Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Myths & mysteries: The enigma of the labyrinth

June 21, 2014

LITTLE did yours truly know what the winding and curving lines meant on the circular formation on floor near Union Square in San Francisco USA. Yes, dear friends, it is from far away that I write this piece of interesting and puzzling enigma for you to ponder.

As I slowly walked the winding curves and turns, I knew there had to be some purpose to this interesting formation made on the floor. It had to have some ancient wisdom. Something more than just mere exercise of walking or going around in circles as one might say. Without reading the thin leaflet handed by the guide, it was uncharted territory. What could this circle mean?

It started at one point and ended in the centre where there was a small circle and then one had to take a path once again to come out. There were no dead ends. Just turns wherever there were curves into yet another path. This was not like a maze. This was a specific path leading to the centre and then leading out. The entire walk took this scribe approximately 15 to 20 minutes. What was one supposed to feel?

Well, all yours truly can say while walking towards the centre was getting over the hurdles and then turning another corner. On the way out or back, it seemed more peaceful and calmer and then when coming out, a feeling of freedom or success took over.

The touristy part was over. Now came the desire of wanting to know the purpose of the pattern and then the origin. On further research, it came to light that the feeling that yours truly had while going in and out were not too far from the purpose or at least some sort of understanding that the puzzle held.

Labyrinths have an ancient origin, even though they are considered religious formations giving meaning to aspects of life. They seem to have a universal appeal. The winding paths leading up to the centre are supposed to depict the different and apparently difficult changes in our lives. The points or times when there are lines that make us change our path and take a different turn mean how we have to deal with the hurdles and changes, and how we can always choose a different path or turn.

Coming into the centre of the circle might mean conquering the difficulties and reaching the end of struggles. The winding path that we take back brings us out of this existence into freedom from our one existence into another or could mean success or achievement. Each person might feel experience a different feeling on completing the circle if they concentrate and meditate in a relaxed state of mind while walking.

Looking into the origin of labyrinths in folklore and ancient texts is also quite intriguing and mysterious. The oldest texts have labyrinths inscribed that were found in Greece dating back to 1200BC. Folklore and legends speak of labyrinths being drawn to trap evil spirits. Spooky to say the least!

Lastly, there are tales of labyrinths in forests where fairies did their moonlight dance. Is it just a spiritual exercise or a dance floor for fairies? Do not confuse the labyrinth with the maze that was mainly to confuse or make one lose their way. The most famous one being on the ancient Island of Crete to trap the Minatuar under the tunnels beneath to keep it from escaping.

What or who was the Minatuar you might ask? Now that’s another story my friends.