Ancient societies and modern day cultures have embraced the mystical, often spiritual power of labyrinths and mazes. Its ancient symbols are still found etched on cave walls, the sides of pottery and coins, on the floors of buildings and in the architectural design of gardens. Labyrinths have one opening where mazas are designed with an array of openings and dead ends, offering travelers a variety of choices throughout the course of their journey. Walking a labyrinth has been said to calm or quiet the mind as one engages in the seemingly, directionless course of its journey.
During the Middle Ages Labyrinths represented the spiritually challenging road leading to God. Poor people, unable to make the spiritually esteemed pilgrimages to distant lands, walked local labyrinths. As Labyrinths too, symbolize a path to God or to enlightenment.
Labyrinths mystical power and enchanting allure can also be found in various stories throughout history. One such story takes us to the Greek island of Crete. Due to some unusual circumstances following his son’s birth, King Minos commissioned a famed architect named Daedalus to build an intricately designed housing unit, also referred to as a labyrinth, for his son the Minotaur. Minotaur being half man and half bull, was not your average child. However, his unique form and birthing circumstances had more to do with Poseidon, the Greek god of the ocean, and his father than any genetic or medical abnormalities.
Actually the whole birth debacle had resulted in a breach of contract between King Minos and Poseidon. It all started with King Minos’s challenging relationship with his siblings. A who gets the throne sibling rivalry scenario. Instead of hiring a therapist, Minos asked Poseidon to lend a hand, or in this case, to lend him a magnificent white bull. The bull was to be a sign of blessing from the gods in favor of Minos taking over the throne. Poseidon agrees with one string attached. King Minos only gets the bull if he sacrifices it as an offering to back to Poseidon. A legal binding contract in the form of a verbal agreement was made.
True to his word, the Greek god of ocean waters, Poseidon, brings forth a great white bull. A bull far more superior than his land birthed cousins. Of course ocean bulls were far more superior and beautiful and than ordinary land bulls are and much harder to come by. Figuring that for the most part a bull was a bull, King Minos axed a bull of the ordinary land variety as a sacrificial offering back to Poseidon. Poseidon didn’t react well to the breach of confidence regarding their contractual agreement. In a fit of rage, he whipped up a fresh batch of love potion. Then he gave an extra large dose to King Minos’s wife, Queen Pasiphae. As her newly prescribed fate and destiny would both have it, she fall madly in love with the great white beast.
Queen Pasiphae, in a moment of heated passion, commissioned Daedalus to build her a wooden, custom-made, form-fitting, bull suite. Following a hot date and an adulterous affair, Queen Pasiphae gave birth to a uniquely featured half bull, half human baby boy. They named him Minotaur. Being a rather unusual child in his physical appearance, dietary needs and temperament, alternative living arrangements for him went to the top of the King’s to-do list. Fortunately for Daedalus’s and his retirement fund, he got the infamous housing contract of the century.
After this elaborate seventh wonder of the world type architectural structure had been built, only one additional external problem remained. It had to do with King Minos’s defeat of the city of Athens. King Minos’s Internal Revenue Collections Agency required city officials to annually cough up seven maidens and seven young men from inside their city limits. Possessing a one-way ticket into the labyrinth, these unfortunate few sacrificially meet their ill-fated, untimely demise by being disemboweled inside the jowls of the famed Minotaur.
King Minos figured he had the whole situation under control until another ill-fated love affair once again turned the tide of certain uncertainty.
Until next time and part 11 . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey begin!