To the Amazons, the island-center became known over the centuries as "Half-heretical Crete". The reason for this was that the famous images of the supreme Mother God, in which subordinate godlings sometimes play a minor role, go back a long way into much earlier times.
Long before the decadence of Atlantis, ancient Crete was a center of that form of diluted Déanism (the worship of the Supreme Mother which was the original religion of the world) that admits mascûlic figures into minor roles as "divine" entities".
This, of course is heresy pure and simple; and yet it is founded on a basis of Déanic Truth. Ancient Crete was surprisingly constant in this half-heresy, being in the later years of the Age of Bronze a centre of corruption, but in the early patriarchal centuries a continuing home of a very diluted feminine tradition.
There is a certain irony in this, for ancient Crete played an important role in initiating the corruption that led to the end of the Feminine World, but also played an important role in preserving at least an echo of that world at the very end.
An Amazon bard once reflected: "Half-heretical Crete is like a great gray bird that looks black against the daylight sky and white in the sky of night-time".
Before the decadence of Atlantis, the emissaries of the Empire spent much time in Crete, curbing the heresies that they found there. Preachers from the great Temple-Palace of Atlantis urged reform and the removal of mascûlic elements from the Cretan Cultus, and influence flowed back and forth between the Orthodox influence of the Empire and the Cretan Cultists.
The Cretan Cultus had much influence in the Mediterranean region as Atlantis became increasingly corrupt; more openly patriarchal cults sprang from this cultus in other lands, though Crete itself remained firm in its half-way heresy.
The "Great Gray Bird" was always a place of ironies, and one of those took place when the first mascûlic hordes invaded Crete during the decadence of Atlantis. They were fired by a much more masculised version of the Cretan Cultus, in which mascûlic godlings were declared almost equal to the Great Mother Herself. The real Cretan Cultus, never more than half-heretical, had no truck with such extreme blasphemy.
Thus the mascûli, armed with bronze-tipped spears and heavy shields, broke in upon the peaceful island, killing half-heretical priestesses and forcing upon the people the Cultus that they had, unintentionally, helped to found.
When honoured Queen Myrine the First liberated Europe, ancient Crete came full cycle - from Truth to half-heresy, to full heresy, and back to Truth under the guiding hand of the Amazon Liberation Forces.
The half-heresy of the Great Gray Bird did not die. It was practised in secret under the Pax Amazonia as it had been under the Patriarchal Terror.
By no means all Cretans were half-heretical; in fact the "Cretan Cultus" was largely a phenomenon of a decadent upper class in Knossos. Country people were much more prone to adhere to the True Way at all times.
Thus the centuries of the Atlantean Revival and the Pax Amazonia were a "Little Golden Age in the Age of Iron" for ancient Crete as they were for the rest of the world.
For a few golden centuries, half-heretical Crete became once again Holy Orthodox Crete, a loyal Outpost of the Amazon/Atlantean Empire and its famous Temple became again a place of pure devotion to Our Mother God.
The Fall of Atlantis: Long before the Deluge, the heart of Atlantis was lost.
Prelude to Invasion: The tiny Amazon nation of Hesperis stands against the new corruption and prepares to restore Atlantis.
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