The Myth of the Minotaur & the Labyrinth
In the tale of the Minotaur, for Ariadne, the story begins when she falls in love with Theseus, who sails from Athens to Crete in order to rid the world of a wretched beast.
Athenians having lost the war with Crete, had to surrender to the terms of Ariadne’s father, King Minos. The deal was that every year, seven young boys and seven young women would be sent to Crete as tributes. Consequently in the Aegean world, there emerges terrible rumours of something brutal, something unnatural, a beast of somekind that supposedly feeds on human flesh. The rumours grew stronger and more detailed, there was something in Crete, and it wasn’t pretty. It was called the Minotaur. This is what brought the courageous Theseus to the shores of Crete. The yearly tributes were sacrificed to the Minotaur. So naturally the love-stricken Ariadne felt very anxious and scared of what could happen to Theseus when he ventured into the treacherous passages of the Labyrinth. So she confronts Daedalus, the creator and designer of the maze, to gain some knowledge in order to help Theseus find his way out of maze when he has completed his quest. Daedalus, being so clever, advises her to give Theseus a ball of thread so that he could find his way back.
Everything goes according to plan, Theseus gloriously returns after had slain the monstrous Minotaur, and he is proclaimed a great hero forever more. But in the love department, things don’t turn out to be that great for Ariadne. Theseus, for some unexplained reason, deserts her at the shores of Naxos and leaves her heartbroken. According to some stories, the god Dionysus, witnesses the innocence of this beautiful young woman and decides to wed her.
What marvel that the horns of a monster [the Minotauros] were betrayed by his sister [Ariadne], when the twisted path was revealed by the gathering of her thread.
Propertius in the Elegies
Dionysos addresses Ariadne : He [Theseus] shed the blood of the halfbull man [the Minotaur] whose den was the earthdug labyrinth… But you know your thread was his saviour: for the man of Athens with his club would never have found victory in that contest without a rosy-red girl to help him.
Nonnus in the Dionysiaca
Morals in the Myth
- Love can be the best of things and the worst of things. The ones that you love are the ones that could provide you with the greatest happiness and at the same time, the most dreadful sorrow. This makes love, something very interesting indeed. It within itself encompasses the whole spectrum of human feelings. Everything can happen in the realm of love. So my question is, why do we humans sometimes make ourselves so incredibly vulnerable, by loving someone that might not love you back?
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized that he was made of immaculate and timeless consciousness when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history, philosophy, egyptology and western esotericism at Uppsala Universitet. He’s also currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.