The ruins and imagery of Minoan Crete have been celebrated as heritage for local communities, as an island-wide Cretan identity, in moments of Greek nationalism, and through specifi cally European types of Cretomania. In today’s world, the Minoans exist within a discourse of global heritage, which can, in turn, foster very personal interactions and sometimes quite intimate identifi cation with the past. Best known may be the ‘goddess worshippers’, a term that most often refers to the women who connect with a divine presence through ritual pilgrimage to ancient sites across the island. 1
A contemporary group of North American men also construct their spiritual and sexual identity through invocations of the Minoan civilisation – through its archaeology and its mythology. The Minoan Brotherhood is a neopagan organisation for gay and bisexual men who take inspiration for their ritual practice from the iconography of Bronze Age Crete and a long stream of scholarly interpretations and popular receptions. As an initiatory cult, the organisation keeps many aspects of its rites private, but they do share a mythos that centres on the divine pair of a supreme female and her youthful son, developed from writings by Arthur Evans, Jane Harrison, and the popular writers and artists they inspired. These interpretations of archaeology, religion, and myth all call upon classical Greek sources to understand Minoan Crete, and the Minoan Brotherhood – similar to other ancient and contemporary pagan traditions – draws from a broad historical continuum in their own formulation of a Great Mother Goddess, who oﬀ ers a special connection to men open to alternative spiritual and sexual orientation.