It’s terribly frustrating trying to figure out what the ancient Minoans did in terms of religion – what they believed, how they practiced – because we can’t read anything they wrote. They were a literate culture, to be sure. They had both a hieroglyphic script and a syllabary. But we can’t read either one of them. There are clues, though.
The Cretan syllabary is commonly known as Linear A. It was used to write the native language of the ancient Minoans, which probably died out with the collapse of Minoan civilization in the second millennium BCE. However, there is a possibility that Eteocretan, which is attested as late as the 3rd century BCE, is either the native Minoan language or a direct descendant of it.
It is, for many of us, a language that we are still learning to speak. We may have been speaking this tongue for many years--decades, in some cases--but it is still, nonetheless, not our mother tongue.
This fact has implications. We may have mastered the grammar and have a large vocabulary. We may, over the years, have become fluent speakers of Pagan. But we are still not native speakers, and we never will be.
After I wrote about liminality recently, I have been thinking about change and how we create it in our lives. Affirmations are a magical tool that can be very powerful, but only when constructed well. Using the present progressive tense to craft affirmations puts them in a form that draws on the Element of Fire and makes them much more effective tools for transformation.
Fun fact about me: I have a degree in speech-language pathology, and my concentration was in clinical phonology with a heavy emphasis on linguistics. I love studying the sound systems of a language and how sounds are tied to meaning. Today I happened across Forvo, a linguistic site that specializes in using native speakers to demonstrate how to pronounce words. It is single words and not sentences, but it's still helpful in developing an ear for nonnative speakers.
Of course, Forvo has a list of Norse mythology terms and many other languages as well. I hope that resources such as this will help preserve and protect against linguistic extinction. Every language has its own way of expressing a view of the world, and the language we speak undoubtedly shapes the way we think about everything in the inner and outer world. As Pagans we are explorers of other worlds, and so preservation of language is as precious as any other resource.