From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Labyrinth: Keeping it simple

Grace Cathedral, SF  (Photo by Marlith)
When things get too complicated, people tend to become trapped within mazes of their own making.

When the ancient Greek architect Daedalus cunningly crafted  a maze that could trap the monstrous Minotaur, Daedalus himself had great difficulty finding his way out.

The maze that Daedalus constructed is often called “Labyrinth.”  Wikipedia explains that this is somewhat misleading.  Whereas a maze such as Daedalus’ is multicursal (with many choices of paths and directions), a true labyrinth is unicursal (with only one “unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate”).

The “labyrinth” actually originated in Minoa during pre-Greek times.  It had been associated with royalty, and may have originally been “the palace of the double-axe” in Crete.  This “double-axe” symbol was also linked with the beginning of Creation.

The classical simplified labyrinth became popular during medieval times.  This simpler design allowed for a more meditative experience.  Walkers could now tread the familiar paths to the center and back (some say to a Minotaur “death”  and liberating “rebirth”) while keeping their minds free from the anxieties of becoming lost or trapped.

Modern labyrinths offer just enough structure to engage the mind, yet not enough to overwhelm it.   This remains the beauty and balance of the journey.


Copyright March 22, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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