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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Modern Minoan Paganism

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Mother's Love, Minoan Style

Whenever I check on my blog statistics, I always find that the post I wrote about topless Minoan women is the number one in terms of hits. The female breast is such a source of titillation (ha!) in modern society, it's hard to wrap our minds around the idea that exposed breasts might have represented something other than sexual innuendo to the ancient Minoans. But we're pretty sure they did.

In addition to the frescoes and figurines that show women with exposed breasts, Minoan art also includes quite a few representations of animals suckling their young. The image at the top of this blog is a drawing of a faience plaque found at Knossos. It shows a mama goat suckling a kid. There's a similar plaque with a cow and her calf. Images of mother animals suckling their young - cattle, goats, sheep, even deer - appear on a number of Minoan seals.

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Chasing the Minoan Sun Goddess: two book reviews

Modern Pagans are used to pantheons that have a Sun god and a Moon goddess. But it hasn't always been that way. Some of the oldest and earliest religions in the world have a Sun goddess. When we went looking for the Minoan deity who was associated with the Sun, we found not a god but a goddess. We call her Therasia.

How did we find her? Two books were very helpful, as was the author of one of them. Until I read The Ancient and Martial Dances by Arlechina Verdigris, I had no idea that dance ethnography could be such a powerful tool for teasing out bits of mythos. Ms. Verdigris's study of Mediterranean folk dance shows clearly that it still holds layers that go back at least to late Minoan times, and probably much earlier, giving glimpses of not only a Sun goddess but also a grain goddess and the Mountain Mother who rules over the crafts that use her substance to create beautiful objects: pottery and metal-smithing.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Minoan Paganism: Ecstatic upraised arms

Strike a pose! Ecstatic postures have been a part of human religious practice for millennia, possibly going back as far as the Paleolithic. I've explored ecstatic postures and their place in Modern Minoan Paganism before. They're a kind of spiritual "tech" - like yoga and tai chi, ecstatic postures make energy move via the mechanism of holding the body in particular ways. We find examples of these postures in the form of votive figurines from Minoan sacred sites such as cave shrines and peak sanctuaries. The best-known of these postures is probably the famed Minoan salute.

Most ecstatic postures appear to have been used by spiritworkers and worshipers to journey to specific places in the Otherworld or to connect with particular deities or spirits. In that sense, the usual museum label of "worshiper figurine" is accurate.

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Modern Minoan Paganism: Reconstruction vs. revival

I spend a lot of time telling people that Modern Minoan Paganism is not a reconstructionist tradition. But the issue is actually a little more complicated than that.

When I was at Mystic South this past summer, one of the other presenters, Joseph Beofeld, attended my workshop about Modern Minoan Paganism. What was his presenation about? Reconstructionism! He came up to me afterward and pointed out that even though I had said we aren't a reconstructionist tradition, we use reconstructionist methods extensively. And that's quite true.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
There's more than one Minoan goddess!

When I mention "Minoan," most people think of the famous Snake Goddess figurines. And many people think those figurines represent "the Minoan goddess," as if there were only one of them. But there are many Minoan goddesses, not just one.

In fact, there's a whole pantheon.

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Hands of Great Skill: A few "handy" Minoan deities

Modern Minoan Paganism's pantheon includes a variety of gods and goddesses with varying attributes. One group I haven't talked much about is the set of deities we call Hands of Great Skill: those whose purview is highly skilled handcrafts of various sorts.

Taking the raw materials of the Earth and transforming them, turning them into something new and different: that's a kind of magic. Rhea's gifts to us - clay and metal ore - are the body of the Earth Mother, offered up to those whose can make blades from rocks and vessels from mud using their hands and the equally magical power of fire.

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Calendar conundrums: harvest time in Modern Minoan Paganism

Over the past few days, my family and I have celebrated Lammas, a European harvest festival. But we don't include Lammas in the sacred calendar for Modern Minoan Paganism. Why not? First, there's the fact that the modern Neopagan eight-fold wheel of the year hadn't been invented yet back in the Bronze Age. But there's also the fact that in the Mediterranean, this isn't harvest time.

Many of us live in the northern temperate zone - the parts of North America and Eurasia that have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter. Those seasons may be milder or more severe depending on the local climate, but they're still there.

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