"...For the Lady of the Labyrinth,
a jar of honey...."
Linear B Tablets, Knossos, 1500 BCE
Ariadne is a Cretan Goddess known as the "Mistress of the Labyrinth". She was famous for dancing her spiral dance, while weaving her thread of magic. In the center of her Labyrinth a monsters waits, who also happens to be her half brother, the Minotaur. Daughter to King Minos, Ariadne was said to also have been Crete's snake Goddess, again associating her with the spiral. It seems as though Ariadne was also a celestial Goddess, having associations with the moon and stars. Her constellation, Corona Borealis, was actually a crown given to her as a wedding gift from her husband Dionysus. It was flung up to the night sky to become the well known constellation.
Since she was daughter to the king, he put her in charge of the Labyrinth, which held the Minotaur at its center. The maze was made so diffcult so that no one would be eaten by the monster in the middle. King Minos would sacrifice many people to the Minotaur, and people grew tired of this. The hero Theseus was sent to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, and Ariadne fell in love with him the moment she saw him. So, she decided to betray her family, and help him find his way in to kill the Minotaur. Ariadne gave Theseus a special thread, so that he could unwind it on his way to the center, and then find his way back out again. Theseus was successful in killing the Minotaur, and in exchange for her help, he promised to make Ariadne his bride. With this they set sail to Dia, where he abandoned the unknowing Ariadne in her sleep. Upon waking , Dionysus had found her, fell in love with her, and made her his bride.
Ariadne dances the spiral dance of the Labyrinth. She dances spiraling down to the center where the monster waits. She represents that inner self we all seek in our path to enlightenment. Coming to terms with our darker selves and facing our "monsters" within, help us to heal.
Ariadne's priestesses were said to have rituals to the Goddess with serpents and bare breasted clothing, indicating the acceptance of sexuality in Minoan Crete. In Naxos, Ariadne was seen as a lunar fertility Goddess, who represented the seasonal cycle. Again associating her with rebirth and the spiral of life. This Goddess was highly worshiped in Crete, and was seen as a powerful Goddess in her day. It is said that she was also honored in Celtic Gaul, symbolizing the same things.
Call on Ariadne when you feel as though your stuck in the maze of your own life, and your not sure how to get out. She can help us heal our inner selves, and be symbolically reborn. On your altar to Ariadne, have symbols of the serpent, a small labyrinth, some honey, the sacred labrys (or a symbol of it), colors of blue and gold. She was also associated with the bee, which was a sacred animal in Crete as well. Enjoy working with this life giving Goddess of Ancient Crete!
For more info on Ariadne, check out : Matrifocus.com
Photo courtesy of John William Waterhouse