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Series of 10 Art Lessons
Lesson 3


Labyrinth

The last thing I wanted to do was to go to an art lecture last night. My days are filled with nitty gritty problems dealing with family and hearth. However, art has always been my quiet revelry, so I picked up my tired feet and drove to the library.

The slight woman, who was the speaker, I have known for many years. She is a picture of the people of our society, who are diligently trying to cope with the world about them. The great work she had put into collecting pictures of Labyrinths was on a large screen in front of a small group of people. She had put much thought and study into trying to understand the meaning of these symbols many cultures and countries had marked on the ground and floors of Cathedrals from Europe to the Americas in the way of Native Americans. Ultimately she had to admit there was most a mystery as to the real purpose and meaning of them.

One she showed that was on the Isle of Crete was tied up with the Minotaur, part bull and part human. The myth to tell of a young man who found his way in and out by holding a string his maiden, who loved him, had handed him. The speaker had gone no farther back in her study of the labyrinth than this ancient legend.

How much can we divulge of our own knowledge and how much must we keep to ourselves that we might not put too great a taxation on a person’s mind?

Carefully, I moved along in my mind asking questions like, “Are all the circuits on these labyrinths of an uneven number?”

“Well, yes! Interesting!” Came her reply as if she had not considered this. Actually, there is a great study of the ancient superstitions tied up with uneven numbers. I felt she suddenly became of aware of this for the first time, because later she commented on “the interest in numerology.”

The speaker went on to tell that there is a great interest in these labyrinths in the United States with quite a few right here in Oklahoma. In fact, one at our Standing Bear Park.

The paths of the labyrinths are set in a mathematical way, and no one can ignore that. There are some with quadrants ending in octagons. The ones in Rome have four equal quads and are of a square instead of a circle.

Of course, Math is the left brain and is dominant. These are the little whispers that keep telling an artist, “let me take control. You are doing this work incorrectly.”

This is obvious in the most popular of the labyrinth which has the classic flower design of the left brain, six petals, all the same size, and same shape. A flower like a child would draw, who has not developed the creative right brain.

It isn’t that the symbolism is something new, in fact, it goes back to the beginning of time, when man stood up to his Creator, and in childlike left brain thinking grasped for a round shape in front of him. The early religions, who had a God they could not see came into direct conflict with the branches off Adam, who wished to see something to worship, a labyrinth, Easter Island statues, a pole, a tree, something, anything, to satisfy that demanding left brain. I deal with it continually, when I attempt to draw a flower with petals as they are, sometimes, shredded, limp, veined, but in reality.

To continue to worship in spirit and truth then becomes a struggle like Adam’s, who, insisted on being able to “see” his pathway. Consequently, he lost the one real connection he had with his God, the ability to hear him speak. However, we were left with the gift of prayer and for this we do not need any tool to help us meditate, certainly not one to tie us to a dominant left brain, that thinks it has all the answers. We won’t even go into some of those, ancient cultures who had a superior knowledge of mind control over innocent children as they were led to human sacrifice. I can’t think about that, it is too early in the morning for me.

Here are some pictures of Labyrinths. http://www.labyrinthos.net/photos.htm


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