The White Moon Gallery Presents

The Minoan Goddess

Created by Morgana Ravenwings

© All original material in this site is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author.

Correspondences         Magical Associations       Ritual

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?

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.

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 indoor plumbing. 
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
Circle of Goddesses
from Sacred Source

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.

Symbols:  labrys, sacred knots, cross, horns, labirynth
Animals:  snake, lion, bee, dove, bull, butterfly
Plants:  poppy, crocus, violet, iris, ivy
Foods:  honey, wine
Direction:  west/water
Colors:  gold, blue

Magical Associations
healing, initiations, 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

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

Preparation:  Ritual bath
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:

Arise, Awake,
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
newborn babe,
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

"Bless me Mother, for I am your Daughter." 

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 Her 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 see the temple before you.  It is a grand building, with pillars of red and blue and glorious paintings everywhere.  There are 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 into the temple, following this Holy Woman.

The 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.

Finally, this Goddess is very powerful, so expect wondrous things to begin occurring in your life after performing this ritual.

Blessed Be!

1.  Gadon, Elinor W.  The Once and Future Goddess.  New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 1989.
2. Trckova-Flamee, Alena Britomartis.
3. Trckova-Flamee, Alena Minoan Snake Goddess.
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.

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