One aspect of ritual that we don't often think about until we're armpit-deep in actually performing one is music. The ancient Minoans, like other Bronze Age cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean, used music in ritual - we know because we see it in the art. But we don't know what it sounded like. So how can we incorporate music into Minoan ritual? It's not that hard, really.

Like many aspects of Minoan religion, we have to base our choices on two points: what we see in the archaeological record and what evokes the ancient Minoans to us as modern Pagans. In other words, we have to make some educated guesses as to what Minoan music probably sounded like. We know a lot about Minoan music from Minoan art. And we have a pretty good idea about what other types of ancient music from the Mediterranean and the Near East sounded like. So what we tend to go for in Modern Minoan Paganism is music that makes us feel like we're in the ancient world. It's a psychological trigger, in other words.

If you want actual ancient music for Minoan-themed ritual, some popular choices are:

Another option is modern music that has an ancient feel to it. One of my favorites is Dead Can Dance - their album Into the Labyrinth makes an amazing addition to Minoan ritual. Their latest album Dionysus also has some good choices for evoking that ancient vibe. Another popular choice for Minoan-themed ritual is Daemonia Nymphe. They're a modern group that plays what amounts to neofolk versions of ancient Greek music. Again, the Minoans weren't Greek, but Greek-style music evokes the right time and place, allowing us to connect with the Minoan deities in a modern setting while also feeling that pull toward the ancient world.

Of course, if you wanted to get really enthusiastic, you could learn how to play the lyre or the double-flute (my advice: try the sistrum; it's easier). But recorded music works just fine and adds a marvelous layer of sound and emotion to ritual, making it that much more touching and moving.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.


Image: Portions of the fresco on the Hagia Triada sarcophagus showing a double-flute and lyre being played.