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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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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2008, 07:33:20 pm »



"Horns of Consecration":


These occur both as three-dimensional objects of stone or terracotta, often stuccoed, and as painted or sculpted representations on murals, altars, vases, seals, and larnakes. Typically they serve either as stands for a narrow range of other cult implements or as architectural crowning members on both altars and roofs. The original significance of the "horns" is uncertain. It has been suggested that they are stylized bulls' horns, a symbol of the moon's crescent.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2008, 07:34:18 pm »



Birds, Bulls, Agrimia, and Snakes:


Birds appear frequently in religious scenes and are usually identified as "divine epiphanies", that is, as manifestations of divine beings , although in some cases they appear to be an identifying attribute of a divinity rather than an alternative form of one. Other frequently occurring animals are bulls, agrimia (Cretan ibexes), and snakes. The first two often occur in the form of votive figurines and probably figured importantly as sacrificial animals.
The Snake may have been a prominent symbol in earth (or chthonic) cults, just as birds may have been in sky (or atmospheric) cults.
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2008, 07:34:58 pm »

Offerings



  Mentioned are a pot of honey, spices such as fennel and coriander, and jugs of oil. Wool, cheese, barley, and wine are possible offerings. Sheep are connected with the figure of Potnia, but not as offerings.

Human Sacrifice


 This type of offering is unique and has led to much speculation. It is known that there were such things as "slaves of the god". Consequently, most authorities have seen here the consecration of certain men and women to the service of a deity. However, other specialists argue that the offerings made are extraordinary because they were made for the specific purpose of saving the palace just before it was actually destroyed. The suggestion has therefore been made that the human beings mentioned as offerings were in fact human sacrifices.
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2008, 07:35:44 pm »


Kernoi: These are simply ceramic vessels with multiple receptacles of the same shape, where such offerings as wine, oil, graine etc. could be laid.
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2008, 07:37:38 pm »

Cult Centers
   
The Minoans particularly worshipped trees, pillars (sacred stones), and springs. The priesthood seems to have been almost entirely if not totally female, although there's evidence (precious little evidence) that the palace kings had some religious functions as well.


 
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2008, 07:38:55 pm »

Caves



Caves were first used in Crete as dwellings or at least as habitation sites in the Neolithic period. Toward the end of the Neolithic, they also began to be used extensively as cemeteries, and such usage continued throughout the Early Minoan period and in some areas even longer.


Cave of Psycho


Caves appear to have first been used as cult places early in the Middle Minoan (Protopalatial) period, at more or less the same time when the first Cretan palaces were being constructed. There may very well be some connection between the establishment of powerful central authorities in the palaces and the institution of worship in caves. The evidence for the use of caves as cult places consists of pottery, animal figurines, and occasionally bronze objects. Such objects are found not only in caves which had previously served habitation or funerary purposes but also in caves which had as their earliest known function the housing of some religious activity. In addition to artifacts, some cult caves contain large quantities of animal bones, mostly from deer, oxen, and goats and no doubt derived from some form of animal sacrifice.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2008, 07:40:11 pm »



Women in Temple


One of the better known cult caves is the "Cave Of Eileithyia" near Amnisos, associated with the divinity Eileithyia on the basis of a reference in Homer's Odyssey. This cave is some 60 m. long, between 9 and 12 m. wide, and 2 to 3 m. high. Near the middle of the cave is a cylindrical stalagmite ca. 1.40 m. high which is enclosed by a roughly built wall 0.45 m. high. Within the enclosure and in front of the stalagmite is a roughly square stone, perhaps some form of altar.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2008, 07:40:43 pm »

Peak Sanctuaries



These are cult centers located at, or just below, the tops of prominent local hills, not necessarily "peaks" on true "mountains". Such sites are characterized by deep layers of ash (without animal bones, hence interpreted as the remains of bonfires and not of blood sacrifices of some kind) and by large quantities of clay human and animal figurines.

Like the cult caves discussed above, the earliest peak sanctuaries date from the MM I period and most of the two dozen or more confirmed examples of such cult locales have produced material of this date. Moreover, the cult caves and peak sanctuaries are virtually the only sites other than the palaces themselves to have produced certain artifactual types.

