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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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.

I had been looking for a Minoan-themed Tarot deck for some time, and despite the thousands of decks on the market, there was nothing available. Then one day I laid out some Tarot cards on my rather messy desk. I looked over at a book I had been using for some research. It was open to an image of the Prince of the Lilies fresco from Knossos:

Prince of the Lilies fresco from Knossos
Image CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

It struck me that it looked like an image from a Tarot card. Inspiration!

I figured, I read Tarot, so surely I could create a deck - a Minoan-themed one. That was the beginning of a three-year journey into the many layers of ancient Minoan art and Tarot cards as I created the artwork for The Minoan Tarot.

You see, most modern Tarot decks are inspired by the Waite-Smith deck, which is a marvelous deck but which is also full of Christian symbology. The Minoans lived centuries before the advent of Christianity, so that kind of symbolism would be totally inappropriate in a Minoan-themed Tarot deck.

So the challenge was to figure out how to create a deck that was both true to the structure of Tarot and true to Minoan art and symbolism. I began by working my way down to the basic meaning of each Tarot card, regardless of the artwork and symbols on it. Then I asked myself: How would an ancient Minoan artist depict that meaning and those ideas in the symbols of their culture?

What I ended up with is a deck of cards, each one inspired by a specific Minoan work of art, each one holding the same layers of meaning you would expect in a Tarot deck. There are all the usual Major Arcana cards and four element-based suits of Minor Arcana. But boy do they look different from anything else out there.

Major Arcana cards from The Minoan Tarot by Laura Perry

 

I even maintained the same color palette the Minoans used in their frescoes. I researched the pigments they painted with and found counterparts in modern art media that would reproduce the same colors. I ended up drawing each one by hand because digital art was "too perfect" - it didn't have the tiny inconsistencies that appear in the Minoan frescoes.

Minor Arcana cards from The Minoan Tarot by Laura Perry

So the cards look like Minoan frescoes - not like modern interpretations of them, or computerized/digitized versions, but very much like the actual frescoes from ancient Crete. As a way of emphasizing the underlying meaning of each card, I chose words found on the Linear B tablets and drew them on the artwork. So each card includes a Linear B word or phrase that relates to the card's meaning. Linear B is the script that was used in late Minoan times to write the Mycenaean Greek language. The Minoans wrote their own language in the Linear A script, but since it hasn't yet been deciphered, I decided not to use it - I didn't want words of unknown meaning on the cards.

You can find images of many of the cards as well as details about the deck's structure (hint: the court cards are gender-balanced, an homage to the gender-egalitarian nature of Minoan society) on the Minoan Tarot website.

Enjoy!

 

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She is the founder and head facilitator of Modern Minoan Paganism. 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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