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: 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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Minoan Fate: Ariadne, Arachne, Ananke

I've been thinking a lot about Fate lately, what with all the crazy things going on in the Big World. Fate has always been a focal point for people's thoughts, and the Fate goddesses of the ancient pantheons have a lot to teach us. There is, of course, a Minoan Fate goddess. In MMP, we call her Arachne.

But over time some of her traits shifted to another deity: Ariadne.

My first clue that Ariadne had some Fate goddess traits should, in retrospect, have been obvious: she has a thread.

That's my artwork up top, the Fate (Wheel of Fortune) card from my Minoan Tarot deck, inspired by a fresco from Akrotiri that depicts Therasia, but also giving a nod to Ariadne and Arachne as well. In the Greek version of Ariadne's story, which dates to almost a millennium after Minoan times, Ariadne is just a girl who uses a ball of string to aid the Greek culture hero Theseus. But really, she's much more than that.

She is the Queen of the Dead, the head of the Melissae, the Minoan bee-spirit goddesses, and that makes her the Queen Bee. It also makes her a psychopomp, a bearer of souls to the Underworld upon the death of the body, and a major player in the Mysteries.

And of course, there's the Labyrinth and the fabled ball of string.

Her thread leads us to the center of the Labyrinth, the sacred journey to our own inner being and the darkness that dwells there - not so we can slay the monster but so we can integrate our shadow self, our demons and wounds, and become whole again. To me, this says a lot about the kind of goddess Ariadne is and the kind of worldview the Minoans had. We're not victims of Fate; we have agency. Sure, the path is laid out, but what we choose to do with it is up to us.

When I first dedicated myself to the Minoan path many years ago, I was blessed with a vision, the memory of my own birth into this world. The goddess who introduced this vision called herself Arachne, and I was pretty confused since the only version of Arachne's story I had ever heard came from Hellenic Greek mythology. But she insisted she was originally Minoan, a close relative of Ariadne, and I believed her. I even ended up taking her name as one of my sacred names; I still have friends who call me Arachne. It probably helped that I was making my living as a weaver at the time!

As my relationship with these beautiful and complex goddesses has evolved, I've discovered that another of Arachne's names is Ananke, which is often translated as "necessity." In the Hellenic pantheon, she is considered a primordial deity - always existing from the beginning of time (or perhaps, before time began). At the very least, she existed before Hellenic Greek times, before the LBA collapse. I suspect she goes back to the earliest (pre-Indo-European) settlers on Crete and in Greece, who may even have brought her on their journeys into Europe from Anatolia in Neolithic times. She feels unaccountably old to me, beyond time, in a way the other deities don't.

So Ariadne has a thread, the thread of Fate borrowed from Arachne, that guides each of our lives. But she has her own thread as well, and it weaves its way back through time, through many names and places, to the very heart of things.

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 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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