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Author Topic: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path  (Read 3259 times)

Leirion

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As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« on: March 14, 2014, 04:34:20 am »
Because I did not have a better way of phrasing it right now, since my path is not strictly reconstructionist.

I posted a little while ago about wanting to write a book, and now that I am emotionally committed, I was curious what other pagans would want to know about the ancient Minoan culture of Crete and how it might be relevant today.

So here is a thread to ask any questions you may have, and in the process help me pin down topics to cover while I am writing! I am not tied to the Minoan Brotherhood/Sisterhood in any way. What I do follow is a patchwork based on UPG, and what research is out there about one of the cultures that majorly influenced the ancient Greeks.

If I cannot answer your question right away, I will do research and get back to you, but it may take a little while. Questions about personal experiences and UPG are welcome as well!

Siren

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2014, 09:20:35 am »
Quote from: Leirion;142453
Because I did not have a better way of phrasing it right now, since my path is not strictly reconstructionist.

I posted a little while ago about wanting to write a book, and now that I am emotionally committed, I was curious what other pagans would want to know about the ancient Minoan culture of Crete and how it might be relevant today.

So here is a thread to ask any questions you may have, and in the process help me pin down topics to cover while I am writing! I am not tied to the Minoan Brotherhood/Sisterhood in any way. What I do follow is a patchwork based on UPG, and what research is out there about one of the cultures that majorly influenced the ancient Greeks.

If I cannot answer your question right away, I will do research and get back to you, but it may take a little while. Questions about personal experiences and UPG are welcome as well!


I'm really fascinated by all things Minoan but there's so little out there about them, at least so little that's solid, so I'd love some insights and UPG to throw into the mix. Off the top of my head: What is your take on the Snake Goddess statues, and what do you believe their underworld-related theology was like?

Sefiru

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 06:43:09 pm »
Quote from: Leirion;142453
So here is a thread to ask any questions you may have, and in the process help me pin down topics to cover while I am writing! I am not tied to the Minoan Brotherhood/Sisterhood in any way. What I do follow is a patchwork based on UPG, and what research is out there about one of the cultures that majorly influenced the ancient Greeks.

Off the top of my head: Does the Minotaur/Labyrinth story come up at all in Minoan mythology, or is it strictly a Greek thing?

ETA: the tops-of-heads thing was purely coincidental! :)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 06:44:12 pm by Sefiru »

Leirion

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2014, 01:05:59 am »
Quote from: Sefiru;142497
Off the top of my head: Does the Minotaur/Labyrinth story come up at all in Minoan mythology, or is it strictly a Greek thing?

ETA: the tops-of-heads thing was purely coincidental! :)

 
Since the actual written language of the Minoans, Linear A, is still not translated, it is hard to say how much of the myth actually comes up. A lot of what is known is taken from artwork, coins, and sometimes mentions of the Minoans from other groups of people, like the Egyptians. Some things written in Linear B by the Mycenaeans are also used to kind of reconstruct what we mostly know (or theorize) now.

Based on coins, there was the concept of a Minotaur and a Labyrinth in Minoan society. But I feel like the actual myth is largely a Greek bastardization of what they heard about secondhand and saw on the island. For the Greeks, the Minotaur was a monster. But for the Minoans, he was often deified, or as Kerenyi (a scholar from last century) talks about, was seen as an incarnation of a god.

So I guess a more simple answer is, it is kind of both?

I do not want to crowd this reply too much, but I wrote more about this topic on my blog a year ago or so, and in the comments there is more sourcing information. If you are interested, it is here on Wordpress.


(Siren, I am still working on how to reply to yours! The underworld theology bit is a big thing for me, so I want to give it extra thought).

Snowdrop

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2014, 08:14:12 pm »
Quote from: Leirion;142453
Because I did not have a better way of phrasing it right now, since my path is not strictly reconstructionist.

I posted a little while ago about wanting to write a book, and now that I am emotionally committed, I was curious what other pagans would want to know about the ancient Minoan culture of Crete and how it might be relevant today.

So here is a thread to ask any questions you may have, and in the process help me pin down topics to cover while I am writing! I am not tied to the Minoan Brotherhood/Sisterhood in any way. What I do follow is a patchwork based on UPG, and what research is out there about one of the cultures that majorly influenced the ancient Greeks.

If I cannot answer your question right away, I will do research and get back to you, but it may take a little while. Questions about personal experiences and UPG are welcome as well!


