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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Minoan

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Minoan by Any Other Name

If the ancient Minoans were such successful traders with so many other cultures, why don't we hear about them in the writings of those other cultures? Because in the ancient world, they weren't called Minoans.

The term "Minoans" is a 20th-century invention. Sir Arthur Evans, the British archaeologist who unearthed the temple complex at Knossos, had been chasing a set of myths for years: King Minos, the Labyrinth, Ariadne and the Minotaur. Like Heinrich Schliemann, who wanted to prove the truth of the tales in Homer's epic works by digging up the real city of Troy, Evans wanted to prove the historicity of the myths about ancient Crete.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    I really enjoyed this and look forward to learning more about the "Minoans". I love the way you combine mystery, historicity and i
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thank you! I try to make it clear where I'm speculating or working off gnosis (mine and/or that of others). But there's simply so
Minoan Seal Rings and their Mysterious Floating Objects

If you look at one of the amazingly detailed Minoan gold seal rings, you might see a tiny human figure hovering as if it's descending from the heavens. These are usually interpreted as a god or goddess coming down to their worshipers: an epiphany scene. But what about all the other strange shapes that float in the air on the seal rings?

Given the Minoans' focus (obsession, maybe) with astronomy, there's a strong possibility that those floating objects represent constellations. One clue is that they always show up in the same position relative to each other, no matter how many or few of them are on the ring.

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Reconstructing Minoan Art: Don't bet your religion on it

As we develop a spiritual practice in Modern Minoan Paganism, one of the sources we look to for inspiration is ancient Minoan art. After all, we have dozens of beautiful frescoes that tell us so much about the world of Bronze Age Crete. Or do they? It turns out, an awful lot of what we think we know is guesswork, often of the worst kind.

That beautiful image at the top of this post is the Prince of the Lilies fresco from Knossos. It's one of my favorite pieces of Minoan art. In fact, it's what inspired me to create The Minoan Tarot. Sir Arthur Evans pointed to it as evidence that there was, indeed, a king ruling at Knossos in Minoan times. But that picture up top is a reconstruction, an artist's rendering of what the original might have looked like, and many people consider it to be totally inaccurate. Let's have a look at the original as it's displayed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum:

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  • Teresa Byrne
    Teresa Byrne says #
    Thank you for this honest look at Minoan art. There is so much misinformation out there which is extremely frustrating.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan Cooking: A taste of the ancient world

One way we can connect with ancient cultures is by exploring their daily lives: how they cooked, dressed, worked, played, and so on. These are things we all do, things we in the modern world can relate to and that can help make ancient people more real to us. And this, in turn, can help us connect with their spirituality.

So how about the Minoans? Let's explore their food a little bit so we can get a taste (ahem) of what their life was like.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Starry Night: Minoan Astronomy

Like many other ancient cultures, the Minoans were accomplished astronomers. Their mythology, their artifacts, and their architecture reflect their fascination with the 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 thus 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:

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Adventures in Sort-of-Reconstruction: Modern Minoan Paganism

Modern Minoan Paganism is something of a hybrid, combining reconstructionism (to the extent that we can) with a lot of do-it-yourself methods: shared personal gnosis, shamanic journeying, psychic archaeology. We're not trying to revive the exact religious practices of the ancient Minoans because, to be honest, we really can't. And there are all sorts of obstacles in our way, even if we did want to revive "the real thing."

We can't read the Linear A script that the Minoans used to write their own language. Yes, someone or other comes out with a supposed "translation" every few years but they're always wrong; any well-trained linguist will tell you that we simply don't have enough text to do a proper decipherment. There are a few things we can tell about the script, but we honestly can't read it so we don't Minoan texts to go by (yes, I'm positively envious of the Norse and Irish reconstructionists and all their historic texts).

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Book Review: The Dawn of Genius - Minoan super-civilization?

I freely admit to reading pretty much anything I can get my hands on about the ancient Minoans, simply because there's not that much available. I began this particular book with a bit of trepidation, since its cover is full of hype ("The Minoan Super-Civilization and the Truth about Atlantis" is a bit much, I think). The author, Alan Butler, has previously collaborated with Christopher Knight to write some fairly controversial books such as The Hiram Key Revisited and Before the Pyramids, which didn't help my confidence. Fortunately, it appears that when he's writing by himself, Mr. Butler does an excellent job of collecting up known facts and strong evidence and drawing reasonable conclusions from them. The cover is the wildest thing about the book; I quite enjoyed the contents.

So what's the book about? The first section does an excellent job of organizing and explaining the things we know fairly surely about the ancient Minoans, including all the latest data that often gets left out of the articles that get passed around online so frequently (the book was published in 2014 so it's pretty up-to-date). Unlike many writers who rely on outdated references, Butler gets the timeline right: The Mediterranean island of Thera (modern Santorini) erupted in about 1628 BCE, dealing a heavy blow to Minoan civilization and creating a weakness that allowed the Mycenaeans to enter into their sphere and eventually take over (and ultimately, destroy Minoan culture since they don't seem to have been able to adapt well enough to wrangle Crete's stubborn native population into compliance). Minoan civilization itself officially ended about two centuries after the eruption, with the systematic destruction of all the major cities and temple complexes.

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