A Basic Introduction to the Minoan Brotherhood
© 2002 by The Minoan Brotherhood. All rights reserved
This document is a collaboration of many Minoan Elders; including those from the groves of the United States: the original Knossos Grove, Temenos Praxitheos, Temenos Drakontos, Temenos Theotokos, Temenos Kylixos Kai He Ampelos, Knossos-West Grove, Knossos-East Grove, Phaistos Grove, Hermes Grove, Asterphaedes Grove, Temenos Iakkhos; and the Grove of the Sacred Serpent and StarDove Coven, both of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
What is the Minoan Brotherhood?
The Minoan Brotherhood is a men's initiatory tradition of the Craft celebrating Life, Men Loving Men, and Magic in a primarily Cretan context, also including some Aegean and Ancient Near Eastern mythology.
Who founded the Minoan Brotherhood?
Edmund M. Buczynski founded the Brotherhood in 1975 in New York City. Eddie was an Elder of the Gardnerian and New York Welsh Traditions, and a founding Elder of the Wica Tradition. He was also a student of Archaeology, having studied at Hunter College and at Bryn Mawr's Classical Studies Department prior to his death.
Why was the Tradition founded?
The Minoan Brotherhood was founded as a response to the heterosexist culture of most forms of Traditional Witchcraft prevalent in the 1970's. These traditions believe that due to the inherent polarity of nature, magic must be performed between a man and a woman, and any groups that work without this balance are doomed to failure. This encouraged a homophobic attitude in many of the groups of the time. The rare group sometimes welcomed gay men as brothers, but only so long as they upheld the polarity rites of the tradition they were practicing. For many, this was uncomfortable, and nigh impossible. And many groups refused to work with gay men under any circumstances. Eddie worked his way through the training of the Gardnerian tradition. Upon his elevation to Gardnerian 3rd, he used his work in his original traditions, coupled with his knowledge of and research into ancient civilizations, to develop a tradition that celebrates the unique magic possible between men who love men.
Is the Minoan Brotherhood for gay men only?
The Minoan Brotherhood is primarily a tradition for gay and bisexual men. However, it is open to any male of legal age who is free to pursue his own interests. Completely heterosexual men may not feel comfortable with the style, method of working or current of power within the Minoan Brotherhood. For those who do, the door is always open, and has been since the founding of the Tradition.
Is the Minoan Tradition solely for men?
The Minoan Brotherhood is a male path. However, another aspect of the Minoan Tradition, the Minoan Sisterhood, is designed to provide a framework for women to practice in a similar, yet all-female setting.
The Minoan Sisterhood began unofficially in 1978. At that time, a small group of priestesses in the Wica Tradition began working with materials devised by Eddie Buczynski, Lady Rhea of Magickal Realms, and Lady Miw-Sekhmet of Enchantments, both in New York City. This early work resulted in the founding of the Minoan Sisterhood in 1982 by Lady Rhea and Lady Miw-Sekhmet in New York City. The Sisterhood is open to any woman, and emphasizes Women's Mysteries. The Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood are sibling paths in the Minoan Tradition, each with its own Mysteries and rites. A third path within the Minoan Tradition is the Cult of Rhea, also known as the Cult of the Double Axe, which represents a meeting ground between the two traditions. This 3rd Path is a cooperative endeavor between the working Minoan Brotherhood and Sisterhood Elders participating in its expression and involves the form and function they wish to use to achieve their purpose in coming together. The Cult of Rhea represents the coming together at the Sabbats or Festivals of the Year of both branches of the Tradition.
It should be noted that there is another path in the New York area that claims lineage to the Minoan Tradition. This path refers to itself as the Minoan Fellowship and has formed an organization in New York called the Minoan Temple. Despite any assertions made to the contrary, it is not a part of the Minoan Tradition as created by Eddie Buczynski, Lady Miw-Sekhmet, and Lady Rhea and should not be confused as such by anyone truly interested in the Minoan Brotherhood or Minoan Sisterhood.
How is the Minoan Brotherhood structured?