Sorry in advance for the fact I'm asking a bunch of questions.  Minoan flavor is something I've been trying to add in to my path as well.  :)
 
I am curious about what your interpretation of the bulls is.  It's something I've been puzzling over for a while . . .  Matz, I believe, has pointed out that they did not seem to receive worship, which for me rules out the idea of them as some kind of prehistoric vegetation God, or as something imported from Egypt.  On the other hand, I also don't think they were a sacrificial animal and nothing more; the horns were such a common symbol of the religion in general that that doesn't seem right to me.  I'm wondering if perhaps a bull played a major role in some central myth, but I can't begin to imagine what exactly that role was.  

Also, what do you think about the question of whether any of the Mycenaean -> Greek Gods were originally Minoan?  (And if you think some of Them were, which ones?)  

Actually, in general, what are your thoughts about the links between the Minoans and other cultures?  For instance, has your path caused you to do research into Kemeticism and/or the various Near Eastern religions, or are you treating Minoan culture as basically self-contained?  Also, what are your thoughts on the origins of Minoan culture?  Do you feel there was a common pre-Indo-European culture in SE Europe it was descended from, or do you think these links are overstated and it was essentially an independent development?  

Related to the above, what is the overarching "structure" of your path most like --- for instance, do you think it's most similar to Hellenismos?  The Goddess religion style of paganism?  Something else?  

What concepts or values do you think are most important in Minoan religion?

Leirion

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2014, 12:59:11 am »
Quote from: Siren;142463
I'm really fascinated by all things Minoan but there's so little out there about them, at least so little that's solid, so I'd love some insights and UPG to throw into the mix. Off the top of my head: What is your take on the Snake Goddess statues, and what do you believe their underworld-related theology was like?


You know, I honestly have not given a lot of thought to the Snake Goddesses statues themselves. I have this whole thought cloud in my head regarding serpents, that actually ties in with your other question about underworld-related theology.

There is the theory that Orphism actually has a root in Minoan beliefs that I resonate with. In it, Zagreus is born of "Persephone" by "Zeus", in the form of a snake. (In the case of it being Minoan, they are not directly the same gods as the Greek versions we know). He was born of the underworld, but ascended by the hand of Zeus, only to descend again when he was torn apart and killed.

It was my UPG that the god who actually was the father to Zagreus, was also Zagreus-born-of-goddess. Later on, I read this theory in Kerenyi's "Dionysos" book, and he put it best: this "Zeus-Dionysos" god had three stages in myth, the first of which was as a self-engendering snake.

This ascent-descent cycle of Zagreus calls forth the imagery of the labyrinth, which was a circuit with only one path to follow: in, or out. The labyrinth itself is very serpentine, and tied to a major goddess of the Minoans (the Mistress of the Labyrinth). Another concept I was introduced to by Kerenyi was a total "Oh, duh, now it makes sense!" moment for me, when he equated the underworld with being the true labyrinth.

So, long story short on the snake topic: I tended to just assume that since snakes are sacred and a central, recurring image, that it made sense images of deity might contain them. I am also not firmly attached to the idea that the Snake Goddess statues are representations of a goddess, or of a priestess of hers, since those lines get kind of blurry in my UPG. (I tend to think of at least some of the priestesses as being either avatars of, or temporary vessels for, some of the deities). I also think snake handling is a distinct possibility.
 
My own spiritwork and UPG has a lot to do with the underworld, and also following the ascent-descent cycle. This is also intricately tied in with personal healing work. Each time I descend, at the center, I am met with some new knowledge that I have to grapple with. Sometimes, it goes smoothly, but often I get pretty dinged up in the process. I then have to carry it with me back into the daylight.

I hope some of this makes sense? I am not feeling too confident in my ability to explain things, or keeping lore versus UPG entirely separate since they overlap a lot for me (which I guess means it's not UPG anymore, but...yeah, stopping now!).

Leirion

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 01:05:20 am »
Quote from: Snowdrop;142587
Sorry in advance for the fact I'm asking a bunch of questions.  Minoan flavor is something I've been trying to add in to my path as well.  :)


No, thank you for all the questions! It is really helpful to me, as well, to know what people are interested in so I can be sure to cover it while I am outlining the book. It also helps me get into practice of how to explain myself better.
 
Quote
I am curious about what your interpretation of the bulls is.  It's something I've been puzzling over for a while . . . I'm wondering if perhaps a bull played a major role in some central myth, but I can't begin to imagine what exactly that role was.


