I've been in relationship with the Minoan gods and goddesses since I was a teenager, but it was only a few years ago that Modern Minoan Paganism began to take shape as a specific spiritual path. I've been walking that path with the lovely folks in Ariadne's Tribe, and together we're creating a tradition that works for us as Pagans in the modern world. The hardest part, believe it or not, is explaining what we do to other people.

The name Modern Minoan Paganism gives you a pretty good idea from the start: We're combining the bits and pieces we know about ancient Minoan religion and culture in a modern Pagan context. We can't really reconstruct ancient Minoan religious practice in detail. There are too many gaps in our knowledge, we don't live in the same kind of culture the Minoans did, and we probably don't want to go back to sacrificing bulls and goats (and possibly people) anyway.

But if we're not a reconstructionist tradition, then what are we? How can what we do be expressed in less than, say, four paragraphs?

We're a revivalist tradition.

The Roman Revivalists put it really well on their website: Their tradition is about "recognizing historical sources while adding the breath of our modern culture to create a vibrant, living, fully immersed spiritual practice."

I think that describes Modern Minoan Paganism pretty well. We begin with what we know about the ancient Minoans, but we add our experience as modern Pagans. We listen to the gods and let them guide us.

We acknowledge that Minoan religion was a somewhat syncretic practice as well. The Minoans traveled far and wide, and people came to ancient Crete from all over the place to trade. The Minoans adopted versions of the Egyptian deities Bes and Taweret into their spiritual practice. They brought in sphinxes from Egypt, griffins from Mesopotamia, lions from mainland Greece and Anatolia to add to their religious iconography.

Many of us honor deities from multiple pantheons, depending on our personal inclinations and backgrounds. The Minoans would have understood this; they were a cosmopolitan people.

While we can't (or possibly, shouldn't) reconstruct ancient Minoan religion in full the way it was practiced four thousand years ago, we do aim to restore Minoan spirituality to its rightful place in the world: practiced out in the open, available and welcoming to all, a support and (I hope) a balm for our time.

So welcome to Modern Minoan Paganism, a revivalist tradition and a welcoming path.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.