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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Minoan
The MMP Pantheon: The goddess Ariadne

This is one in a series of blog posts about the MMP pantheon. Find the list of the whole series here.

Ariadne: most people have heard of her, with her ball of string, helping Theseus find his way out of the Labyrinth. If you've been reading this blog for long, you know the Theseus story is Greek, not Minoan, created centuries after the fall of Minoan civilization. Theseus was a Greek culture hero, not a part of the Minoan pantheon. Ariadne, though, is another story. She's a Minoan goddess. So where can we find her in the art of ancient Crete?

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Modern Minoan Paganism: The Full Pantheon

Over the past six years, what began as a tiny collection of people in a FB group has evolved into a full-fledged pagan tradition: Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP). Yes, I'm as astounded as you are. One aspect of that evolution is that we've spent quite a lot of time researching and developing relationships with different deities, some of whom we didn't even realize existed until very recently. Today, I'm sharing with you the full pantheon. Beginning next week, I'll focus on one deity per week, sharing their iconography that we find in Minoan art.

MMP is a revivalist tradition. We're not attempting to reconstruct either the pantheon or the religious practices of the ancient Minoans - that's probably not possible anyway, since we can't read their writing in Linear A. But just be aware that this is the pantheon we use as modern Pagans. We honestly can't say whether or not this is how the Minoans interacted with the deities, but it's pretty clearly the way the gods and goddesses want us to interact with them now.

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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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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • 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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