Essay on Labyrinths: Labyrinth and Cretan Labyrinth Correspond

Submitted By annashastina
Words: 504
Pages: 3

Labyrinths Minos, the king of Crete, built a labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur, half-man, half-bull, the result of his wife’s adultery. Theseus killed the Minotaur and found a way back from the labyrinth using Ariadne’s thread. The labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus. In colloquial English, labyrinth is often confused with maze. However, these two have a distinction between one another: maze is a complex branching puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path labyrinth has only a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center. However, labyrinths should not be confused with mazes. Mazes are designed to challenge the intellect and strategic skills whereas the labyrinth is an exercise in soul development. Prehistoric labyrinths served as traps for malevolent spirits or as defined paths for ritual dances. In medieval times, the labyrinth symbolized a hard path to God with a clearly defined center, which is God, and one entrance - birth. Labyrinths can also be considered as symbolic forms of pilgrimage. People can walk the path, moving towards salvation or enlightenment. Labyrinths are used by modern mystics to help achieve a state that makes one to stay one-to-one with your thoughts and mediate; it is so called contemplative state. Walking between the turnings, one can lose track of direction and of the outside world, and as a result reach tranquility of the mind. However, wandering in the labyrinth for too long without a successful ending can drive one crazy. The seven circuits of the Cretan labyrinth correspond with the seven spheres of the sacred planets, the seven principles of the human being and the cosmos, the seven days of the week. Walking to the center of the labyrinth and coming back to its boundary represents the involution and evolution of the universe, the coming into birth and the passing out of earthly life of an individual. It also represents…