Where Are Labyrinths Found?
The oldest positively dated labyrinth is from 1230 BCE (plus/minus). It comes from King Nestor's Palace in Phylos, Greece. Nestor was at Troy with King Priam. There are many Trojan connections with the labyrinth. In Northern Europe, many labyrinths are called 'Walls of Troy' or, in Swedish, 'Trojeborg' (Trojan fort), or in Welsh 'Caerdroia' - the castle or turns of Troy (droia). And while many labyrinth myths speak of a male energy in the labyrinth (Theseus and the Minotaur in Crete, and the Man In The Maze in the South Western USA), there is evidence that the labyrinth's connection with the Earth Mother goes much further back into prehistory.
These single-path magical mazes are found around the globe from China to Arizona, USA, from Peru to Sweden. Here are a few examples:
The O'dham People of Southern Arizona, USA, made this "Man In The Maze" pattern. If you look at it upside down, it is a right-handed classical seven-circuit labyrinth - it just adds a turn toward the center at each turn.
There is a Gothic cathedral at Chartres in France that has a rather complicated labyrinth laid in the floor of the nave. You can see that it divides up into four quadrants. Each has seven sharp turns. It is analogous to four classical seven-circuits woven together. This Chartres-type labyrinth is very popular among innovative Christians in USA nowadays.
Notice the 'loading pattern' of the Chartres labyrinth. The inner left-hand half is filled first, followed by the inner right-hand half, then the outer left-hand and finally the outer right-hand half.
Labyrinths are enjoying a resurgence in the United States. There are groups around the world working with labyrinths and building them. This one (below) is in Sig's yard in Greensboro, Vermont, USA. Jamie George and Francis Howard-Gordon from Glastonbury, helped him build it in the Summer of 1986.
|See the Goddess in the center of the labyrinth looking to the left
with her arms stretched out, and her hair swirling round her.
For more information on where they can be found, go to Old Labyrinths.