Minoan Mystery Theater


Most of the people I know who practice Modern Minoan Paganism are solitaries. There aren’t any Minoan temple complexes we can go to anymore to experience big seasonal rituals (unless you count a tour through the ruins of Knossos or Malia as a ritual, which I suppose it could be). Of course, the Minoans had their own solitary practices; we’ve found plenty of personal shrines and altars in the ruins of homes from ancient Crete. But they also had something pretty amazing that I really wish I could experience myself: big public ceremonies that enacted parts of the Minoan mythology. In other words, they had Mystery plays.

You may have heard the term Mystery play used to refer to theatrical enactments of Christian biblical stories during the Middle Ages in Europe. But the concept was not new to that time or place. In fact, the “living nativity scenes” that many Christian churches put on around Christmas are the modern remnants of those Mystery plays.

Many ancient cultures included reenactments of mythological tales as part of their religious practice. Sometimes these plays were meant for just a small audience, like the one that probably took place at Winter Solstice in Knossos. But many others were meant for the general public.

At the top of this post you can see an image of the Sacred Grove fresco from the temple complex at Knossos. It’s an ancient Minoan painting that depicts a big ritual being performed in the theatral area on the plaza west of the temple complex. Here’s an image of that area as it looks now, nearly four thousand years after that ritual was performed:


You can see the paved walkways and the stepped areas where the audience (congregation?) would have stood to watch.

I’ve often wondered exactly what the Sacred Grove ritual entailed, what kinds of things that audience would have seen and heard – and felt. Was there music and drumming? Incense? Which portion of the Minoan mythology did this ritual enact? Were there offerings, maybe libations made as part of the process? I’ve always thought the women in those matching blue-and-gold outfits look like they’re performing some kind of sacred dance. Is this a depiction of the famed Crane Dance? There’s really now way to know, from this far away in time. But it’s fascinating to think about.

We modern Pagans don’t often get to participate in big rituals, especially not as big as the one in the Sacred Grove fresco. And even when we’re lucky enough to take part in a large public rite like the ones that take place at many Pagan gatherings, it’s rare to find one that’s Minoan in flavor. I suspect the movies take the place of Mystery plays for many people in the modern world. After all, they’re huge public spectacles where you get wrapped up in the story that’s being told, as if it were happening live right before your eyes (Lord of the Rings, anyone?).

Is this something that’s missing from our modern spirituality? Sometimes I feel like there’s an empty space where there should be Minoan Mystery plays. Maybe one day there will be enough of us to have a big Minoan gathering somewhere, with enough people to put on our own Mystery play. Yes, that’s just a dream, but it’s a nice one, isn’t it?

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.


Fun Fall Activities for Parents of Tweens

When school starts in the fall, it seems like all our time and energy is spent on studying and activities. My girls are active in many activities and sports. In a single week, we’re diving, riding horses, practicing martial arts, taking music lessons, and participating in school clubs.

spicer-millIn the few nights we have without a scheduled activity (most Saturdays–but not all,) we seem to be focused on keeping up the house, doing shopping, or sitting in a zombie coma in front of the news. The news, as always, is full of violence, drama, and junk reporting.

So this fall, we’re planning to make time for some family activities like:

  1. Visit a cider mill. The mills in our area have trails and lots of stuff to do.
  2. Go hiking in our local state park. The dog can even come with us.
  3. Make a medieval town from Legos. We have thousands of pieces for fun and creativity.medieval-lego
  4. Grounding rituals to help us feel part of nature and celebrate the Goddess Earth.
  5. Finally film that movie Wife and Twin #2 have been writing–Night of the Wild Rogue Chicken. That should be a blast.

When life gets busy, it’s important to take time to ground yourself–connect with family and the Earth–otherwise you risk losing yourself in the back-to-school melee.

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: September 16th: HARVEST MOON & ECLISPE!!!!!

I am publishing this one a day early so everyone has time to prepare!

