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the Minoan Snake Goddess

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Author Topic: the Minoan Snake Goddess  (Read 2211 times)
Gwen Parker
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« on: July 06, 2007, 06:23:21 am »

"The Mistress"
PO-TI-NI-JA


The most apparent characteristic of Minoan religion was that it was polytheistic and matriarchal, that is, a goddess religion; the gods were all female, not a single male god has been identified until later periods.
 It is not easy to describe the nature of the mother-goddess of Crete.
There are numerous representations of goddesses, which leads to the conclusion that the Cretans were polytheistic, while others argue that these represent manifestations of the one goddess.

 
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 06:31:36 am by Gwen Parker » Report Spam   Logged

Gwen Parker
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2007, 06:24:24 am »

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2007, 06:26:15 am »

Women in Minoan Culture

In Crete women played an important if not dominant role: They served as priestesses, as functionaries and administrators.

They also participated in all the sports that Cretan males participated in. The most popular sports in Crete were incredibly violent and dangerous: boxing and bull-jumping. In bull-jumping, as near as we can tell from the representations of it, a bull would charge headlong into a line of jumpers. Each jumper, when the bull was right on top of them, would grab the horns of the bull and vault over the bull in a somersault to land feet first behind the bull. All the representations of this sport show young women participating as well as men.
Women also seem to have participated in every occupation and trade available to men. The rapid growth of industry on Crete included skilled craftswomen and entrepreneurs, and the large, top-heavy bureaucracy and priesthood seems to have been equally staffed with women. In fact, the priesthood was dominated by women. Although the palace kings were male, the society itself does not seem to have been patriarchal.

Evidence from Cretan-derived settlements on Asia Minor suggest that Cretan society was matrilineal, that is, kinship descent was reckoned through the mother.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 06:27:09 am »

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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2007, 06:28:20 am »

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2007, 06:29:34 am »

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2007, 06:30:46 am »

Religion in Minoan Crete

 Since their are only ruins and other remains from Minoan culture, we can only guess at their religious practices.
There are no scriptures, no prayers, no books of ritual; all we have are objects and fragments all of which only hint at a rich and complex religious life and symbolic system behind their broken exteriors.

The most apparent characteristic of Minoan religion was that it was polytheistic and matriarchal, that is, a goddess religion; the gods were all female, not a single male god has been identified until later periods.

The Cretans do not seem to have evolved either gender inequality nor adapted their religion to a male-centered universe. The legacy of the goddess religion seems to still be alive today. Both Greece and Crete are Greek Orthodox Christian. In Greece, however, only women regularly swear by the name of the Virgin Mary, while in Crete both men and women swear by her name, particularly the epithet, "Panagia," or "All-Holy."

It is somewhat surprising that none of the goddesses which are generally considered to be "old Aegean powers" as various forms of Mother Goddess (e.g. Demeter, Aphrodite, Artemis, Hekate, Britomartis) are found mentioned in later Mycenaean texts.

There is no figure which can be convincingly connected with the dove or snake goddesses familiar to us from Minoan art, nor is there any mention on the religious tablets of bulls, horns of consecration, double axes, or other common objects of Minoan cult apparatus. Part of the reason for this must be that the remaining texts are products of Mycenaean rule at Knossos, and Minoan cult may have been partially suppressed by the official religion of the invading Greek rulers.

http://inanna.virtualave.net/snakegoddess.html
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2007, 06:32:17 am »



Ritual dance
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2007, 06:33:03 am »

Mycenaean Names:

Atana Potiniya: the Idaean Mother of Crete

PO-TI-NI-JA Potnia (= "mistress")

A-TA-NA PO-TI-NI-JA Potnia Atana

DA-PU-RI-TO-JO PO-TI-NI-JA Potnia of the Labyrinth

E-RE-U-TI-JA Eleuthia (= Eileithyia, Classical goddess of childbirth)

MA-TE-RE TE-I-JA Mater theia ("Mother Goddess")
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2007, 06:35:08 am »


There are several goddesses which can be distinguish, though.
The first one we call "The Lady of the Beasts," or the "Huntress"; this goddess is represented as mastering or overcoming animals.

In a later incarnation, she becomes "The Mountain Mother," who is standing on a mountain and apparently protects the animals and the natural world.

The most popular goddess seems to be the "Snake Goddess," who has snakes entwined on her body or in her hands. Since the figurine is only found in houses and in small shrines in the palaces, we believe that she is some sort of domestic goddess or goddess of the house (a kind of guardian angel–in many regions of the world, including Greece, the household snake is worshipped and fed as a domestic guardian angel).

But the household goddess also seems to have taken the form of a small bird, for numerous shrines are oriented around a dove-like figure. Most scholars believe that the principle female goddesses of Greek religions, such as Hera, Artemis, and so on, ultimately derive from the Minoan goddesses.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2007, 06:36:26 am »

Her Role


 The head of the Minoan pantheon seems to have been an all-powerful goddess which ruled everything in the universe. This deity was a mother deity, that is, her relationship to the world was as mother to offspring.
 
The Snake Goddess


Represented by the MM III "Snake Goddesses" of the Temple Repositories at Knossos as well as by some of the later bell-shaped terracotta figurines of the LM III period, this particular goddess is usually considered to be a household divinity and interestingly does not appear on seals.
Mistress of Animals (or of the Mountain)
A famous seal impression from Knossos shows a female figure holding a staff and standing on top of a cairn or rocky hill. She is flanked by antithetic lions, beyond which are a shrine on one side and a saluting male on the other. A second seal from Knossos shows a capped female with a staff walking next to a lion, another pose of the same Mistress of Animals figure.

Goddess of Vegetation
Dominating female figures on a number of seals are often identified as deities.

 

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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2007, 10:10:22 am »

Boreas has suggested that the two snakes indicate two male lines, possibly East and West; Zeus and Jupiter.....as the Minoan period may pre-date both.
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Thus ye may find in thy mental and spiritual self, ye can make thyself just as happy or just as miserable as ye like. How miserable do ye want to be?......For you GROW to heaven, you don't GO to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2008, 07:29:17 pm »

Hi Rockessence, that would be my theory - that the Minoan Snake Goddess predates the entire symbolism of the snake!  The snake took on more nefarious connotatioms after the patriarchal religions came into being.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2008, 07:30:40 pm »



Her Signs and Symbols



 Double Axe:

Some large bronze examples of this, the most common of all Minoan religious symbols, were clearly used as tools, but miniature specimens in unsuitable and sometimes precious materials (e.g. gold, silver, lead, steatite, terracotta), as well as very fragile bronze examples (e.g. the gigantic specimens from Nirou Khani), must have had a purely symbolic function. 
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2008, 07:31:32 pm »



Beeing a symbol of the moonphases.
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