FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following text contains contributions from many Minoan Elders: 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 Protogonoi, the Grove of the Sacred Serpent, StarDove Coven, and Temenos ta Carmán.
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 New York 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. Many groups refused to work with gay men under any circumstances until the late '90s. Eddie worked his way through the training of the Gardnerian tradition. Upon his elevation to the 3°, he used his work in his original traditions, coupled with his knowledge of and research into ancient civilisations, to develop a tradition that celebrates the unique magic possible between men who love men.
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 in 1976. At that time, a small group of priestesses in the New York WICA Tradition began working with materials devised by Eddie Buczynski. Rhea Rivera of Magickal Realms, and Carol Bulzone of Enchantments, both in New York, used this material as the basis for building the Women's mysteries and formed the basis for the Minoan Sisterhood. Their work resulted in the founding of the first Grove of the Minoan Sisterhood in New York. The Sisterhood is open to any woman, and emphasises 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 third path is a cooperative endeavour 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 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 organisation 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, Carol Bulzone and Rhea Rivera, 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, a 3° High Priest, occasionally in partnership with a Server and / or Kouros. Membership is by initiation, and we trace our lineage back to Eddie Buczynski. Following elevation to the 3°, 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 proselytise 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 framework influenced by Traditional Witchcraft, we blend elements of pre-Doric Aegean (primarily Cretan and Mycenaean) and Ancient Near Eastern mythology 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 honour to the Gods of the Minoan Culture, primarily through the Great Mother and Her Divine Son. We celebrate our rites at the thirteen Full Moons and Eight Festivals of the Wheel. The Brotherhood Initiates work magic together in Groves, in couples, or alone. Meetings are traditionally skyclad (ritual nudity). 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 students, and to preserve the power of the Tradition. 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 Teachers 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 Teacher 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?
Each Grove and Minos has their own requirements for initiations and elevations, and each has their own areas of emphasis within the Craft. A Seeker should get to know potential Teachers and after getting to know the right one, ask to study with them. Since Minoans don't proselytise, it is the responsibility of the Seeker to make his interest known to the appropriate Teacher.
What should I do if there is no Grove near me?
In the first instance a Seeker should reach out to the Grove nearest to them. For some, the nearest Grove may be in another country and the Seeker will need to consider either relocation or very regular travel for training. As it is highly unlikely a Seeker will find a Grove local to them it is very common, particularly in North America, for people to travel very long distances quite regularly and without complaint. This is common across a number of Craft traditions. Naturally, it is a red flag for Teachers when they are approached by Seekers who have not first approached their nearest Grove or who have been declined training by the nearest Grove. Groves are in regular contact with one another.
What is the purpose of the meet-and-greet process?
The purpose of this is for the Teacher and Seeker to become acquainted over time and for the Seeker to also meet other Grove members who will equally need to be assured of the sincerity of the individual seeking training. The Grove will invest a lot of time and energy in training a new student, opening their temple space, homes and lives to a potential new addition to the Grove, forming family-like bonds over the years. It is a beautiful thing to experience though it is imperative that there is a meeting of minds at the outset.
Is there a cost for training?
In Traditional Witchcraft there is absolutely no cost for training. Teachers give freely of their time and skills in order to pass the tradition to the Gatekeepers of tomorrow. Beyond this, Teachers may charge the public for other services such as divination and providing seminars or workshops on other matters. While training, students are expected to make reasonable contributions towards Covenstead sundry items (oils, herbs, candles etc). This is a shared responsibility amongst Grove members so that it does not solely fall upon the Teacher. Students would also have to factor in their travel and possible accommodation costs, depending on how far they live from the Covenstead.