A look at the Minoan Brotherhood and the men who “walk among worlds”

Sean McShee —  September 12, 2018 — Leave a comment

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Many paths and traditions make up contemporary Paganism. The Wild Hunt recently spoke with Ceos of the Minoan Brotherhood. That tradition offers a spiritual path for gay men.

Ceos said that gay men, among others, have unique spiritual paths “because we [sexual and gender minorities] naturally walk among many worlds. We have unique experiences, of both joy and suffering, the fullness of which gives us depth of wisdom and beauty.“ He continued “All sexual and gender minorities go through the hero/heroine’s/seeker’s journey to find meaning within, while coping with living within the dominant het-world. That begets a very unique, challenging, and yet richly rewarding inner life for those who most ardently and deeply pursue it.”

Minotaur’s head at Heraklion Architectural Museum. [Wikimedia]

The Minoan Tradition

The Minoan Tradition has parallel male and female mystery branches. The Minoan Brotherhood is open to all males of legal age. This tradition emphasizes the “unique magic possible between men who love men.” Like other mystery traditions, it has three degrees of initiation. The Minoan Sisterhood focuses on female mysteries.

The Minoan Brotherhood describes itself as “a men’s initiatory tradition of the Craft celebrating Life, Men Loving Men, and Magic in a primarily Cretan context.” It includes some elements of the Gardnerian tradition. It began in New York in 1975.

About the Minoan Brotherhood

The Minoan Brotherhood consist of groves, small groups of less than 13 members, functioning much like covens. They meet in each other’s homes to do magic.

The tradition has as its principle deities, the Great Mother and Her Divine Son. It holds full moon rituals and rituals for the eight festivals of the wheel of the year. Generally, the Brotherhood does not hold public rituals, and a Minos of the Third Degree heads each grove.

Within the laws of the Brotherhood, each grove has autonomy. Each prospective member has to be approved by the Minos of the Grove, after an initial, in-person, interview.

Inclusion issues

The national website of the Minoan Brotherhood has no mention of gender categories outside the gender-binary. Ceos expressed a desire to “respect other sexual and gender minorities and answer the question as best I can with what I know.” Ceos emphasized that he could only speak for his grove: The Sons of the Minotaur. As the Minos of the Grove, he acts as its gatekeeper. Unlike churches, temples, and mosques, but like covens, groves are not open to the public.

Ceos said, “Over the years, we have had leathermen and drag queens join.” Many other men, somewhere between butch and queen, also joined he explained, but all identified as men who love men.

No transman has yet asked to join this grove. Ceos said “If a transman who loves men, were to ask for consideration, I would be open to talking with them.” Transmen would go through the same membership process as cismen.

Similarly, no asexual man (those with no sexual interests, male or female), intersex person (someone with ambiguous genitalia), or non-gender binary identified person asked to join this grove either. Ceos said that asexual men would also follow the same application process as sexual men.

Ceos continued, “I’ve never honestly considered the question of intersex or non-binary members. I think more awareness, talk and meeting of hearts and minds is needed within our community on this.” He said his criteria would include their energy, sincerity, and comfort level with a male mystery tradition.

Sex magic

The Minoan Brotherhood tradition encourages its members to study sex magic and eroticism from a homoerotic angle. Groves can include sex magic as part of their grove’s practice or as an “extracurricular” activity. Each grove can determine if the grove will engage in sex magic as a grove. The Sons of Minotaur has made a platonic agreement not to engage in sex magic as a grove. They study and discuss homoerotic sex magic as well as sexual mysticism. Ceos said, “We encourage individual members to explore this for themselves. Anything beyond that I leave to the gods.” He stressed that this grove is not for guys seeking hook-ups.

Sons of the Minotaur

Ceos described the Sons of the Minotaur Grove as serving the South Florida area since 2012. At present they have eight members, with two on leave. One member is bisexual. This grove considers itself a teaching grove, as it is open to new members.

He described the grove as “more like a group of close friends” that studies and practices magic together. This grove has the goal “to be consciously connected and heart-centered.” He continued, “Our platonic agreement has allowed us to deepen our emotional connection. It has kept the group emotionally safe for all our members. We are big into emotional vulnerability and sharing.”

Gay men and the goddess

When Ceos began studying the Craft in 2007, he found praying to a goddess to be scary. The more he prayed, the more he gained in self-respect. His respect for women increased. He began to understand how “patriarchy had influenced [his] personal attitudes towards [himself], women, other gay men, [the] so-called ‘effeminate’ men.” As Ceos honored the Divine Feminine, hyper-masculine men ceased to trigger his personal shame. He started to see those hyper-masculine men that he had lusted after as “souls looking for authentic heart-to-heart connection.” He learned to love himself.

Speaking strictly for himself and not for his grove or the International Minoan Brotherhood, Ceos went on to say that he thinks of spiritual paths as ways to release “any shame, guilt or any [sense of] ‘not enough’ so that we can see and love ourselves.” He sees the gods and goddess as archetypes, facets of the Divine. “If the Divine reveals itself as a unisex, trans, or bisexual being, it is still the Divine in its fullness. The Divine calls each of us in a way that we can each relate to. Spirituality is how we connect authentically to ourselves, to others, and to the universe as we understand it.”

Sean McShee

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Highly alienated, over-educated, and under-employed, Sean McShee is a San Francisco ex-pat currently living in Fort Lauderdale. He writes on HIV issues and health issues for South Florida Gay News, and blogs movie reviews at http://dreamingnoir.blogspot.com/. He has worked with Reclaiming, the Feri Tradition, Radical Faeries, and now is studying with ADF.