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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Minoan
In sickness and in health: Plague thinking in Minoan Crete

The coronavirus pandemic seems to weasel its way into every conversation these days. So I've been thinking about how the ancient Minoans might have dealt with something like this. Communicable disease was a big problem in the ancient world, partly because they didn't have the drugs and medical care that we do, and partly because they didn't always understand how disease spread.

The Minoans were apparently well known for their medical knowledge. The London Medical Papyrus, an Egyptian document, includes two Minoan incantations against disease. These would have been combined with herbal or other therapy, since illness was considered to have a magical or spiritual component as well as a physical one.

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Minoan Historical Fiction for Storytime

If you follow my Youtube channel, you'll know that one of my projects is a series of storytime videos - reading aloud from my own books and some of my longtime favorites by other authors. This time, I'm reading from my most recent novel, The Last Priestess of Malia, a work of historical fiction set in Minoan Crete.

The story centers around a young woman who dedicates herself to the temple and the gods in a time of great chaos and upheaval at the end of Minoan civilization. Though the later parts of the book get into some really heavy stuff that's also unfortunately relevant to our current world (sexism, racism, greed, conquest, xenophobia, colonialism), the earlier parts are largely about the main character's struggle to be "a real priestess" - whatever that means. If you've ever wondered when you're going to feel like you know what you're doing, you'll be able to relate. ;-)

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The Modern Minoan Pantheon: Pairs and Triplets

I'm eyeball-deep in the revisions and updates to Labrys & Horns. As I sift through the conversations we've had in Ariadne's Tribe and the notes I've taken over the past couple of years, the gods and goddesses are sorting themselves into pairs and trios - something I hadn't really expected.

When we began putting together a Minoan pantheon for modern Pagan spiritual practice, we were working with the garbled fragments that have come down via Greek mythology plus some useful information in the fields of archaeoastronomy, dance ethnography, and comparative mythology. We found lots of deities, but they didn't shake out into a human-style family tree the way so many other European pantheons did.

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Labrys & Horns: A second go-round

At the beginning of this year I looked back over 2019 in Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP), musing about how far we've come over such a short time. Writing that post, of course, led me to look back over the years before that, and some things I need to update.

I started Ariadne's Tribe in 2014 because I was looking for other people who were interested in Minoan spirituality. By late 2015, to my utter astonishment, we had a sizable number of members, a pantheon, a sacred calendar, and a set of common practices. At that point, people started asking me to write it all down in a book so they would have a single resource to draw from.

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Red and White: The clues in the colors of Minoan art

For a long time, I wondered what on Earth possessed the Minoans to paint women as white (not Caucasian-toned, but the color of a sheet of paper) and men as dark-dark red. After all, DNA evidence shows that, like their ancestors in Neolithic Anatolia, the Minoans all had skin in various shades of brown. So why the weirdness in the art, like the Bull Leaper fresco above?

Then I began to learn about Mediterranean folk dance. Dance ethnography isn't a subject I ever really thought about before, to be honest. Then a talented dance ethnographer began to share her insights with us, and a lot of things began to make sense. (Check out her book The Ancient and Martial Dances for some fascinating info.)

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My copy of "The Ancient & Martial Dances" arrived in the mail today. It looks intriguing. Thank you for mentioning it.

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Modern Minoan Paganism: Looking back at 2019

2019 was a busy year for Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP). We had our first public ritual, put on by the talented folks of Puget Sound Minoan Pagans at a park in their local area. We made our first official appearance at a Pagan conference, the very awesome Mystic South (we'll be there again this year, hopefully putting on a ritual as well as a workshop). We drew up By-Laws, installed a Board of Directors, and began officially accepting members and chapters (the Puget Sound Minoan Pagans are our first official chapter!). We've topped 1400 members in our Facebook group, which is the official public forum of MMP, and we're still growing.

So yeah, busy year. I expect 2020 isn't going to let us slow down much, either. When I started the Facebook group back in 2014, I was just looking for other folks who shared an interest in Minoan religion and culture. I had no idea we were going to end up with a practicing Pagan tradition. But here we are, and I thank the Mothers every day that I'm surrounded by so many marvelous people whose enthusiasm and skill has helped us move forward in a way that (I hope) serves our members and respects the gods and goddesses with whom we have a formal relationship.

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A Midwinter Labyrinth Journey

The labyrinth: that winding, twisting, single-path maze that takes you surely into the center and out again. Ariadne, the Lady of the Labyrinth, leads us onward and inward, to our own shadow self where the Minotaur helps us face our inner darkness. The labyrinth is a place of exploration and discovery, full of shadows and strange turnings. Let's see where the labyrinth of mythos takes us today.

As we approach the Winter Solstice here in the northern hemisphere, darkness is very much on my mind, as is the labyrinth. In a sense, the labyrinth is a kind of cave. Caves were important sacred sites to the ancient Minoans, and they're important symbols in Modern Minoan Paganism.

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