The following is a presentation that I gave to the Sunday Congregation
Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale
3970 NW 21st Avenue
Oakland Park, Florida 33309
The true labyrinth has no false pathways or dead ends to confuse
those who follow its winding course. The true labyrinth consists
of a single meandering pathway which leads from the entrance to
A labyrinth can be either round or square, and it will consist of
a number of paths although the two most popular ones are known as
the seven circuit and the eleven circuit.
There is much debate over which labyrinth design is the oldest.
There also seems to be a connection between the seven paths of the
labyrinth and the seven charkas and the seven colors of the rainbow.
But that’s another discussion.
We use the square seven circuit labyrinth also know as the Hopi Father Sky.
It has a right hand path. Meaning that the first turn is to the right
and the first circuit, or path, is counter clockwise.
The labyrinth symbol and its family of derivatives has been traced
back over 3500 years; it occurs in different cultures, at different
points in time, in places as diverse as Peru, Arizona, Florida, Iceland,
Scandinavia, Crete, Egypt, India and Sumatra.
The lines of contact between these widely spaced bursts of labyrinth
consciousness are difficult to trace, its origins remain mysterious.
Many labyrinth stories are told and many mythologies exist, but whether
in spiritual or secular use, the labyrinth seems to symbolize the path
to be followed, however long and complex, to reach the goal, the object
of the quest, which is at the center.
The mediums employed for a labyrinth’s use have been many and varied:
a simple symbol in a mythology, carved on wood or a rock face, woven
into the design on a blanket or basket, laid out on the ground with
water-worn stones in the desert or on shorelines, in colored stone
or tiles on the floors of villas, churches and cathedrals, or cut
into the living turf on a village green .
In many cultures the labyrinth has been used as a ceremonial pathway and
as a dancing ground. Young women would stand in the center as suitors
would chase through the windings to seek out a potential bride.
The Greek Key is a form of labyrinth; and the labyrinth symbol was widely
used and adapted by the Romans. They are found throughout the Roman empire
from Britain to Yugoslavia and in north Africa.
In the Americas, the labyrinth is found etched into the sands of the
Nazca Plain in Peru, in use among the Caduveo people of Brazil and
scratched on boulders and rockfaces in Northern Mexico, New Mexico and
Among the Hopi it is depicted in two square forms. One symbolizes the
Sun Father, the giver of life; The other symbolizes the Mother Earth,
and the lines produce one labyrinth within another, the symbol depicting
the unborn child within the womb of its mother and cradled in her
arms after birth.
The Tohono O'otam and Pima tribes of Southern Arizona weave baskets from
dried leaves, stems and roots of desert plants. The labyrinth design on
these, is known as the House of Iitoi. It depicts Iitoi at the entrance
and the labyrinth represents the female. Entry into the labyrinth gives
new life to Iitoi, thus achieving reincarnation and eternal life.
The famous labyrinth decorated coins from Knossos, Crete, date from the
last three centuries before Christ. Their designs are thought to allude
to the legendary Labyrinth at Knossos in which the Minotaur was imprisoned.
The Labyrinth itself, a Minoan palace/temple complex, was destroyed
several times during its long history, but was finally abandoned 1380 BC.
Interestingly, no examples of the labyrinth symbol have survived from
the site. So we will never know if it was indeed a true labyrinth.
The Greek myth involving the Minotaur in the labyrinth on Crete.
These are the cast of characters.
Daedalus, an Athenian craftsman, murdered his nephew Talus in a fit of jealousy,
and then fled to Crete to escape his sentence of death and became the master
architect and inventor who designed the labyrinth for:
King Minos of Crete enraged the sea god Poseidon by refusing to sacrifice,
Asterion, a champion white bull. Poseidon then created a sexual passion within:
Queen Pasiphae, Minos’ wife, for Asterion. She forced Daedalus to construct
a wooden cow in which she could hide herself in order to gratify her passion
for the beast. As a result, the queen conceived a son, the
Minotaur; a man-eating monster that was half man and half bull. King Minos
was both outraged and shamed and ordered Daedalus to construct an underground
labyrinth, below the Palace at Knossos, in which to conceal and imprison it.
The Minotaur was situated in the center of the maze of tunnels and corridors,
and was fed humans. Seven of Athens's young men and seven of its young
women were to be sacrificed to the Minotaur each year. The labyrinth
was so skillfully designed that no one could escape from the maze
or the Minotaur.
Daedalus revealed the secret of the labyrinth only to:
Ariadne, daughter of Minos, and she aided her lover, the Athenian hero,
Theseus to slay the monster and escape.
In anger at the escape, Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the
labyrinth. Although the prisoners could not find the exit, Daedalus made
wax wings so that they could both fly out of the maze.
From that story was it a true labyrinth or maze??
Sophialinus The Drum Lioness