I’m a Modern Minoan Pagan, a researcher of the Classical Labyrinth, and more recently on their culture and mythology. It is internationally recognized now that the Bronze Age people found on the Mediterranean island of Crete are called Minoans named after King Minos who wasn’t a king but an underworld judge. There has in fact been a total absence of kings or chieftains on this island during the Bronze Age.
The Minoans were neither Mycenaean nor Greek, but belong to Old Europe, long before the Indo-Europeans arrived. They travelled far and wide, and made it to Britain in the south of England, and even been credited with the construction of Stonehenge. I prefer to call the Minoans the Idaeans, as I believe that this is what they would have called themselves after the sacred mountain of Ida, now called Psiloritis on Crete.
I have been researching the Labyrinth on the Tor at Glastonbury in the United Kingdom since 1983 from a unique perspective, and published my conclusions in 2013 on my website - www.cretanspiraldecoded.com
The tor is a 518 foot hill on the outskirts of this small market town, which has terraces cut deep into the side of the hill, and is part of what is believed to be an ancient pathway from the Bronze Age, running around the hill, and conforming to the design of The Labyrinth, the Cretan spiral of Minoan legend. On top of the tor are the remnants of St. Michael's church destroyed by an earthquake in the fourteenth century leaving only the tower. The hill is slanted as it rises, and falls off abruptly at the top, and relative to the tower has a breast shaped appearance.
On the island of Thera, now called Santorini, an outpost of the Idaeans archaeologist came to excavate the ruins destroyed by a super volcano on the island in 1628 BCE which lay under the ash. They discovered beautiful frescoes of women wearing a long dress with an open top baring their shapely breasts, and became the most talked about aspect of these people. In Minoan spirituality, the Frescoes illustrate their beliefs, as a ‘Breast Centered Goddess Consciousness,’ and in the world of the Idaeans, men revered women as the Goddess Gaia.
The Idaeans built shrines to the goddess on mountains tops and the spiral on the tor because it was the ideal shape to represent the goddess - a breast shaped hill. The broad breasts of Gaia, Mother Earth supports all mountains.
The Labyrs also plays a part in this goddess consciousness being one of the major symbols of the culture. The Double-bitted Axe was only held by a priestess or seen in the company of women as a floating object. When looking at a map of the whole island of Crete my mind turned to the Adorants fresco in the House of the Ladies on Santorini. The island looks to me, like it’s made up of three parts from west to east, and the Adorants fresco seems to echo this. The veiled girl on the right of the fresco is looking in the direction of the Horns of Consecration on the far wall and perhaps at the same time something in the distance. If we look farther afield, to the east of Crete is the island of Cyprus the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, and the daughter of Ouranos. The god Hephaestus forged beautiful jewellery for his wife, including the Cestus, a girdle which accentuated her breasts in the same way the bodice that the snake goddess is wearing. Greek women a thousand years later would wear Criss-crossed breasts bands on top of their garments to achieve the same result, and does look remarkably like the Labyrs in shape.
Is this the meaning of the Labyrs, the breasts of Aphrodite? The axe is believed to represent the soul in the same way the Butterfly motif does to symbolise the souls of the departed, and both are seen quite often combined together in Idaean art. A baby suckling at its mother's breast is drawing sustenance from the mother's life force, and could be understood as doing the same from her soul. Aphrodite is sometimes pictured with weapons, which is unclear as to why, until you realise a lot of her near eastern beliefs were removed and is generally considered that her weapon is the Cestus, the enchanted girdle that makes any man fall in love with the wearer.
Is this why the Axe is both the breasts of Aphrodite and her weapon? The Dove, a symbol of Aphrodite, is often found perched above the Labyrs.
The town of Glastonbury is believed to be the 4th Chakra of the Earth - the Heart, and has been recognized as a spiritual centre since the megalithic era. It would seem that this belief is not without some justification with the tor at this location. The breasts of a woman, are prominently positioned around the heart, and radiates a divine energy from the great mother, from Aphrodite through the breasts which is love, allowing a woman to commune and pray to the goddess, and also as a conduit to the goddess allowing men to respect and pray to the goddess in ritual, as well as forming a deep sensual connection with their partners, and her sacred feminine essence.
Female breasts today have become hypersexualized, and objectified, and equally shunned and shamed, a bizarre paradox for a society when breastfeeding a baby in public can be seen as a hostile act (under the public order act of 1986) rather than being fully understood and respected, and yet the breasts are so inherently beautiful they deserve to be appreciated in wholeness. The bra with its under-wires can be very suffocating and unhealthy as they can block the lymph nodes from working properly, and remove toxins from the body.
Many people ask why there is such a difference between one woman and another in breast size. The answer is often considered to be genetic, even though there can be women in the same family that can be very different in size from each other. Diet is a factor, as you need protein to develop a bust, and since the Second World War Japanese girls have become curvier, and bustier, due to eating western style foods.
However, this doesn’t explain the inconsistencies for women in the west. So, if it's not diet in the end that determines a girl’s size. What does?
In the end, it’s determined by the woman herself. The subconscious part of her mind (the Goddess) that has been constantly listening to her attitudes from being a young girl, and that of her friends - male and female, and the society she lives in, and the goddess has bestowed the most appropriate size to reflect her ‘inner self.’ This of course does not mean that every woman will be happy with this outcome, but it's all tied up with a woman’s sexuality, as describe in tantric belief that the breasts are a woman’s sexual centre, and how she thinks of herself as a woman in society, academically, professionally. Many articles written on women’s issues have stressed the importance of women to have a more positive relationship with their breasts, and be more cautious about the thoughts they send their breasts, and in the cultivating of appreciative ones. A woman who truly connects with the goddess through her breasts will know the beautiful feelings that arise from fully embracing them for their spiritual as well as physical qualities, in the same way Idaean women practiced, three and a half thousand years ago.
Idaean girls from a very young age would also wear a dress that would visibly display their upper body in preparation for the day when they would become a woman, and begin to develop their breasts. Why do men fear an untamed breast, why do women feel ashamed when their breasts move naturally instead of inviting their liberation?
Why shouldn’t breasts be wild? Or loving, sensual, wholesome, nurturing, with real enchantment, and the deepest expression of the sacred, and what it means to be a woman.
Let us respect and appreciate female breasts in a culture that no longer honours the Goddess, as many women no longer feel truly connected to their breasts. The breasts attract the eye in a sexual sense because men have been told by society in magazines and movies that breasts are there to be used to stimulate male arousal, and not love. The breasts are desirable because they’re inherently beautiful and offer the most sensual and loving energy which naturally, in its true nature wants to feed men, through the mouth, a spiritual energy.
This is the unrealised need that men have, and don’t know why, which is the need to worship the goddess –
‘You are the Goddess made flesh, blood and spirit walking footfalls on the soft grass of this world. You are her voice, her hand and her heart. Her winds are your breath, her mountains you’re Breasts. In this way you are connected to the Great Mother.’