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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Minoan Processional: Walking the gods in

Most of us who practice Modern Minoan Paganism are solitaries. Our main focus for our spiritual activities is often an altar we've created at home. We might light candles and incense, make offerings, do meditations and devotionals, have conversations with the gods. As with a lot of solitaries, these kinds of activities are often sort of casual. But sometimes, even a solitary wants to do something kind of fancy. And if you have a friend or two to do it with, that's nice, too.

One activity that we don't often think of in terms of modern Pagan ritual is processions. But they were a major part of ancient religious activities, especially in the area of the world where the Minoans lived. We have detailed information about processions from Bronze Age Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia. And there are Minoan frescoes and other works of art that show ritual processions as well (the Corridor of the Processions from Knossos, for instance, and the Hagia Triada sarcophagus).

If it's just you and your gods, then how could you incorporate a procession into your spiritual practice? I have an idea. One of the things those Bronze Age cultures I mentioned above used to do was to carry a deity statue in procession from where it was stored to the place where a ritual was going to be held. Usually the statue was covered up until it reached its destination. Uncovering the statue was the equivalent of invoking the deity: take off the fabric and suddenly the god or goddess is there with you.

I really like this idea. It's gently formal and can be done alone or with others. You don't have to carry the statue all the way across town the way the Egyptians did, or the way Catholics in some countries still do in festive processional parades. You could simply bring it in to the altar from outside the room. I would set the figurine or statue on a tray or some other kind of base instead of carrying it in bare hands, just as a matter of respect.

Bring the deity in and set him/her/them on the altar. Uncover the figurine and begin your ritual: welcome the deity, make your offerings, maybe coil some incense smoke around the statue or anoint it with a special oil. The Egyptians washed and dressed their deity statues, but you don't have to go quite that far unless you feel inspired. We don't have any evidence for or against that practice among the Minoans, though a couple of the late to post-Minoan bell jar goddess figurines do appear to have had ribbons wrapped around them at some time.

The image at the top of this post is a little goddess figurine in a terracotta shrine, found in the Spring Chamber at Knossos. Several similar works of art have been found in other sites on Crete; the fashion continued even past the fall of the cities. These are small terracotta figurines inside shrines that look like little houses. They appear to have had doors on the front originally.

Now, my pottery skills certainly aren't up to creating anything this fancy. But I'm thinking, it wouldn't be too hard to create a variation of this style using something as simple as a cardboard box - maybe a nice, fancy one that a gift came in - and decorating it as a small shrine. Set your favorite deity figurine inside and close the door. Now carry the little shrine into your altar area in a procession, even if it's just a procession of one. Set the shrine on your altar and open the door. The goddess has arrived!

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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