A Minoan ritual for the end of August

Aug 11th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles

The framework of the Modern Minoan Paganism calendar follows the (already familiar) solstices and the equinoxes, since it’s obvious from building alignments at the temple complexes, tombs, and peak sanctuaries that the ancient Minoans held them sacred and had festivals and rituals on those dates. But there are a couple of bits that aren’t found in the neopagan eight-fold wheel of the year. One of them is coming up at the end of August: the Feast of Grapes.


Laura Perry writes “Like the northern European harvest festivals of Lammas and Autumn Equinox, the Feast of Grapes is set on a particular calendar date for the convenience of modern Pagans. In ancient Crete, the harvest happened when the grapes were just the right ripeness for picking. Depending on the weather and other influences, the date might have varied by as much as a week or two from year to year. If I were celebrating based on my own grapevine, I would have done it two weeks ago, when we picked the deliciously ripe muscadines and savored them in our own casual ceremony that included a bottle of muscadine wine from a previous year’s brewing.”

More on The Feast of Grapes here: http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/the-minoan-path/let-s-celebrate-the-feast-of-grapes.html

Laura says “We believe the bull-leaping, which is so iconic of Minoan art and culture, was part of Dionysus’ funeral games. Among the ancient Minoans, the animal most closely associated with Dionysos was the bull. In his aspect as Zagreus (‘the dismembered one,’ not to be confused with the later Greek Zeus) he was the sacrificial bull whose blood fed the denizens of the Underworld so they would share oracular information with the living. In other words, Dionysos was originally a shamanic god, though the spiritworking practices associated with him became formalized as the power of the temples in Knossos and the other Minoan cities grew.”

You can find out more about Dionysus and bulls here – http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/the-minoan-path/dionysos-bulls-and-funerals.html

Modern Minoan Pagans view Dionysus as a shamanic god. ”

Vineyards may be fairly civilized enterprises, but the grape harvest and winemaking are ancient sacred activities with a wild side. And wine brings on that most Dionysiac of states, drunkenness and uncontrolled passion, both joy and rage. In a ritual setting this amounts to sacred madness and ecstasy. A couple of interesting tidbits: Dionysos is the original miracle-worker who turned water into wine. And wine was used to represent his blood in Dionysiac ceremonies.

A deity of conjoined opposites, he represents the non-rational aspects of the human psyche at both ends of the spectrum, the god-like parts within us as well as our deepest animal nature. In other words, he exists beyond the bounds of the civilized world. But there is far more to him than just simple wildness. He is, ultimately, a shamanic god whose purpose is to help us break through the boundaries of the ordinary in order to experience the numinous. One clue that he’s more than just a pretty face: his many pretty faces. The legends tell of him showing up as a young man, an old man, a girl, a goat or a serpent. Very shamanic, that kind of shape-shifting.”

Read more about that here – http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/the-minoan-path/meet-the-minoans-dionysos.html

Find out more about Laura Perry’s introduction to Minoan Paganism – Ariadne’s Thread – here http://www.moon-books.net/books/ariadnes-thread

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