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Article ID: 15413
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Posted: June 2nd. 2013
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Note: 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, Temenos Asterphaede, Temenos Protogonoi, Temenos ta Theia, Temenos Labyrinthos, Temenos Astrophanes, and the Grove of the Sacred Serpent and Temenos Asterpeleios, both of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
What is the Minoan Brotherhood?
The Minoan Brotherhood is an Initiatory Tradition of the Craft for Gay and Bi Men, based on the structures of British Traditional Wica, mainly Gardnerian, and inspired by the spiritual and aesthetic legacy of the Minoan Civilization and some Aegean and Ancient Near Eastern mythology.
Edmund M. Buczynski established the Brotherhood in 1977 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 largely heterosexist culture of most forms of Traditional Witchcraft prevalent in the 1970's in the New York City area. These traditions once believed that due to the inherent polarity of nature, magic must only 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 an uncomfortable situation. Many groups refused to work with gay men under any circumstances, however, Eddie worked his way through the training of the Gardnerian tradition. Upon his elevation to the Gardnerian 3rd Degree, 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.
Thirty years on since its inauguration, the Brotherhood remains a sanctuary for gay men (and others so inclined) to celebrate, explore, and exalt the unique Men's Mysteries we regard as our Birthright, our special gift from the Gods, and one of the most important of the varied roles we play in the Craft and in the broader field of the establishment of Pagan spirituality today. Our Founder's special vision in establishing this Magical Order has been enriched in recent years by further collaborations between our surviving Elders and newer members of our Priesthood. Today the Brotherhood is witnessing a rebirth of vitality, carrying us forward into new vistas and ever more beautiful Mysteries as we come together in the worship of our Gods and our true Selves.
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. Historically, a third path within the Minoan Tradition was the Cult of Rhea, also known as the Cult of the Double Axe, which represented a meeting ground between the two traditions. Unfortunately Eddie did not complete this third and separate path of the Cult of the Double Axe before he passed to the Isle of the Blessed.
The Minoan Fellowship and the Minoan Temple
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 original tripartite Minoan Tradition. However, many individuals have found the Minoan Fellowship to be a rewarding path, and those seeking that style of Rite are encouraged to make contact with them directly.
How is the Minoan Brotherhood structured?
We are an Initiatory Mystery Tradition of Witchcraft 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 3rd Degree High Priest, called the Minos. Membership is by Initiation, and we trace our lineage back to Eddie Buczynski (Lord Gwydion) . After the 3rd degree, an individual is empowered to form 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.
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. 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 year, the 4 Solar holidays and the 4 Cross-quarters. Brotherhood Initiates work magic together in Groves, in couples, or alone. Our Full Moon rituals 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 homoerotic situations may not be suited for this Tradition.
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 on groups.yahoo.com and post an introduction. This will provide the student the appropriate forum in which to connect with available teachers. More detailed information than contained within this FAQ must be given within the teacher-student relationship. The website www.minoan-brotherhood.org also has a list of Groves and Minoi. Each Grove and Minos has its own requirements for Initiations and Elevations, and each has its 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. To find a Grove and Minos near you please check our official site: www.minoan-brotherhood.org. We maintain a list to help sincere seekers connect with Teachers in the Tradition: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MinoanSeekers. Please note that this latter list is not a general gay Pagan discussion venue; it is maintained solely and specifically for the aid of seekers of training in the Brotherhood.
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