Loves Of The Lady Of The Labyrinth: Ariadne Powerful Minoan Goddess

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‘Ariadne in Naxos’ (1877) by Evelyn De Morgan. (Public Domain)

Loves Of The Lady Of The Labyrinth: Ariadne Powerful Minoan Goddess

In the Myth of the Minotaur, if not for the ministrations of the humble Princess Ariadne, Theseus—the Greek hero—would not have had a prayer. Although often portrayed as a mere maiden, truth be told, providing back-up for a leading man was the very least of her qualities. Springing from the heavens, Ariadne’s origins beckon from the primordial mist of Bronze Age Minoan Crete where she was the overarching mother goddess in the Minoan pantheon—the all-important fertility goddess who is believed to have answered to such titles as goddess-on-earth, weaver of life and mistress of the labyrinth.

Minoan Snake Goddess (©Courtesy Micki Pistorius)

Minoan Snake Goddess (©Courtesy Micki Pistorius)

Ariadne Minoan Fertility Goddess

With the destiny of mortals in her hands, Ariadne was considered a bright goddess, often compared to Demeter—whose celestial origins were from Crete as well. In some ways Ariadne is analogous both to the goddess of the harvest—and her daughter Persephone—queen of the underworld. Predating patriarchy, the mother goddess’s role was paramount—in agricultural societies religion was centered on fertility and everything was centered on religion. Because Minoan Crete was a matrilineal society with women leading lives of independence, like all goddesses in the Minoan pantheon, Ariadne ruled alone without a male consort. Toward the close of the Minoan civilization—with the Mycenaeans’ influence keenly felt—Ariadne began to be accompanied by a young male consort. Her insignia, the labyrinth—a  square or circular structure with multiple circuits spiraling to the center and back again—figures prominently in her mythology and is believed to have been a place of initiation where mortals moved from one realm to another with the bull-god—the Minotaur (Hades-like)—occupying its deepest and darkest center. 


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