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 not a 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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How do you do Minoan?

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I’ve been asked all sorts of questions about Modern Minoan Paganism, but the most common one is probably also the most fundamental: How do you do it? In other words, how do you actually practice this spiritual path?

To start with, I’d like to point out that this is a very individualistic path. It’s not a monolithic tradition with a set of rules and regulations everyone has to follow. It’s more like an umbrella structure under which each person can tweak the details in the way that they find most satisfying. So you start with the basics: the gods and goddesses of ancient Crete and their stories. Then you approach them in the way that makes the most sense for you.

When I began working seriously with the Minoan pantheon more than twenty years ago, I belonged to a Wiccan group, so I ran rituals with a Wiccan format and Minoan deities (that’s where all the rituals in Ariadne’s Thread originated). I learned pretty fast that the Minoan gods and goddesses weren’t too keen on taking part in purely Wiccan-style rituals, at least not for me, so I modified the forms to suit them. The resulting rituals have been time-tested and work well for groups. But not everyone is part of a group or even wants to be.

I haven’t taken a survey, but I get the feeling that the vast majority of people who honor the Minoan deities are solitaries. The Internet brings us together in cyberspace but we’re pretty scattered on the physical plane, so we do most of our spiritual work alone. And that works just fine for Modern Minoan Paganism.

The simplest way to start is to set up an altar to whichever deity or deities call to you. Archaeologists have found many home shrines at sites in Crete, so we know this is something the ancient Minoans did. There are no rules about what has to go on your altar or where it should be positioned. Do a little research, sure, but also use your intuition when you’re deciding what to include. I believe the gods understand that the world changes with time, so you don’t have to replicate an ancient Minoan altar. Create something that works for you.

Like many other cultures of the time, the Minoans made offerings at their home altars as well as at the temples, peak sanctuaries, and cave shrines. They set out fruit, flowers, bread, and incense and poured libations of wine and probably also milk. These are things that are easy to do at your own altar. Listen to your inner voice and figure out what kind of offering the gods would like, what you should give them.

Though we don’t know for sure exactly how the Minoans connected with their gods and goddesses, it’s a good bet they did something along the lines of prayer and meditation. Talking to deity is something people have done practically forever. How you do it is up to you, but as long as you’re focused and respectful, you’ll get through.

If you’d like more details about practicing Modern Minoan Paganism as a solitary, I’ll be brazen here and recommend my newest book Labrys and Horns. But honestly, the most important thing you can do is listen and let the gods lead you. They're still there, waiting for us to turn our faces towards them.

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 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, you can find me in the garden or giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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