Well, the concept of the Minotaur did exist in the Minoan society (based on images of coins). Whether it even resembled the myth with Theseus and Ariadne, I am not sure from an academic point. I tend to side with Kerenyi's theory that the bull was a transitional phase for "Cretan Dionysus", and was an animal form the god took on and was sacrificed in.

There is also the matter of Asterion/Asterios, which was a "true" name of the Minotaur. The star that resided in the center of the labyrinth, and was tied to the moon. I wrote more about that on Wordpress, and in the comments section include some sources.

So on a personal level with my path, I equate the bull and the Minotaur with being a form of the god Zagreus. Before the cult of the Bull on Crete, there was also a cult of the goat, and the stag as well, so I also hold those animals as sacred.

Quote
Also, what do you think about the question of whether any of the Mycenaean -> Greek Gods were originally Minoan?  (And if you think some of Them were, which ones?)


I do think that some of the Mycenaean -> Greek gods had origins in the Minoans. I do not think they translate directly, but were either absorbed into, or influenced the conception of them. Kind of like how some of the Greek gods were taken into the Roman pantheon, but there were new additions, as well.

I have not had a chance to delve into considering as many of the deities as I would have liked to. But off the top of my head, a few of the Greek deities/entities I consider having Minoan counterparts are Dionysus, Zeus, Hades, Persephone, Ariadne, Artemis, Hermes, Aphrodite, Demeter, and Rhea.

Even some of their names suggest pre-Greek origins, such as Dionysus and Persephone. Some translate in theory pretty clearly, like Britomartis into Artemis. Others get pretty messy, like Dionysus/Zeus/Hades, where some of their attributes overlap and get crossed.

Coming from UPG, there is a theory my partner and I have we have just been calling "not-twin"s. Where a particular deity at some point winds up splitting into multiple deities, either through their own doing, or because of cultural shifts making that deity's functions change to the point they become just different enough to separate. Like, Zagreus/Dionysus. They both have similar domains (madness, ecstasy, union), but the former died and was reborn and has an emphasis on the ascent-descent cycle, whereas Dionysus is more focused on the life as eternal force.  

Quote
Actually, in general, what are your thoughts about the links between the Minoans and other cultures? For instance, has your path caused you to do research into Kemeticism and/or the various Near Eastern religions, or are you treating Minoan culture as basically self-contained?  Also, what are your thoughts on the origins of Minoan culture?  Do you feel there was a common pre-Indo-European culture in SE Europe it was descended from, or do you think these links are overstated and it was essentially an independent development?


I definitely do not treat the Minoan culture as self-contained or existing in a vacuum. The Minoans had an impressive amount of expansion in the form of seafaring and had outposts in other civilizations. (There is even this theory out there that they made it to North America. I currently do not agree with this theory, but it actually has some sound logic and possible evidence to it). So it seems silly to me to see them as isolated because they were on an island, when travel and trade were so vital to the culture.

Seeing the links between the Minoans and other cultures was a surprise when it first came up in my research, but then quickly became the norm. Everything in my research wound up leading elsewhere. A common one was Egypt and Kemeticism. Whenever I hit a point where we jumped civilizations in research, I tended to pull back and try to focus on something else. This is mostly because, at the time, I had a big aversion to the Kemetics (because I knew they were personally relevant, and I tend to be a contrary individual). But I do vaguely recall accounts of certain deities having a counterpart or being a transference between the Kemetics and the Minoans.

As far as a common pre-Indo-Europian culture goes, I definitely think that is possible. Again, I do not think most civilizations develop in a vacuum, especially if they are geographically close. But some kind of all-encompassing pre-civilization also does not seem quite right to me. Too neat and tidy. So probably a mix between the two.

Quote
Related to the above, what is the overarching "structure" of your path most like --- for instance, do you think it's most similar to Hellenismos?  The Goddess religion style of paganism?  Something else?  


My path currently lacks much structure. It is something I am working on. I, personally, am actually eclectic - I deal a lot with Minoan deities, but also Hellenic, Abrahamic, Norse, and Shinto. (Tossing a random factoid into the mix - there are theories out there some Norse deities could actually have Minoan predecessors).

I am one of those spirit-bothered people, that tends to get poked at by deities. So I work with the ones that poke at me, and try to avoid the rest.

I do not, however, follow a kind of Goddess religion style of paganism, and I disagree with previous theories put forth that the Minoans did so. I think the Minoans may have had a more nature-centered view than the Greeks did, and I also think their divide between the human and the divine was a bit less. I also tend to side with the theory that the Orphic mysteries had an origin in the Minoan society.


