|Author||John E. Darling|
|Publisher||Oregon Darlings Press|
|Publication Date||July 4, 2011|
A play in placed in ancient Knossos, Crete, the last Goddess culture, 1400 BCE, as Queen Ariadne prepares for the spring rites of mating with the Minotaur - and is visited by Prince Theseus of the patriarchal Greek city of Athens, who seeks a queen, as well as domination of Crete.
It is a spring evening in Knossos on the island of Crete, 1400 BCE, time of the first return of the crescent moos closest to equinox. In her chamber, Queen Ariadne prepares for her ritual coupling, as Great Goddess, with her consort Minos II, as the Bull, which will take place the following day, at dusk. These rites welcome the annual return of life and bless the fertility of the new season.
Ariadne’s chorus of priestesses assist her, as they sing the benefits of this mating rite: fertility, the peace and safety of island Crete, understanding the divine design and, of course, a personal, transcendent, ecstatic union with the Goddess for all people of Knossos - the annual sacred orgy.
Ariadne and the women of the Chorus gather for a pre-ritual oracle with Goddess. The older, wise seer Pasiphae, leader of the Chorus, becomes deeply anguished when her vision is one of the Minos-Bull’s blood flowing upon the mating bed of the Queen of Knossos. The sacrifice of the Bull is customarily at year’s end, not at it’s start or in the mating bed.
Minos, returning from a sea voyage to Athens, enters with presents for Ariadne. Their love and reverence for each other are obvious. They are old friends but they have never mated. The coming festival will be the first time. They kiss madly, but she holds him off. Goddess comes tomorrow night. We must wait.
Minos and the women banter raucously about the coming mating rites and the powers of the Bull to please women. They also banter about the inept lovemaking skills of the Greeks and express hope that Greek warriors will absorb the fineries of life from Crete. The women are disturbed by two reports from Minos: that the Athenians graced him with flowers, which the women say reminds them of a sacraficial rite. And that the Greeks have worked Crete into their mythology now, making Zeus born in a cave here and mated with Europa, ancestor of the royal women present.
Minos has undertaken the trip to bring Athenian Prince Theseus and his entourage of 13 Athenians for their education in the fineries of art, writing, goddess-worship and civilization in general. The Cretans each year take on seven men and seven women, who then return to educate the mainland Greeks.
The Queen bids Theseus into her chamber. His aide accompanies him. Ariadne and Theseus recognize each other: during a voyage Ariadne took to the mainland at about age 12, she and Theseus were each other’s first lover, but they have never met again. Theseus drops to one knee and whispers his knowledge of her. The others are surprised. No queen of Knossos may have left the holy soil of Crete, so how can this have happened? Ariadne tries to take control of the situation and orders the others out.
Ariadne and Theseus are alone. He says he has never been able to get her out of his mind, that their lovemaking as adolescents has been something precious he has never found since. She discourages him. She indicates she knows why he has come: to fetch the queen for his bride, so that his empire as king may incorporate Crete.
Ariadne asks if he loves her. Theseus says he does. She questions: but what is love? He says anyone knows that. But she replies that it means a very different thing in Crete, where people are not bound in pairs for life, but are free to love as they will it. He scoffs. She invites him, if he wants to learn what love is, to come enter many years of training to be the Minos-Bull and learn lovemaking from the priestesses here. Theseus scoffs at the bull who is sacrificed, but Ariadne informs him that Minos plays a big role in the thriving of the life of Crete. (Written 1995)