Written By: Meg Crawford
Academic and long-time Muses pal Dr Caroline Tully has delivered a popular array of juicy in-house workshops spanning everything from an introduction to Thelema through to ancient Mediterranean witchcraft, the latter of which stems from her niche area of study.
In February, Dr Tully’s dropping in again to run another compelling workshop, this time exploring the Minoan Snake Goddess. In the lead up to her workshop, Dr Tully gives us an insight into her magical origins and fascination with the Minoans.
When did you first discovered magic and what made it so appealing?
It was in the holidays after year 12. I won’t say what year, because you don’t need to know how old I am, but let’s just say it was in the eighties. I ended up at this person’s house, looking in their bookshelf and saw all these books on magic and just thought, “what is this?”.
What was interesting to me was that magic seemed to promise amazing results. I wanted to follow up and see where it led. I’d never heard about it prior to that, and up to that point I wasn’t particularly interested in spirituality. I’d had a friend year 12 who was really into spiritualism and ouija boards – I didn’t know anything about either, but I did think her interest was ridiculous. I remember once we were doing a ouija board and she got a particular message and freaked out. I just rolled my eyes and was bored, so I thought I wasn’t interested in spiritual matters, but in fact I was.
But the thing is with magic is that it’s not just a spiritual thing. To be honest, it promises empowerment and effectiveness. Those were tempting things, although I didn’t consciously register that at the time. I just registered magic as an interesting system of knowledge that seemed really intriguing and about which I needed to know more.
Who were the ancient Minoans and what do we know about them?
“Minoan” is a term that came from the archeologist Arthur Evans who discovered the Palace of Knossos on what’s now called the Greek island of Crete in about 1899/1900. The name refers to the Greek myths about King Minos, the labyrinth and the Minotaur. While a lot about the Minoans is unknown, we do know that their civilisation became increasingly sophisticated. For instance, starting from around 1800 BCE, the Minoans had already built huge palaces, although there was an earthquake in which they were knocked down. The rebuilding started around 1750 BCE. The first palace period is called the Protopalatial period and the second the Neopalatial period. The snake goddesses date from the first period where they were preserved in deep, rectangular containers found later in the second palace.
What can we look forward to in the workshop?
I’m going to introduce the Snake Goddess, we’ll do some snake exercises, examine the historical evidence and look at the Snake Goddess forgeries, as well as go into evidence for other types of Minoan religion, some of which also involves snake iconography. We’ll also talk about the postures represented in Minoan artwork, and do some exercises with them – the point of the postures was to stimulate certain visions.
Why is it valuable for modern pagans to investigate ancient practices and religions?
It’s a cliche, but we’re really quite divorced from nature. Even saying “nature” sounds like a romantic cliche, but it’s really not. Right now, the ecosystems of the world are threatened, and extinctions are going on and on. The people in charge of the planet scoff at that, not thinking that they’re part of the environment.
The Minoan relationship with the environment was wildly different – the elites in Minoan art are often depicted in intimate religious relationships with aspects of the natural world. The idea is that they’re communicating with it because the natural world was considered to be prestigious. I just think it can never hurt for us to be more in tune with the real world beyond buildings, beyond phones, beyond the Internet, beyond the TV. The thing about the Minoans is that they were a bit more earthly compared to something like Thelema, which is a bit more starry. The Minoans were unashamedly green.
Tickets to this workshop are selling fast with only a few spots left.
Get your ticket online www.musesofmystery.com or in store now.
Minoan Snake Goddess Workshop, Saturday 23 February 2019, 11-1.30pm, $70.-