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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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. What I didn't realize until I had been in relationship with the Minoan deities for some time is that there is a Minoan Fate goddess. You may know her as Ariadne.

My first clue that Ariadne is a Fate goddess should, in retrospect, have been obvious: She has a thread. That's my picture of her up top, the Fate (Wheel of Fortune) card from my Minoan Tarot deck. 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 strapping hero Theseus. But really, she's much more than that.

She is the Queen of the Dead, the head of the Melissae, the ancestral bee-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. That's an appropriate responsibility for a Fate goddess, if you ask me.

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 Fate goddess Ariadne is. We're not victims; 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, an aspect of Ariadne, and I believed her. I even ended up taking her name as my ritual name; 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 this complex goddess has evolved, I've discovered that another of her 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. 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 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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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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