Moreover, the large numbers of animal figurines found at the peak sanctuaries obviously cannot be explained in the same way, although these may have served as substitutes for genuine sacrificial animals or as votive pledges that such animals would be sacrificed elsewhere at some other time, since blood sacrifice does not seem to have been an acceptable practice at peak sanctuaries.

The two major peak sanctuaries so far excavated and published are Petsofa in eastern Crete (elevation 215 m.; serving the town of Palaikastro) and Iuktas (elevation 811 m.; just south of and hence presumably serving Knossos).

In MM III, an imposing building was constructed on Mt. Iuktas consisting of three parallel terraces, oriented north-south, of which the upper two at the west were approached by an east-west ramp at the south.

At Petsofa, a three-room building was first erected in MM III, again a long time after the sanctuary was first used. It is quite possible that these peak sanctuaries were visited only on special religious holidays, much as similar mountaintop chapels are today in Greece, since in many cases the sanctuaries are too remotely located to have served daily religious purposes.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2008, 07:41:35 pm »

Shrine of the Double Axes at Knossos


Bench sanctuary located in the southeast quarter of the palace at Knossos. This tiny (1.5 m. x 1.5 m.) shrine was abandoned with its religious furniture in situ and is thus extremely valuable as a source for our understanding of Minoan religion at least toward the end of the Bronze Age. The room's floor area is divided into three sections at different levels. In the front (lowest) part lie several large vases. In the middle area, a tripod "table of offerings" is embedded in the floor, and to either side of it are groups of small jugs and cups. At the back of the room is a raised bench ca. 0.60 m. high on which are fixed two stuccoed clay "horns of consecration". In each case, between the "horns" is a round socket, presumably to hold a double axe such as the small one of steatite found resting against the left-hand pair of "horns".

Between the two pairs of "horns" were found a bell-shaped female figurine and a smaller female statuette of Neolithic type, perhaps a treasured heirloom. To the left of the left-hand pair of "horns" was a male figurine holding out a dove, while to the right of the right-hand pair were two more bell-shaped female figurines, one with a bird perched on her head. The last is often considered to be a goddess while the remaining figures are identified as votaries.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2008, 07:42:26 pm »



Sanctuary Complex to West of Central Court at Knossos



Two pillar crypts of similar size (3.5 m. x 5.3 m.), both with a central pillar liberally incised with double axes on all exposed faces of each block.

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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2008, 07:43:48 pm »




Throne Room Complex to West of Central Court at Knossos


Located near the northeast corner of the west wing of the Knossian palace, the "Throne Room" proper is part of a larger four- or five-room block which was apparently devoted first and foremost to cult rather than to the display or exercising of political authority.

Sources: Richard ****: Minoan Religion and Women in Minoan Culture
Lesson 26: Mycenaean and Late Cycladic Religion and Religious Architecture, Trustees of Dartmouth College 

http://inanna.virtualave.net/snakegoddess.html
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Gwen Parker
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2008, 07:47:22 pm »





Oh Atana Potnia
Mother of Old;
Holy Idaean Goddess of Crete,
Thou are the MA-TE-RE TE-I-JA.

To remember thee is
to remember the mother of all.

Thou are the mother and we are thy childs.
Thou hast created the universe after thy will,
The elements serve thy command,
Thou are the Mistress of the animals,

at hilltops we worship thee;
at springs we worship thee;
at caves we worship thee;

Oh Atana Potnia
Mother of Old;
Sacred Idaean Goddess of Crete,
Thou are the MA-TE-RE TE-I-JA.

Thy sacred essence shall never be forgotten.

Text: Roibin 99
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2008, 08:59:47 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.



Hey there Gwen, long time...etc.

I believe the Bock saga info would indicate that the symbol was around long long before the arrival to Crete of those who produced the so-called "goddess" statuary.   Also, they would not have used the concept of god/goddess, but lived according to the "Eight Powers"
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ILLIGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM

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.

Edgar Cayce
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