Her figurine was discovered by Arthur
Evans at the turn of the last
century in the repositories of the temple of Knossos on the island of
Crete. It is dated to before the explosion of Thera, which
destroyed the temple. The figurine is 15" tall and made of
faience, which in Old Egypt symbolized renewal of life. She is
holding a snake in each uplifted hand.
||What do we know of the Great
Goddess of Minoan Crete? Some have called Her Britomartis,
Diktynna, Potnia, even Ariadne and Rhea. But these were all names
given to Her after others had moved to the island and began
assimilating their dieties with the Minoan Goddess. Until we are
able to decipher the script known as Linear A, we will not know the
name She was called by the Minoans themselves.
The myth of
Britomartis tells us that She was relentlessly pursued by
Minos II. Rather than submitting, She threw Herself off a cliff,
only to be captured in fishermans' nets.
Thereafter, She was known as Diktynna, 'the netted one'. In
another ending to this myth, She was captured in the net of Dionysis,
who married Her and made Her his High Priestess.
Based on these
stories, it is very likely that it was Her priestesses
who loved Her so fiercely that they would rather commit suicide than
submit to newer, different gods. The myths may in fact be a
memory of this event. So, who was this Goddess who inspired such
loyalty in Her followers?
Arthur Evans associated Her
with Wazet of Egypt. In Lower Egypt,
snake-wands were used by priests conducting magic and it is believed
that they symbolized this Goddess. Evans drew this link with
Wazet because Egyptian artifacts were found in Minoan Crete. One
of them was the lower half of a human male identified by hieroglyphics
as a priest of Wazet. He theorized that the Minoan Goddess was
holding snake-wands as opposed to real snakes.
|We know that Minoan society was
peaceful and most likely
matriarchal. Archeologists have never found any evidence of
fortifications, temples to gods, or evidence of hierarchy. The
evidence that has been found shows that the culture was
Goddess-centered. Priestesses far out-number priests in artwork
and men are rarely seen in important positions. We also know that
they were a highly advanced and organized society that even boasted
The Great Goddess
Herself was portrayed in many different ways, and
many of these were carried over to various Greek Goddesses. As the Mother of
Mountains, She was associated
with lions. This was carried over to the Greek Goddess Cybele. Her Hunting
Goddess aspect carried over to
Artemis. She has been shown with doves and poppies, which were
later associated with Aphrodite and Demeter, respectfully. In Her
most famous chthonic portrayal as Snake Goddess, Her symbol of the
snake was transferred to Athena's shield.
Circle of Goddesses
She was also known as
Goddess of the Sacred Tree and there are
depictions of Her nursing an infant, similar to
Isis and Horus. In one
depiction, She is shown as a mother with a
maiden sitting at Her feet and accompanied by a young boy. This
is called a "kourotropis" and may be one of the earliest depictions of
what today is known as the 'trinity'. There are images similar to
this in Catal Huyek.
Call on this Goddess when
you have need of anything. She is the
great All-Mother who looks after all of us as a
mother cares for her
children. She has been waiting patiently for
us to remember the things She one taught us, to re-create Her rituals,
and to give Her the honor She is due.
sacred knots, cross, horns, labirynth
lion, bee, dove, bull, butterfly
crocus, violet, iris, ivy
rebirth, past-life regression, divination,
culture, creativity, art, music, dance, childbirth, crops, peace, joy,
spirituality, daily sustenance.
Ritual to awaken the
Minoan Goddess within
|You will need:
2 blue candles
sea water (or spring water with sea salt mixed in)
gold altar cloth
violets or poppies, in a vase on the altar (symbolizing the Goddess)
the herb, Dittany of Crete, and a charcoal block
the herb, hyssop, and cheese cloth
a sistrum or tamborine
Prepare your bath, adding
the hyssop wrapped in cheesecloth. The
hyssop will give you a tingly feeling as you soak in it. Imagine
all negativity leaving you, being washed away. Now imagine that
each pore in your body is opening and being infused with the essence of
the Divine. As you let the water drain away,
imagine all the negativity going down the drain with it and flowing out
to the ocean. Once it reaches the ocean, it is absorbed and
neutralized by the Great Goddess. It is gone, no longer exerting
any influence over you.
