right.

And of course, not every person or ship made it back home safely. That's the bittersweet part. Every year, a few traders would have died in foreign lands. A few sailors would have died at sea. None of their bodies would be brought home for burial; that simply wasn't safe. So only the news of their passing would make it back to the home port.

We don't know exactly what the Minoans did to observe the end of sailing season. But in MMP, we take Harbor Home as the opportunity to make offerings to Posidaeja, usually in the form of libations of pure water and biodegradable offerings like fresh flowers. We give thanks for the safe return of those who have traveled during the past year (note that in the northern hemisphere, Harbor Home falls just past the end of summer vacation season). We also mourn our losses, whatever bad things might have happened during those journeys.

Harbor Home is also the time to decommission boats, cars, and other modes of travel - to give them a funeral of sorts. We name ships, and many of us name our other vehicles, which points to them being quasi-living things (or inspirited things, from an animist point of view). So it only makes sense that we would give them a sacred "goodbye" when it's time their journeys to be over, when they've come back to port after their final foray.

So Harbor Home is a bit of a bittersweet holiday. We welcome home the living; we bless the dead; and we give thanks to Grandmother Ocean for all the gifts she has given us.

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

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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 head facilitator 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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