:: THE MINOAN EPIPHANY - A Bronze Age Visionary Culture ::

:: Archaeological Evidence for Visionary Ritual and Altered States of Consciousness in Cretan Prehistory ::

This essay explores one of the central rituals of Minoan religion, that of the Minoan Epiphany, from a strongly archaeological perspective which allows the relevant artefacts to speak for themselves. An introduction to the artefacts upon which the epiphany images are found and the Epiphany Cycle leads onto a review of ritual actions such as dance and baetyl usage, in which traditional 'symbolist' interpretations are maintained. These are then challenged by viewpoints which call into question the passive assumptions behind Western religions and religious categories, in particular the depictions of altered states of consciousness, the visionary potential of dance gestures and animistic expressions implied by the images. A review of a range of Minoan seal artefacts which bear images of the Epiphany is then undertaken, where some visual conventions of the style are listed, and speculations as to the underlying perceptual realities implied by the epiphany experience, and the meaning of the Minoan Epiphany for the modern Westerner, are explored.

Minoan Seal Band


1. Introduction
2. Enacted and Visionary Epiphany
3. The Epiphany and Neopalatial Minoan Society
4. The Ring Of Minos
5. The Epiphany Cycle
6. The Epiphany as Ritual Action
7. Dance in Epiphany Rituals
8. Baetylic Rituals and Symbolic Epiphanies
9. Epiphany as Altered State of Consciousness
10. Perceived Bodily Changes in Epiphany Scenes
11. Experiments with Gesture
12. Animism and Minoan Peak Sanctuaries
13. Tripartite Shrines and Wild Nature
14. Vision-Seeking Rituals and Rites of Passage
15. Conclusions

Minoan Seal Band


1. Introduction & Epiphany Typology
2. Review Part One - Artefact #1 - 'The Ring Of Minos'
3. Review Part Two - Artefact #2 - 'The Isopata Ring'
4. Review Part Three - Artefacts #3 - #5
5. Review Part Four - Artefact #6 - 'The Amnisos Ring'
6. Review Part Five - Artefact #7 - 'The Mochlos Ring'
7. Review Part Six - Artefacts #8 - #10
8. Review Part Seven - Artefact #11 - 'The Archanes - Fourni Ring #2'
9. Review Part Eight - Artefact #12 - 'The Vapheio Ring'
10. Review Part Nine - Aretfacts #13 - #15
11. Review Part Ten - Artefact #16 - 'The Knossos M1-5 Impression'
12. Review Part Eleven - Artefact #17 - 'The Poros Ring'
13. Review Part Twelve - Artefacts #18 - #20
14. Review Part Thirteen - Artefacts #21 - #23
15. The Meaning of the Epiphany for Modern Eyes

Minoan Seal Band


Appendix A - Epiphany at the Baetyl at Gournia
Appendix B - A Possible Fresco of the Epiphany at Ayia Triada
Appendix C - Speculations on Iconotropical Renderings of the Minoan Epiphany
Appendix D - Priestesses, Enacted Epiphanies and the Eternal Return
Appendix E - Construal Images in the Minoan Epiphany
Appendix F - Evidence for the Epiphany in Pre- and Protopalatial Images (TBC)

Appendix G - Five Further Artefacts Reviewed - Artefacts #24 - #29 (TBC)


Minoan Seal Band

'The Minoan Epiphany: A Bronze Age Visionary Culture'
Bruce Rimell, 2010 - 2013

Copyright (c)2013 Bruce Rimell: Texts, artworks & sketches. Artefact images are copyrighted to the respective institutions, including the Hellenic Ministry of Culture; Archaeological Museums at Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Archanes & Chania; National Museums at Athens & Berlin; Ashmolean Museum Oxford, and the CMS Archive, and are reproduced here under a Fair Usage Policy. The present essay utilises current archaeological theories to present a synthesis of the Minoan Epiphany with a view to expanding present understanding of the religious context of Bronze Age Crete, which the author belives constitutes said Fair Usage.

1. Appendix F - Evidence for the Epiphany in Pre- and Protopalatial Images - Images & Text
2. Appendix G - Five Further Artefacts Reviewed - Images, Text & Sketches
3. Academic Referencing for quotes throughout Text
4. Academic Referencing for evidential points in Text Body
5. Corrections & Emendations, inc. Artefact #21 sketch (see Galanakis)

Minoan Epiphany

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are copyrighted to Bruce Rimell and may not be reproduced in any form unless stated otherwise.