Modern Minoan Paganism: Walking with Ariadne's Tribe

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan pantheon. Modern Minoan Paganism is an independent polytheist spiritual tradition that brings the gods and goddesses of the ancient Minoans alive in the modern world. We're a revivalist tradition, not a reconstructionist one; we rely heavily on shared gnosis and the practical realities of Paganism in the modern world. Ariadne's thread reaches across the millennia to connect us with the divine. Will you follow where it leads?

Find out all about Modern Minoan Paganism on our website: https://ariadnestribe.wordpress.com/. We're a welcoming tradition, open to all who share our love for the Minoan deities and respect for our fellow human beings.

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If it's fake, can it still be inspiring?

Forged artifacts are a fact of life in the archaeological community. How should we, as Pagans who rely on archaeology for our religion, relate to these objects?

I've written before about the problems with the large numbers of forged Minoan artifacts that are still in circulation, many of them in museums. Thankfully, the museums are now recognizing the lack of authenticity and provenance of many of these forgeries and sharing that information with the public.

A related issue is the incorrect reconstruction of Minoan frescoes. Obviously, if an ancient work of art is reconstructed wrong, it's going to give us inaccurate ideas about the culture it came from. Even the Snake Goddess figurines that we're sure are genuine are partially reconstructed, and those reconstructions may include errors.

So it's clear that we can't reconstruct ancient Minoan religion from forged artifacts or incorrectly reconstructed ones.

Does that mean we have to discard them altogether? Maybe not.

Consider, for example, the Maiden-Mother-Crone framework that Robert Graves invented as part of his Pagan poetic myth. It's not at all historical, but it's internally consistent, and it resonates for many people as a viable basis for their spiritual practice. In other words, it works, even if it's not ancient.

The same goes for the forged Snake Goddess figurines and other artifacts (the Ring of Minos, for instance). As long as we recognize that they're only a century old, we can still reasonably incorporate them into our modern spiritual practice.

After all, my Minoan altar has a modern footed cake plate as an offering stand. It's not at all a reproduction of an ancient Minoan artifact, but it's functional and attractive, similar in style to many Minoan offering stands, and it inspires me.

Those forged Snake Goddess figurines also inspire a lot of people. They help modern Pagans connect with the Minoan deities. They resonate with us.

As long as we're honest about their provenance, there's no reason not to include them in our modern spiritual practice. I suspect the Serpent Mother is happy that there are more ways to connect with her. Who knows - maybe she's the one who triggered the Snake Goddess Mania in the early 20th century that resulted in the creation of all these forgeries.

I wouldn't put it past her.

In the name of the bee,
And of the butterfly,
And of the breeze, amen.

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Laura Perry is an artist, writer, and the founder and facilitator of Modern Minoan Paganism. The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete have been a passion of hers since a fateful art history class introduced her to the frescoes of Knossos back in high school. Her first book was published in 2001; one of her most recent works is Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. She has also created a Minoan Tarot deck and a Minoan coloring book. When she's not busy drawing and writing, you can find her in the garden or giving living history demonstrations at local historic sites.

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