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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ritual
Honoring the Dead: Secondary Burial in Minoan Crete

[Content Warning: This post contains a photo of human skeletal remains.]

When we talk about funerals, many of us think of the deceased being either cremated or buried in a grave, and that's the end of the process. But for the ancient Minoans, it was only the beginning.

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You’re invited to a Samhain ritual

You’re invited to a Samhain ritual. It will be held via teleseminar (group phone-call). Simply dial your phone, and you’re in. No other equipment needed. Attendance is free.

 

Dial-in number and other details for this one-hour ceremony are in my upcoming newsletter. Subscribe for free: https://outlawbunny.com/newsletter/ 

 

Samhain is a major holiday for many Pagans. The holiday has various aspects. Here are a few: 

* It is similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead, in that it is a time to honor and visit with ancestors.

* It is a harvest festival.

* Many Pagans celebrate the New Year at this time, instead of on January 1.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Much Is Good Ritual Worth?

How much is good ritual worth?

I have a friend who's a shaman. (That's not the term that she would use, but it will suffice for our purposes here.) She's the real thing. Anyone that knows her knows that she's the real thing.

She charges $400 an hour.

When people come to her for ritual or for teaching, she tells them: My fee is $400 an hour. How many hours do you think you'll need?

 

Unlike the ancestors, a lot of modern pagans are squiffy about paying for ritual. In a situation in which few traditions have much time-depth, and anyone who declares herself an expert can pass as such—at least for a time—that's perhaps understandable, but it also explains the currently low standard of so much contemporary pagan ritual.

What it doesn't explain is why so many people who are willing to pay a trained expert to fix their cars, their plumbing, or their wiring, expect ritualists to work for free.

Few pagan ritual experts receive a salary from a congregation. Like everyone else, ritualists have families to raise and bills to pay.

With ritual—as with most other things—you get what you pay for.

 

My shaman friend was invited to be a guest at a local festival. When she arrived, she introduced herself to one of the festival's organizers, a woman widely known in the local community as a notoriously incompetent ritualist.

“Oh, I know who you are,” the woman told my friend. “You're the one who charges for ritual.”

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Incense for Ancient Minoans and Modern Pagans

Like so many other ancient cultures, the Minoans used incense in a sacred setting. Though we can't be certain of the exact uses, it appears that they burned incense as offerings and to purify sacred areas such as ritual rooms, altars, and shrines. These were common practices in the Bronze Age Mediterranean region.

They didn't have the incense sticks and cones that so many of us are familiar with; those are self-igniting due to their saltpeter content. Just hold a flame to the end and voila, incense smoke! What they did have was hot coals and chopped or powdered incense mixtures.

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The Blessing of the Ships: A Minoan celebration

Minoan culture centered on the island of Crete, which lies in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Greece. The Minoans were a seagoing people: they fished, they traded, and they traveled in boats and ships. So it makes sense that they would have incorporated these major facets of their lives into their spiritual practice.

We don't know for certain what the Minoans did to bless ships before a voyage. But tidbits that made it through the Bronze Age collapse and ended up in the works of later writers, combined with archaeoastronomy research, suggest that the Minoan sailing season had a definite beginning and ending: the heliacal rising of the Pleiades in May and the heliacal setting of that constellation in late October.* This makes sense, given that the winds during the wintertime would have made sailing in that era quite hazardous (not that it's a whole lot easier today, but at least we have modern gadgetry and gas-powered engines to help).

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Music for Ritual in Modern Minoan Paganism

One aspect of ritual that we don't often think about until we're armpit-deep in actually performing one is music. The ancient Minoans, like other Bronze Age cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean, used music in ritual - we know because we see it in the art. But we don't know what it sounded like. So how can we incorporate music into Minoan ritual? It's not that hard, really.

Like many aspects of Minoan religion, we have to base our choices on two points: what we see in the archaeological record and what evokes the ancient Minoans to us as modern Pagans. In other words, we have to make some educated guesses as to what Minoan music probably sounded like. We know a lot about Minoan music from Minoan art. And we have a pretty good idea about what other types of ancient music from the Mediterranean and the Near East sounded like. So what we tend to go for in Modern Minoan Paganism is music that makes us feel like we're in the ancient world. It's a psychological trigger, in other words.

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The Blessing of the Waters: Building Modern Minoan Paganism

Since the Minoans aren't around anymore and we can't read the things they wrote (Linear A has not been deciphered), we have to build our practice of Modern Minoan Paganism based on whatever kind of inspiration we can find.

It turns out, there are still remnants of ancient rites that cling to life in the folk practices of Crete and other parts of Europe in this Christian era. You probably already knew this: the Christian church took over Pagan practices and renamed them, like the Irish goddess Brigit becoming a Christian saint.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Alethea Leondakis
    Alethea Leondakis says #
    I only discovered this yesterday, but I believe in 2015 or 2016, the Phaistos discus was decoded. Here is a link where it is read
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm given to understand that in Venice there's a Great Blessing of the Waters to mark the beginning of sailing season; if Minoan C
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    That would be a separate rite and would involve Posidaeja, the Minoan sea goddess, rather than the spirits of local streams and la

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