Sun and Moon in Ancient Crete
This is a warm article. A better sourced, better written and better everything is on the way.
From what we can figure, the sun was a female entity in Minoan religion (Nanno et al 2013), possibly related to the “snake goddess”, perhaps via a “pan-goddess” caveat. Many greek goddesses (Rhea, Demeter, Artemis, Cybele, et cetera) are associated with lions; the lioness as a sun symbol is well attested in Hittite and Egyptian religion, and was probably a common Middle Eastern motif wherever solar goddesses were relevant.
The bull was relevant in minoan religion to the point that it is one of the most well known aspects of this culture. The “Moon Bull”, as it is, has been connected to the sun by classical authors, exposing the typical “every god is a sun god, every goddess is a lunar goddess” nonsense. However, the bull is a generally lunar symbol in the Near East (semetic, where it is connected to the many moon gods, anatolian, where it is similarly connected to the moon gods, even greek and egyptian, where it is associated with Selene and Dionysus and Osiris respectively), and a masculine moon god role can comfortably be implied.
Lion Sun Goddess
Bull Moon God
However, this leaves us with two hiccups:
– Talos, the “greek Helios”, which is the de facto word for “sun” in Crete and whose use may extend further back in time. Zeus as Tallaios is a solar god. That said, since Zeus Tallaios is more of a “death and rebirth” deity (mind you, almost no solar deity is one), it may call into question the status of Talos as originally a sun god.
– The Minotaur’s true name is Asterion. This has been interpreted as a vestige of solar symbols, since the “labyrinth” would instantly become the zodiac. That said, “Aster” and it’s derivatives are rarely applied to the sun outright, and could suggest a more esoteric stellar meaning.
It’s possible that, like ancient egypt, russia and india, the Minoan Civilisation perceived the sun as both male and female depending on the context. I’m leaning with a generally “Sun Lioness” for a solar figure and Talos as specifically the body of the sun.