Minoan Brotherhood

EDDIE BUCZYNSKI

The Minoan Brotherhood was founded by Wiccan High Priest, Eddie (Edmund) M. Buczynski, in 1975. Eddie and his former partner ran The Warlock Shoppe in New York and founded a company called Earth Religion Supplies Inc. The couple established a group named Friends of the Craft and became members of the Council of Earth Religions (COER). They also assisted with organising the “Occult” exhibition held at the Museum of American Folk Art and published a Pagan newsletter titled “Earth Religion News” as well as a book authored by Eddie titled “Witchcraft Fact Book.”

Eddie Buczynski, New York, 1972.

Eddie was an Initiate of four Pagan traditions and founded another four Craft traditions. Eddie was ordained as a priest in the Church of the Eternal Source (CEW), a Kemetic Pagan group. He was a High Priest within in the New England Covens of Traditionalist Witches (NECTW) and later founded the New York Welsh Tradition (Traditionalist Gwyddoniaid). Eddie also became a 3° High Priest of the Gardnerian Tradition of Wicca and was brought into the Strega Tradition by Dr. Louis Martello before he founded the (New York) WICA Tradition.

Eddie’s egalitarian values saw him push boundaries and challenge social norms of the day. He welcomed LGBT people and persons of colour into his traditions at a time when they were denied entry by most other Wiccan covens. Eddie later formed dedicated spaces of Queer spirituality through the Minoan Brotherhood and the Minoan Sisterhood, the latter being co-created with Gardnerian High Priestesses Rhea Rivera and Carol Bulzone.

Eddie was for a time employed by the Classics Office at Manhattan’s Hunter College, of the City University of New York, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient History. He received a scholarship to attend Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, where he completed his M.A. degree through the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. Eddie’s dissertation examined the role of marine objects within the Minoan cult.

During the early eighties, Eddie explored Mediterranean landscapes including those of Italy, Greece, and Crete where he deepened his connection to the Gods and spirits of place. He also participated in archaeological excavations in Greece and Egypt organised by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

MINOAN TRADITION

The Minoan Brotherhood explores the Male Mysteries and is one two independent Craft paths of the Minoan Tradition, its sibling path being the Minoan Sisterhood which provides a unique framework for women to explore the Female Mysteries in an all-female Craft path. In unison they form the third aspect of the Minoan Tradition known as the Cult of Rhea, or the Cult of the Double Axe. This is a collaborative expression for Elders of the Minoan Brotherhood and Sisterhood in coming together at the Festivals of the Year for both branches of the Minoan Tradition.

The Minoan Sisterhood was birthed in 1976 after a number of Priestesses of the New York WICA Tradition began working with materials devised by Eddie Buczynski. Rhea Rivera, and her then partner, Carol Bulzone, used Eddie’s material for their exploration of the Female Mysteries. Their work formed the basis for the Minoan Sisterhood which they founded with the establishing of the first Grove of the Minoan Sisterhood in New York.

A small group in the New York area that refers to itself as the Minoan Fellowship, or Minoan Temple, falsely claims lineage to the Minoan Tradition. Genuine seekers of the Minoan Brotherhood or Minoan Sisterhood should be mindful that this group is absolutely not a part of the Minoan Tradition as created by Eddie Buczynski, Carol Bulzone and Rhea Rivera.

MINOAN BROTHERHOOD

The Minoan Brotherhood is a tradition of Pagan Witchcraft exclusively for Men who love Men. Although our tradition has Craft roots reaching back to the New Forest Coven, it is not to be confused with Wicca. While the latter is defined by heterocentric praxis other Witchcraft paths are not.

“Snake Goddess” figurine from the Knossos Temple Repositories. Circa 1650-1550 BCE.

The Minoan Brotherhood was founded in the 1970s as a response to the heterosexist culture then prevalent in most forms of Traditional Witchcraft. Due to their interpretation of polarity such traditions believed that any magic other than that worked between a man and a woman was ineffective or impossible. This encouraged homophobic attitudes within Traditional Initiatory Wicca. Rarely a coven may welcome gay men as brothers, but with the proviso they maintained the praxis of polarity which is heterocentric in expression. The acceptance of gay men was out of the question for most covens with many refusing to work with gay men under any circumstances until the late 1990s.

Eddie Buczynski and a number of his gay male and gay female friends were also subjected to homophobia and racism. However, Eddie triumphed and became a 3° High Priest of the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca. Eddie later drew upon his work in his original traditions and, coupled with his research into ancient civilisations, he developed a tradition that celebrates the unique magic possible between men who love men.

Bull style rhyton. Royal Tomb IV at Mycenae, 1600 BCE.

The Minoan Brotherhood is a distinct initiatory, lineaged and oathbound tradition which explores the Male Mysteries and is dedicated to Queer spirituality. The Minoan Brotherhood provides a safe and sacred space, for gay and bisexual men to nourish their spiritual well-being, where their nature is centrally placed and celebrated as equally divine. Though ours is a Male Mysteries tradition, it is primarily a path of Witchcraft. It is a path for Men who identify as Pagan and as Witches, who devote themselves to the Gods.

The core beliefs of the Minoan Brotherhood centre on the worship of the ancient Cretan Snake Goddess, the Great Mother of the Aegean civilisations, and Her Divine Son, the Starry One, or Bull of Heaven. We work within a framework influenced by Traditional Witchcraft combined with elements of pre-Doric Aegean (primarily Cretan and Mycenaean) and Ancient Near Eastern mythology. A traditional aspect of our path is skyclad practice (ritual nudity) as is custom in other paths of Traditional Witchcraft. Our rites can be sexually charged and are spaces where magic is woven within a highly homoerotic context.

GROVES

The term coven is used to describe a closed group of Witches. While this term is used in other traditions of Witchcraft, the Minoan Brotherhood refers to its covens as groves which are led by a Minos, a 3° High Priest. Groves are autonomous within the framework of the Laws of the Tradition.

Our groves gather for the Full Moons, which are dedicated to the working of magic and spiritual development, as well as Eight Festivals throughout our ritual year which is rooted in Aegean cycles and myths. All groves descend from Knossos Grove which was established by Eddie Buczynski in 1975.

Our own grove belongs to the Eleutheria / Louisiana Line of covens and reflects a healthy balance between received wisdom and the guidance of our Gods to maintain a living experience of this spiritual and magical tradition. It is named in honour of, Carmán, an Athenian Goddess who came to Ireland with her sons and was “othered” as an outsider. Our grove’s Facebook page is here.

Temenos ta Carmán was the first grove established in a country outside North America where English is the primary language and was the first to be established in the West European Isles. Our grove is located in Dublin and gathers for each of the thirteen Full Moons and to celebrate our Eight Festivals. It is currently open to Seekers who may be suitable candidates for Outer Court training.

A Seeker can expect a lengthy meet and greet process prior to a decision on acceptance for training. During this period a Seeker should be able to convey a good knowledge of contemporary Paganism and Witchcraft. For a suggested reading list please click here. A candidate will be of adult age and able to demonstrate self-care, personal integrity and commitment. A candidate can expect to spend around five years completing training. Seekers may submit a considered expression of interest here.