Ariadne's Tribe: Minoan Spirituality for the Modern World

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan family of deities. Ariadne's Tribe is an independent spiritual tradition that brings the deities 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 Ariadne's Tribe at We're an inclusive, welcoming tradition, open to all who share our love for the Minoan deities and respect for our fellow human beings.

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Starry, Starry Night: Minoan Astronomy

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Like many other ancient cultures, the Minoans were accomplished astronomers. Their mythology, their artifacts, and their architecture reflect their fascination with the tiny twinkling lights that moved through the night sky as well as the brightest sky-light of all, the Sun. As so many other societies around the world have done, they incorporated this astronomical knowledge into their mythology and their spiritual practice.

With the Great American Eclipse just a couple of days ago, I began thinking about the Minoans' ability to predict eclipses. There is some contention that this stone die found near Palaikastro is an eclipse calculator:


Minoan stone die found near Palaikastro


There's a very interesting paper about this possibility that was published in the International Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry. You can read it here.

It's especially telling that the image of this piece, as published by Sir Arthur Evans, is slightly inaccurate. The authors of the paper I linked in the previous paragraph used high-resolution photos of the object from the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to study it closely, discovering that the drawing above is not an accurate reproduction of the details. This demonstrates how important it is to have accurate images of artifacts if we're going to figure out how they were actually used.

The so-called stone kernos from Malia (a kernos is a receptacle for multiple poured liquid offerings) is also a possible eclipse predictor:


Stone kernos from Malia, Crete


The researchers who figured out that this object can be used to predict eclipses did so with simple math. I do, however, have to disagree with their opinion that since the kernos can be used to predict eclipses, it's not a religious or sacred object. Astronomy was part and parcel with religion throughout the ancient world, and the Minoans were no different.

There are also some interesting ceramic objects that rather obviously aren't frying pans, even though that's what archaeologists call them, due to their overall shape. Here's one that was found at Hagia Photia in far eastern Crete:


So-called frying pan from Hagia Photia


These objects have decorations that appear to be related to the celestial cycles of Venus, Saturn, and the Sun, among others and may very well have been used to calculate those cycles. A lot of this analysis has to do with the numbers of dots and other symbols on these objects, yet another example of why it's so very important to have accurate drawings and high-resolution photos to study.

The Minoans were great traders; they had contact with the Egyptians, the cultures of Mesopotamia and the Levant, and others around the Mediterranean and beyond. There's no question that they were familiar with the Egyptian and Sumerian star charts and constellation systems, though it's likely the Minoans had their own version that reflected their mythos in the same way that other cultures' constellations illustrated their particular mythologies.

For more information about Minoan astronomy, particularly regarding the way Minoan temples, tombs, peak sanctuaries, and other buildings were aligned to the movements of the planets and stars, have a look at Mary Blomberg, Göran Henriksson, and Peter Blomberg's website: Minoan Astronomy. They're archaeoastronomers from Uppsala University and have spent years researching this stuff.

This is just a small sampling of the evidence of the Minoans' fascination with the "shinies" that move around the sky. Like people from the very beginning of time, they looked up at the night sky with wonder and awe and saw something profound and sacred in the motion of the universe.

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She's the founder and Temple Mom of Ariadne's Tribe, an inclusive Minoan spiritual tradition. 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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