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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Therasia's Labor: Midwinter Solar Rebirth

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The days and weeks leading up to the height of the winter holidays are both exciting and sacred to people from many different spiritual traditions. Christians have Advent, for example; Norse Pagans have Sunwait. Liturgical seasons leading up to a sacred day are far older than either of these traditions, and they have an important function: encouraging us to focus not just on the upcoming "special day" but on the way the year hinges around it.

And the Winter Solstice appears to have been the "central peg" on which the sacred calendar turned across much of early Eurasia, with the Sun Goddess as the driving force behind the year. Check out Patricia Monaghan's excellent book O Mother Sun! for some great research about this subject.

When we began discussing this idea in the Tribe and figuring out how we could create such a season for our own tradition, Tribe member Forrest Novawynd had a brilliant idea: Since we view the Winter Solstice as the day when our Sun Goddess Therasia rebirths herself, we could frame the season as the time she's in labor and structure the way we celebrate it to feel as if we're participating in that activity. The name for this season and the specific structure of the days are all Forrest's idea. The rest of the details were a community effort. Here's how it works:

The Solstice is a solar festival, based on the sun’s annual cycle. So Therasia is at the center of it, with her rebirth happening on the Solstice itself. The season of Therasia’s Labor helps us focus on the way the solar year is slowing down before it comes to a metaphorical stop at Midwinter, then starts up again for the new cycle: Therasia's death and rebirth, which frame the moment of sunrise on Winter Solstice morning.

The concept of labor and birth is also reflected in the other set of Tribe mythos associated with Midwinter: the story of Rhea giving birth to the Divine Child Dionysus on Midwinter morning. Our research suggests that the Sun Goddess Winter Solstice mythos is older than the Earth Mother mythos for the same day. But Minoan religion added layer upon layer over the centuries of their civilization, so we acknowledge both at Midwinter. Since Therasia's tale is probably the older one, we've named the season in her honor.

Therasia’s Labor begins in mid-November and is celebrated on seven separate days leading up to Solstice. These days fall in a pattern, coming closer and closer together as Solstice approaches, in much the same way that contractions get closer and closer together during labor. Here’s the pattern, assuming Solstice falls on 21 December. If it falls on 20 or 22 December, as it does some years, you would shift all the dates forward or back by one.

November 16

  wait 7 days

November 24

  wait 6 days

December 1

  wait 5 days

December 7

  wait 4 days

December 12

  wait 3 days

December 16

  wait 2 days

December 19

  wait 1 day


Obviously, we're already partway into Therasia's Labor this year - sorry about that. We've only just figured out how to celebrate this season. We can all start together at the beginning in November of next year.

The activities for the marked days during this season should involve light in one way or another, preferably in a way that focuses on the length of the day or the low angle of the sun in the sky this time of year. You could frame each day by watching the sunrise and sunset. You could light an oil lamp or candle before dawn and/or after sunset. Or you could stand beneath the sun at noon, perhaps in the Minoan salute posture.

As Therasia’s Labor progresses, you can feel the Solstice drawing ever closer. The celebratory days fall closer and closer together, speeding up with the energy and excitement as we simultaneously plunge into darkness and await the dawn.

 May your Midwinter morning be bright!

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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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