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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Laura Perry

Laura Perry

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.
The Hagia Triada Swinger: Minoan Playtime or Ritual?

One of the tricky bits about basing a modern spiritual practice on an ancient culture is interpreting the artifacts that archaeologists have discovered.

Case in point: The Hagia Triada Swinger (image above).

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Minoan 3D Offerings

The Minoans were big on offerings. They made all manner of offering stands, libation pitchers, and other paraphernalia for their altars and shrines. And they used these ritual vessels to hold items and substances such as bread, fruit, flowers, wine, honey, seeds, and even wool.

But there are some interesting ritual vessels from Palaikastro that come pre-filled with little ceramic offerings. Were these models of offerings meant to replace the real thing? To be a reinforcement of what was put in the offering dish? Or to be some other kind of symbol - a reference to the deity the offering was given to, for instance, or a depiction of what they wanted the deities to protect?

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The Minoan Pantheon: Sun Goddess and Moon God

A lot of people show up in Ariadne's Tribe expecting to find a Minoan Moon goddess. Heck, I expected one when I first began incorporating the Minoan pantheon into my spiritual practice decades ago. Imagine my surprise when our research turned up a Minoan Sun goddess instead. (And a bunch of other goddesses, for that matter. There is no single "Minoan goddess" the way Sir Arthur Evans conceived of Minoan religion; like everyone else in the Bronze Age, the Minoans were polytheists.)

The trick to understanding why there's a Minoan Sun goddess and Moon god and not the other way around has to do with who the Minoans were and where they came from.

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The Minoan Tarot: An Artist's Journey

Pagans are often a "bootstrapping" sort of people: We do things for ourselves, sometimes because we want to, often because we have to. I'm pretty sure a lot of Pagan resources come into being because someone went looking for something, couldn't find it, and ended up creating it themselves.

That is exactly how the Minoan Tarot was born.

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The trouble with Minoan deity names

You may have noted that in these blog posts I use phrases like "the god we call Korydallos" or "the goddess we call Therasia." That's because we have an interesting conundrum with some of the Minoan deities: we don't know what the Minoans called them.

Some deity names survived the Late Bronze Age collapse intact, eventually being subsumed into the Hellenic pantheon: Rhea, Eileithyia, and Dionysus are well-known examples. Others were "demoted" to human characters in myth and legend (Minos, for example, and Ariadne). But we still know their names - that part of them was not lost over time, even if their characteristics changed due to cultural pressure as the Greeks came to power and the Minoans disappeared from view.

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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.

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Minoan Trickle-Down Archaeology

Sir Arthur Evans believed that the huge building at Knossos was the legendary King Minos' palace and the big buildings in the other Minoan cities were the palaces of Minos' brothers and rivals. A century later, the signs at most of the Minoan sites still identify these buildings as palaces despite the fact that Evans' theories have been discredited and archaeologists now agree that the structures were temple complexes, not palaces.

A few archaeologists are notorious for taking their students through museums and pointing out the inaccuracies on the placards that describe Minoan artifacts (museum curators are not usually archaeologists and don't always communicate with archaeologists about the artifacts on display). So people visit the museums and come away with some incorrect notions.

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