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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Toilet Snobs and other Modern Problems

There's a certain kind of mindset that says that we, the current oh-so-modern inhabitants of the world, are the epitome of social and biological evolution, that we're a massive improvement over everything and everyone who has come before us.

This concept was very popular in Victorian times thanks to Social Darwinism, a misapplication of the concept of evolution to social and cultural contexts. It was simply an easy way for well-off white westerners to feel superior to People of Color and pretty much every single culture that had come before them.

So it came as quite a shock to Victorian society when Sir Arthur Evans uncovered the ruins of Minoan civilization and discovered complex architecture, beautiful naturalistic art and (gasp!) enclosed sewers and flush toilets. It turns out, ancient Crete wasn’t alone in this kind of ‘modernity.’ Almost every house in the ancient Indus Valley cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa had flush toilets attached to a sophisticated system of sewers.

The concept of purely linear cultural and social evolution, of simpler and cruder things always leading to more complex and elegant things, derives from the Christian worldview that offers a beginning (creation) and steady progress to an end (Judgment Day). This viewpoint colors our expectations of ancient cultures and our interpretations of what we find.

But many cultures around the world, especially the ancient world, had a non-linear view of history. They didn't see a straight path from beginning to end so much as an ever-spiraling cycle, like the seasons but on a larger, almost epic, scale.

I think this circular/spiral mindset is more helpful than the linear one as a lens for viewing ancient cultures. It allows us to recognize the ups and downs of history and prehistory, the fact that people have always been intelligent, ingenious, and adaptive - and that cultures have risen and fallen over time, often rediscovering the same technologies over and over again.

There's a second facet to the social Darwinist worldview, and it involves religious belief.

The Victorian-era Christian men who felt sure they were the epitome of social and physical evolution also believed their religion was the most advanced, highly-evolved religion on Earth. They considered all pre-Christian traditions to be primitive, their adherents less than fully intelligent.

This attitude lies subtly in the background even today, encouraging even well-trained archaeologists to suggest that the Minoans worshiped snakes and bulls and the Druids worshiped trees. These archaeologists can’t imagine that the Minoans and the Druids were smart enough to understand the animals and plants as symbols of unseen deity, of the forces behind the natural world.

Mentally, the Minoans and Druids were every bit as sophisticated as we are. Our brains have been the same size for tens of thousands of years. If that bruises the modern ego, then we need to take an honest look at why we feel such a need to be superior to our ancestors. After all, it’s their DNA we carry in our blood and in our bones. If they had been unsuccessful, we wouldn’t be here.

It can be very difficult to tease our way out of our own preconceived notions about how the world works. But it’s important that we do so if we are to view the ancient world as it was rather than as our egos wish it had been.

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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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