At the heart of symbolism

The hidden centre of the labyrinth


Coin from Knossos

The quest of the truth

Labyrinths have been painted on wall caves, known from ancient Egypt, represented by Indians from pre-Colombian America, drawn on cathedral paving and reproduced in the form of dance from Greece to China. However, the most famous of all of them remains the labyrinth built up by Daedalus, in Knossos, and associated with the just as famous myth of Icarus.

Minos, king of Crete, refused to sacrifice a splendid bull to Poséidon. Angered, the god of the oceans, brought Pasiphaë, wife of Minos, to fall in love with the beautiful animal. Responding to the loving's request, Daedalus, the king's architect, built a hollow heifer where Pasiphaë could fit in and copulate with the bull. The Minotaure, a half-human, half-bull creature, was born from this union. Furious, Minos ordered Daedalus to build an open-air enclosure from where the Minotaure could not escape. Daedalus placed the creature in the middle of a network of multiple corridors and rooms of which some were without exit. The difficulties in reaching the centre of this labyrinth and getting out of it gave rise to the adventures of Thésée who wanted to face and kill the Minotaure.

What does the search for the labyrinth centre mean ? Briefly, the labyrinth symbolizes two things, the ways of lost and progression :

  • The lost of the being into the states of the lower waters either to better rise again after having touched the bottom or to have desired a premature access to the states of the higher waters.
  • A long and difficult progression alongside the initiation pathway, the common thread of which links the lower states to the states proper to the human being and then to the higher states of the total being, who has reached the Centre, symbol of the spiritual achievement.

After the death of the Minotaure, Daedalus and his son Icarus were enclosed in the labyrinth. The father decided that the would escape by air. Daedalus had already reached the Centre and knew the higher water states. His spiritual son had only joined the human state, intermediary between the higher and lower waters. Therefore, the father advises his son not to fly too high or too low. To rub shoulders with the sun of the higher waters without enough preparation could only lead to the fall into the lower waters. A fall occurring with a lack of concern as in the famous painting of Bruegel the Elder. The labyrinthine progression is an individual matter, which does not depend on anyone else.

This search for the truth, hidden within everyone, is a real pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a search for the Centre of the world, which may be related to the quest of the Holy Grail, a symbol of the Heart of the world.

Detailed page