Quote
What concepts or values do you think are most important in Minoan religion?


Going to just speak from the heart on this one. I think the concepts of life (as Zoe) and death, are extremely important in the Minoan religion. The whole death-rebirth cycle is a central, recurring theme. The dance into the labyrinth as a descent into the underworld - and into the heart of Being. Facing the depths. The ascent back out, bringing back the star at the center. Doing it all again.

Communion with the divine in the form of epiphanies, but also in the form of incarnation. The idea of the divine-made-flesh, either temporarily (as a kind of horsing), or for a lifetime (kind of like avatars). That the rhythm of the Universe is cyclical, and that there is no inherent separation between the sacred and the profane. The marriage of the raw and primal and wild, with the rational.  

I hope this all made sense in the context of your questions! If you have any more questions or I was not as clear as you would have liked here, please let me know!

Snowdrop

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2014, 02:24:42 pm »
Quote from: Leirion;142665
I have not had a chance to delve into considering as many of the deities as I would have liked to. But off the top of my head, a few of the Greek deities/entities I consider having Minoan counterparts are Dionysus, Zeus, Hades, Persephone, Ariadne, Artemis, Hermes, Aphrodite, Demeter, and Rhea.

Even some of their names suggest pre-Greek origins, such as Dionysus and Persephone. Some translate in theory pretty clearly, like Britomartis into Artemis. Others get pretty messy, like Dionysus/Zeus/Hades, where some of their attributes overlap and get crossed.


Yes, I can see all of those.  Also, I wonder about Eleithyia: She had a cave sanctuary near Knossos, and although afaik it was really only popular until the Greco-Roman part of Crete's history, since cave sanctuaries were so important in Palatial Crete, I wonder if there wasn't a native Goddess who had been identified with Eleithyia.  

And iirc there's a Linear A inscription reading ATANA, which could be nothing, but the fact that it's the same spelling as Linear B's Athena makes me wonder.  (But I'm not as confident about this one because I don't remember anymore where I got this info from, so . . . )

Quote
As far as a common pre-Indo-Europian culture goes, I definitely think that is possible. Again, I do not think most civilizations develop in a vacuum, especially if they are geographically close. But some kind of all-encompassing pre-civilization also does not seem quite right to me. Too neat and tidy. So probably a mix between the two.


Oh, I forgot to ask about this before: are you interested in the possible link between Linear A and the Vinča signs?  The Vinča signs, both by themselves and as possibly linked with Crete, are something that has been completely fascinating to me lately.

Also, btw, I just followed your blog. ;)

Siren

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 02:27:35 pm »
Quote from: Leirion;142665
I hope this all made sense in the context of your questions! If you have any more questions or I was not as clear as you would have liked here, please let me know!


Thank you for taking the time to let us pick your brains! :)

Leirion

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2014, 03:32:31 am »
Quote from: Snowdrop;142857
Yes, I can see all of those.  Also, I wonder about Eleithyia: She had a cave sanctuary near Knossos, and although afaik it was really only popular until the Greco-Roman part of Crete's history, since cave sanctuaries were so important in Palatial Crete, I wonder if there wasn't a native Goddess who had been identified with Eleithyia.  

And iirc there's a Linear A inscription reading ATANA, which could be nothing, but the fact that it's the same spelling as Linear B's Athena makes me wonder.  (But I'm not as confident about this one because I don't remember anymore where I got this info from, so . . . )


I have not personally looked into Eleithyia yet, but she is definitely on my list! There is a book on her I have been wanting to pick up that would hopefully address that some. Admittedly, the bulk of my current research has been into Britomartis, Ariadne, Asterion, Zagreus, etc.

And I left Athena out. I knew I was forgetting someone! I knew of the ATANA inscription on Linear B, but I had not heard of the one on Linear A before. I am going to do a little digging and if I happen to find a source for that, I will be sure to let you know!


Quote
Oh, I forgot to ask about this before: are you interested in the possible link between Linear A and the Vinča signs?  The Vinča signs, both by themselves and as possibly linked with Crete, are something that has been completely fascinating to me lately.


I am interested in the possible link! As I mentioned earlier, I definitely do not think the ancient people of Crete developed in a vacuum or were originally from the island. It is frustrating, how much is lost and the questions that we may never have answers to, like the signs themselves and their potential links.