We are a mystery tradition employing three degrees of Initiation and Elevation that serve to mark varying levels of responsibility and involvement with the Mysteries. Our Covens are called Groves, and are run by a Minos of the 3rd Degree, occasionally in partnership with a Server and/or Kouros. Membership is by initiation, and we trace our lineage back to Eddie Buczynski (Lord Gwydion). After the 3rd degree, an individual is empowered to assume the role of Minos of a new Grove. Groves function autonomously within the framework of the Laws of the Tradition. The Minoan Brotherhood does not proselytize for new members, and maintains its Mysteries and Rites in secret. The central teachings of the Minoan Brotherhood have continued to develop since its founding through the continued scholarship of its members.
What form does ritual practice take in the Minoan Tradition?
Working within a Gardnerian-influenced framework, we blend elements of pre-Doric Aegean mythology (primarily Cretan and Mycenaean), the Ancient Near East, and Traditional Witchcraft with the wealth of knowledge which has been made available to us through the years of work, research, experimentation and inspiration of our Elders. A strong current of queer spirituality influences our practices. Working tools and their uses are similar to Traditional Witchcraft, but are also unique to our particular path.
We give honor to the Gods of the Minoan Culture, primarily through the forms of the Great Mother and Her Divine Son. We celebrate our rites at the 13 Full Moons and 8 Festivals of the Wheel. The Brotherhood Initiates work magic together in groves, in couples, or alone. Meetings are traditionally skyclad or naked. Our Full Moon rituals are for Initiates only, and are dedicated to the working of magic and spiritual development. Our Festivals are rooted in Aegean cycles and myths and are largely celebratory.
Do Minoan Brotherhood Rites involve sex?
Our Rites, like those of other paths of Traditional Witchcraft, can be sexually charged, and are decidedly homoerotic. Initiates are encouraged to study sex magic and eroticism. No one is expected to do anything non-consensual; however, people uncomfortable with nudity and homoerotic situations may not be suited for this Tradition. Sexual mysticism is a key element in Minoan magic, and so Initiates are continually developing themselves and their abilities.
What is the purpose of secrecy in the Minoan Brotherhood?
Mystery traditions keep their rites secret to preserve the impact for seekers, and to preserve the power of the Tradition. When awe is reduced to a sales pitch, and enlightenment becomes a commodity on a store shelf, then the magic is drained from life and the world. Secrecy works to preserve the sacredness and wonder of the spiritual quest.
Shouldn't the Brotherhood be available to all?
The Brotherhood is available to those who choose to apply themselves to the path of study and evolution. Magic, and its associated mental discipline, can be used to harm as much as it can be used to heal or create beauty. Dedication to the path of study and evolution helps the student become properly prepared to work with the energies of magic that affect the student's psyche and environment. We must learn to use fire correctly for it to be a constructive force. Similarly, shrouding the tools and rites behind the veil of Initiation works to ensure the safety of the student, and assures that only persons with appropriate ethical grounding, maturity, and commitment are given potentially dangerous esoteric knowledge. As in other Mystery Traditions, Minoan instructors function as guides and gatekeepers in this process. One cannot become a Minoan Brother without being taught by an appropriate teacher. Thus, though the Brotherhood is accessible to qualified applicants, seekers may need to wait until a qualified instructor is available.
In truth, the Mysteries themselves cannot be taught; they must be experienced. They are therefore exposed to the student over time, preparing the student to experience the true Mystery.
How do I learn more about the Minoan Brotherhood?
A prospective student of the Brotherhood should join the Minoan Seekers list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MinoanSeekers and post an introduction. This will provide the student the appropriate forum in which to learn about the available teachers and their requirements and personalities. More detailed information than contained within this FAQ must be given within the teacher-student relationship.
Each Grove and Minos has their own requirements for initiations and elevations, and each has their own areas of emphasis within the Craft. A student should get to know potential teachers and after getting to know the right one, ask to study with them. Since Minoans don't proselytize, it is the responsibility of the student to make his interest known to the appropriate teacher.
Reading and Other References
No written information on the workings of the Minoan Tradition exists outside of rudimentary information available to the public. We value our privacy and secrecy as ways in which we may further empower ourselves to serve our Gods. A list of recommended books is available on the Minoan Brotherhood web page at http://www.minoan-brotherhood.org