It is Harvest Moon day AND we will be having a Harvest Moon Eclipse, around 12:45 PM, I think Eastern? Here is the Old Farmer’s Almanac link and a TIME, WHERE and WHEN to help you figure out your area.


For Witches or those of the Craft,  those who practice Divination or anyone needing a boost with their fertility magics, make sure to hold onto to your seats and get ready for a super-powered punch because not only is today the Harvest Moon, but it’s also packing the punch of an Eclipse!

The Harvest Moon is Ancient & Pagan Calendars generally fall on the first full moon on or after this date (15th). With it being on this day , the 16th) and an eclipse to boot, well I’d say we are all in for a special treat.

For those wanting to be pregnant or use a fertility rite in other areas of your life, this is or was said to be the day that such magics could happen. It is said that more women conceive under the Harvest Moon than any other.

This will also be the FINAL eclipse of the Moon for the remainder of the year.

Quoting: It will be visible across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Those across North America and South America will have to wait until 2017 to see another eclipse. Source  : End Quote

The Harvest Moon originated in Europe, but also, it came from the American Indians because the Moon itself told them when it was time to Harvest their Corn. The light given from this Moon allowed and allows Farmers to work longer hours in order to bring in their harvest.  The Harvest Moon stretches across the globe into many Cultures. Even China.

This is a penumbral eclipse. That’s when the Moon, itself, travels through the outer edges of the earth within’ the planet’s shadow.  The Moon or part of it will darkened but not completely disappear. Some say this is when the Moon has the power of ALL Moons.  This is when the energies of the Moon, the Earth and the Sun all combine.

This is a great time to Draw down the Power of the Moon, or give honor to Lunar Goddesses and Gods. It is a fabulous time for healing or well, any sort of productive ritual—even the final completion of one- a time to harvest the benefits of all your hard work.

If you wish to increase your physic powers or use divination or strengthen your intuition, well, jump on the moon wagon. Tonight if your night!

This is a time for Dark Magic (Not evil, but Dark, as in how all life began, in the womb.) It is a great time for Sidhe magic and even connecting with the Otherworlds.

This is a time of the Crone. Think Hecate, if you need a mental aspect of that or Sekhmet of Egypt.

Egyptian Priests believed the Moon was the Mother of the Universe. What I think is particularly interesting right now is, we have just had Lammas, a time when the God (Sun) enters the Earth (the Mother’s Womb) where he dies in order to bring life to the Grain—where in spring, he will be reborn like the Grain.

With this Eclipse, the Moon (the Mother) will become one with the Earth (her womb) and the Sun (the Father & Son).

Moonstruck or moon-touched was said to be the doings of the Great Mother, who was picking out her chosen ones. Those who were moonstruck were described as “Silly” which happened to be a word that originally meant, “Blessed.”

Regardless of your intentions or needs, prepare for a powerful burst of energy that will affect all.

Get Ready!

Ancient Calendar & pagan holidays:September 14th: A Day to Honor the Hazel Tree & Foretelling of a Harvest Moon Eclipse

It is said that the Hazel tree holds great power. So much so, a time was noted on the Calendar claiming when it was most productive to tap into the magic of that tree. Today is that day, a time to harvest the nuts and what the Hazel has to offer.

Known in the Middle Ages as the “Day of the Holy Nut”, people believed that the branches, bark and whatever else of the tree could do miraculous things like, but not limited to, warding off the evil intensions of another (especially one of power) or to heal.  There were a few rules, though, like avoiding the nuts of the tree which were not ripe and everything pretty much revolved around the nuts itself.

Later, this day was called, The Devil’s Nutting Day. The “Devil” got stapled to everything Pagan sooner or later.

Still, the Hazel Tree will forever be known as a tree of great magic and wisdom.

May your day be so blessed! Until tomorrow…..

WAIT! Before I forget!!!!!


Speaking of tomorrow or, well, Friday, it is a Harvest Moon day AND we will be having a Harvest Moon Eclipse, due around 12:45 PM, I think Eastern? Here is the Old Farmer’s Almanac link and a TIME, WHERE and WHEN to help you figure out your area.