Ariadne's Tribe: Minoan Spirituality for the Modern World

Walk the sacred labyrinth with Ariadne, the Minotaur, the Great Mothers, Dionysus, and the rest of the Minoan family of deities. Ariadne's Tribe is an independent spiritual tradition that brings the deities 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 Ariadne's Tribe at We're an inclusive, 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 Sacral Scarf: Minoan Symbolism

A while back, I shared some information about some snake-like sacred knots in Minoan art that may or may not have anything to do with the tet knot associated with Isis in Egyptian symbology.

There's another "sacred knot" found in Minoan art that's very different from the knotted-cord sacred knots. This other one is made from a length of fabric that's fringed on the ends and loosely looped and knotted. Scholars often lump it in with the other sacred knots, but it's not the same.

In Ariadne's Tribe, we've taken to calling this object the sacral scarf to differentiate it from the sacred knots made of cord or rope.

Some time ago I offered a few thoughts about the sacral scarf. Since then several of us in Ariadne's Tribe have used the sacral scarf in sacred context and have come up with some ideas about what it represents and how we can use it to connect with the divine.

First of all, from the artwork we can clearly see that it's a length of woven fabric, fringed on the ends and knotted with a loop:


Sacral Scarf 1                   Sacral Scarf 2


Sacral scarves are found on Minoan seals in the company of bulls and stags, two of the animals associated with the Minoan Horned Ones (the bull-god a.k.a. the Minotaur and the stag-god a.k.a. the Minelathos):


Sacral scarf with bull


Sacral Scarf with Stag


When we began working with the sacral scarf, we expected it to represent the Horned God in some way, but everyone's experience was that this object belonged to a goddess, not a god. How on earth did we figure that out? Through meditation, spirit journeys (what some might call shamanic work), dreamwork, as well as actually using the scarf, or images of it, in ritual and paying attention to our experiences, listening to the deities.

During the time we were doing all this, someone pointed out that the sacral scarf is also depicted in Minoan art hanging from some kind of stand (I don't recall who said this - whoever you are, please let me know and I'll give you credit!):


Sacral scarves on a stand


After some more spiritual work, we came to the conclusion that these pieces of fabric may have been garments the Minoan priestesses wore during ritual and hence were sacred. The art suggests that Minoan religion involved trance possession, the clergy member being 'ridden' by the deity during ritual and hence becoming the deity incarnate.

It makes sense, then, that the Minoans would have considered the garments a priestess wore during ritual to be sacred since they had been touched by the goddess she embodied during that ritual. There are several frescoes depicting priestesses being dressed or undressed and quite a few seal stones showing priestesses carrying garments. Some of us have had visions of people approaching the garments as they were hung on the stands, touching them for healing and blessings.

How does this translate to modern spiritual practice? You can see a sacral scarf in the photo at the top of this post. This is one I made from a length of fabric and hung alongside a poster that I use to represent Ariadne above my Minoan altar. The sacral scarf reminds me of her presence. It feels right in that place, as part of my spiritual practice, even though it's not a garment a priestess wore during trance possession. As a symbol, it connects me back to that older practice and the sense of closeness of the divine that the sacral scarf embodies.

The sacral scarf reminds me that the deities can and do come among us. They're not 'out there' somewhere but right here, in our lives, touching us in so many ways. Sometimes we forget that, in this fragmented, mechanistic culture we live in. It's good to be reminded.

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Laura Perry is a priestess and creator who works magic with words, paint, ink, music, textiles, and herbs. She's the founder and Temple Mom of Ariadne's Tribe, an inclusive Minoan spiritual tradition. 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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