Quote
Also, btw, I just followed your blog. ;)

 
Thanks! I am not very good at updating it lately, as I have been engrossed with my art blog at the expense of my research and spiritwork (except as it pertains to art). But there will be more updates...eventually.

Nyktipolos

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2014, 02:55:52 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;142857
And iirc there's a Linear A inscription reading ATANA, which could be nothing, but the fact that it's the same spelling as Linear B's Athena makes me wonder.  (But I'm not as confident about this one because I don't remember anymore where I got this info from, so . . . )

 
I know that A-TA-NA is in Linear B, but I wasn't aware it was similar in Linear A as well?

Actually, that kind of leads me to my question ... I know Linear A hasn't been diciphered as a language, but are there words we can point to and say "This is probably X"?
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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2014, 09:24:44 pm »
Quote from: Nyktipolos;143618
I know that A-TA-NA is in Linear B, but I wasn't aware it was similar in Linear A as well?

Actually, that kind of leads me to my question ... I know Linear A hasn't been diciphered as a language, but are there words we can point to and say "This is probably X"?

 
Psst, this is a placeholder reply to say I'm going to get back to you later in the week once I'm sure I've got all my facts straight, because everything Minoan really fascinates me and I want to make sure I'm stating it as well as I can.  :)

Leirion

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2014, 12:55:50 am »
Quote from: Nyktipolos;143618
I know that A-TA-NA is in Linear B, but I wasn't aware it was similar in Linear A as well?

Actually, that kind of leads me to my question ... I know Linear A hasn't been diciphered as a language, but are there words we can point to and say "This is probably X"?

 
I look forward to hearing what information Snowdrop digs up on this topic! There are a lot of theories out there right now, and hearing other people's takes on the issue is of interest to me.

From my current understanding, the simpler answer to your question is that, yes, there are words we can point to and say "This is probably X".

My brain tends to use Chinese/Japanese as a metaphor for Linear A and Linear B. Japanese absorbed a lot of Chinese characters called Kanji, so there are symbols that are common to both languages. However, Japanese also expanded upon Chinese by adding more symbols that are not in Chinese (hiragana, etc.).

Linear B does a similar thing. It uses a lot of characters found in Linear A, but also adds its own symbols to the mix (and leaves out some of Linear A).

It is possible to plug in some of the values for Linear B into the Linear A script. The problem is the underlying language itself is not deciphered. To use the Japanese metaphor again, if you have a string of hiragana symbols, you can easily pull up the syllabary and plug in the romanized values, giving you something like O-YA-SU-MI-NA-SA-I. So, it is legible...but the meaning is lost unless you know Japanese. I think that is where we are stuck with Linear A. We can at least plug in some values to get words, but the actual meaning of those words is a language that is currently lost.

But there are a few words in Linear A that I think the linguists may have determined the meaning of. These words are usually things like place names, whose name has been passed down through the centuries. And for words that managed to be loaned down the line and remain the same in Greek. For example, KE-NI-SO may be Knossos.

This whole explanation is, however, one of multiple theories floating around out there right now. It feels the most likely to me at the moment, so it is what my brain tends to default to.

Nyktipolos

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2014, 01:51:24 am »
Quote from: Leirion;143664


 
I think your explanation made a lot of sense! I re-read the Wiki article on Linear A and it did make mention of the idea KE-NI-SO being Knossos, and wondered if there were more. I know we're still in the process of understanding (I think?) Linear B even though we've deciphered it, so I wonder how long it may still be for us to understand Linear A, even a smidgen.
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Leirion

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Re: As a Modern Follower of the Minoan Path
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2014, 03:31:38 am »
Quote from: Nyktipolos;143669
I think your explanation made a lot of sense! I re-read the Wiki article on Linear A and it did make mention of the idea KE-NI-SO being Knossos, and wondered if there were more. I know we're still in the process of understanding (I think?) Linear B even though we've deciphered it, so I wonder how long it may still be for us to understand Linear A, even a smidgen.

 
I am glad it made sense! I have been fighting a cold and lack of sleep, so words feel all floaty and strange.

There are some other words! I would have to do more digging, but I found this website which has a list of over a dozen words that are identical in Linear A and B, and even more that are very similar. (Link goes to a .edu website). It does not give a proposed meaning for all of them, though. But at least it shows there are more words that appear across written systems.

I have no expectations of us managing to get a decent grasp/understanding of Linear A in my lifetime. It would be wonderful, but as you said, we're still working on Linear B!

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The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall