Tuesday, February 18, 2014


It’s been more than four months since I returned from the ‘goddess tour of Crete’ (www.goddessariadne.org) led by feminist theologian/ scholar/ author Dr. Carol Christ. You’d think by now I’d be ‘over it’ – that I would find something else to write about. And I will – eventually – write about other things. But I don’t think I want to be ‘over’ what I learned in Crete. Ever.

By walking amid five-thousand-year old ruins, climbing carefully into caves sacred to the Minoan people, and holding rituals around sacred stones or springs or trees, I began to have a vision of a different kind of society: a non-dominational society.

[My computer does not like that word – which I just made up – probably because it’s a pretty patriarchal machine. Let’s use it anyway.]

Oddly, since when most people think about ancient Crete (if they do) they think about the bull-leaping depicted in Minoan art and reflected in tales woven by latter-day Greeks, I did not photograph any bull-leaping art except this one clay vessel of kids dangling off the head of some bovine form.

 [Ponder this: the mammal could be either a bull or cow and the kids could be male or female, or some combination.]

I digress.

From all that I read and all that I heard and felt while in Crete, the Minoans had a matrifocal/ matrilineal/matrilocal society. Mothers and mother values [love, generosity, and care] were honored. By both men and women.

As I imagine it, this ancient society had some gender-specific roles. In all probability, its sailors were male. It is possible that those who built the temples and cleared the land were male. Artists could, I think, have been either female or male. I’m guessing that most weavers and cooks were female. But the important thing is that nobody was dominant over others. Not males over females or females over males. Think about it. Mutual dignity and respect. Where everyone’s gifts and opinions were valued.


I do not want to ‘get over’ Crete. I do want to do whatever I can to foment a non-dominational society – here and now.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Moment in Crete

One of the factors that made the fall tour of Crete (www.goddessariadne.com) so powerful was the community that the participants became.

Often before walking a site, such as the ruins of Knossis, we would learn about its history and significance and approach it with the respect and in the manner which it deserved.

Still, one of the most powerful experiences I had, happened on the day I got lost, with one of the tour's leaders, Mika. The group was to gather at a Minoan tomb, Tholos, near Kamilari. Because of back problems, I walked so slowly that Mika and I lost sight of the others and wandered around for an hour before giving up and creating our own little ritual on the side of a dirt road, in the middle of nowhere important.

Sitting in a little patch of rocks, we set our goddess images on their mineral perches and poured our respective libations as we remembered aloud our female ancestors. I invoked my paternal grandmother, Edna Miriam Thacker McClure, her mother (my great grandmother) Nell Miriam Fowler Thacker, and the generations of prior Miriams recorded on a sampler that hangs in my guest room. The ritual prompted me to renew the honor in which I hold my own name (Miriam of course) and its heritage/ my heritage.

After the ceremony, we found our way back to the bus and eventually the others joined us and the tour continued with, as I recall, an incredible (and incredibly late) lunch at a seaside restaurant in Kamilari.

That private ceremony still reverberates in my memory. I have no pictures of that pile of rocks (my camera was temporarily jammed).

Sometimes photographs are redundant.