Set up your altar, facing
the west. Light your candles and
charcoal block. When the block is ready, throw some of the
Dittany of Crete on it. Outline your circle area with the sea
water. Cast your circle, beginning in the west. Now, once
again beginning in the west, call on the element of water to join you
in your rite. Imagine a dolphin coming to you. Move to the
north and call on the element of earth to join you in your
rite. Imagine a bull coming and joining you, sitting right inside
the circle. Move to the east, and call on the element of air to
join you. Imagine a white dove alighting right inside the eastern
point of the circle. Now move to the south and call on the
element of fire to join you in this rite. See a lion in all her
majesty sauntering up to the circle and moving inside and sitting.
Come back to the west, and
with feet spread apart and arms upraised,
recite the following prayer:
O Holy One.
Mother of the High Places,
Giver and Sustainer of all Life,
Goddess of birth, death and rebirth,
Awaken within me, my Lady.
Grant unto me, Thy daughter,
That I may grow in knowledge of You
and Your gifts to us, Your children.
Let peace reign in my heart and in my being,
as I walk on the path that Thou hast set before me.
Care for me as a mother cares for her
And keep me ever safe in Thine arms.
So mote it be.
Take a little of the sea
water and annoint your forehead in the symbol
of a crescent moon and say
Mother, for I am your
Sit down in front of your
altar and begin to meditate
on the peace that this Goddess instilled in Her followers.
|See the beauty of
kingdom, as it once was in all it's
magnificence. Now imagine that you are there. You are
dressed in your
finest clothing and you are on your way to Her temple, to give Her an
offering of honey and wine that you are carrying with you. You
temple before you. It is a grand building, with
pillars of red and blue and glorious paintings everywhere. There
people all around you--artisans, craftsmen, musicians, priestesses,
mothers with children. As you enter the temple, you are met by a
priestess who tells you to follow her. You go deeper and deeper
the temple, following this Holy Woman.
swish of her dress and the jingle of the bells she is wearing
around her ankles and wrists, creates a type of music and an atmosphere
of mystery. You get the sense that something wonderful is about
to take place. When you finally reach the inner sanctuary, the
priestess leaves you. You stand before the blue curtain, and hesitate just
for a moment, before pushing it aside and entering. There before you
sits the Goddess Herself on a throne. Before Her is a large
bowl. She is surrounded by paintings of wildlife, marine life and flora. All
through-out the room are pillars of many colors with white doves perched on top.
The one end of the room is open and looks out on the ocean. She
invites you in. You approach Her with just a little trepidation, because
you have never been in the presence of such Holiness before. You pour
your offering into the bowl in front of Her and kneel before Her. She
reaches out and touches you on your head. At once you are filled
with a sense of majesty and wonder and a peace that cannot be comprehended.
Now pick up your tamborine
or sistrum and begin tapping it, gently at
first and getting more and more joyous with it as the power begins
flowing through you. Begin to dance. Allow the energy to
flow through you and be expressed in the form of dance. Dance is
sacred to this Goddess, so allow Her to guide your feet and your
movements. Feel Her power with your entire being, pulsing.
Become one with it. Make it your own.
When you are done, fall to
the ground, palms down on the earth and
allow the excess energy to flow through you into the earth.
Arise, thank the Goddess for all She has given you this day.
Thank the elementals for joining you. Open your circle. Leave
your violets or poppies on the shore at the ocean for the waves to
receive as an offering. If you are not near the ocean, any body
of living water will do.
this Goddess is very
powerful, so expect wondrous things to begin occurring in your life
after performing this ritual.
1. Gadon, Elinor W.
The Once and Future Goddess. New
York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989.
2. Trckova-Flamee, Alena Britomartis.
3. Trckova-Flamee, Alena Minoan
4. The Mythic
Images Collection: Cretan Snake Goddess.
5. Hooker, Richard. Bureaucrats
& Barbarians: The Minoans: Minoan Religion .
6. Witcombe, Christopher L.C.E. Women
in the Aegean: Minoan Snake Goddess.
7. Britomartis. http://www.theoi.com/Kronos/Britomartis.html