Monday, April 18, 2011

Chasing the Minotaur

A while back I was over in Ormond Beach geocaching and while I was looking for a place to park I saw something that caught my eye. I parked the car and wandered over to see a beautiful walking labyrinth. This one is called the Harmony labyrinth and it is located in Central Park on the north side of Hammock lane. The style is Medieval and it is an eleven circuit labyrinth (eleven circuits refers the eleven paths that lead to the center or goal) on a concrete pad in the style of Chartres without the rosette in the center or the ornamentation. It measures 50 feet in diameter. Chartres refers to Chartress cathedral where one of the most well known medieval labyrinths is. Even though it is the most well know medieval style of labyrinth, the pattern has been in use long before being constructed at the cathedral.

Now I have not seen a walking labyrinth is many many years, since I was knee high to a Minotaur. So I was quite pleased to run across this one and of course could not resist the urge to walk the labyrinth. As it would turn out this would not be the only labyrinth I would find that day. Later on I was over closer to the coast in Ormond Beach and while geocaching in the Memorial Garden I found this walking labyrinth. Now this one is different form the first one in an obvious way. The maze is painted on the surface.

This beautiful "Peace Labyrinth" was created by artist Joan Baliker and painted on the floor of the garden's gazebo by Joan and fellow artist, Carol Bertrand.It is done in the "Classical" style. Visitors are invited to walk the labyrinth and record their experiences in a book kept in the museum. Memorial Garden is located at 78 East Granada Blvd. Ormond Beach, Florida

Now as strange as it was to find two of these in one day it would get even more odd. Two days later, while I was geocaching, I came across another one in Orlando at ORMC on Orange Ave (ORMC#1 GC241F9) . With my interest now officially peaked, I needed to check into this and see how many others were around and delve into what makes a walking labyrinth what it is.

So I found my friend Google and before I knew it I had some information. The first thing that I hit upon was this really great web site called, The World Wide Labyrinth Locator. ( It is a very user friendly site that in addition to being able to search for labyrinths by entering a city or state it also has explanations of what a labyrinth is and the types. The site lists 87 labyrinths in the state of Florida.

There appear to be four basic types of labyrinths. classical, roman, medieval, and contemporary.

Now you are probably looking at this and saying to yourself, Self, that is just a maze. Now although there is some debate and discussion about the differences between a labyrinth and a maze there is one basic difference. For the most part, consensus indicates that labyrinths will have one pathway that leads inexorably from the entrance to the goal, albeit by the most complex and winding of routes. With mazes, a design must have choices in the pathway.

In prehistoric times, labyrinths are believed to have served as traps for malevolent spirits or as defined paths for ritual dances. In medieval times, the labyrinth symbolized a path to God with a clearly defined center (which would represent God) and one entrance (which would represent birth). Labyrinths can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage, people can walk the path, walking it at their own pace as they ascended toward salvation or enlightenment.

Now I would be remiss if I did not mention the most famous labyrinth of all. I am of course talking about the labyrinth in Greek mythology which was built by Daedalus for King Mino of Crete. It's function was of course to hold the mythical Minotaur. (which I think was just guarding the world's first geocache).

The labyrinth below is in Macon Georgia and is at Rose Park. Now as you know my blogs are about the places we go and the things we see while Geocaching. The Rose Park labyrinth happens to BE the geocache. Rose Park Labyrinth GCB256 and it is a virtual cache.

A little further up in Georgia in Lawrenceville is this next labyrinth.

This one is my favorite. Unlike the first one that I found this is a seven circuit labyrinth and it has the rosette in the center. I like the way the designer put a wall around it to box it in and then added benches so people could relax and enjoy the solitude. This labyrinth is in Ocala, Florida at the Munroe Regional Medical Center. There was a geocache here ( Innert Piece GC1GVF9 ) but it has been archived. In addition to that if you read my blog, "Horse Fever" one of the Ocala horse statues is here as well. The horse,"Royal Harlequin" is at the entrance to the hospital.

Now just as Geocaching has done, whenever I travel I will use the labyrinth locator to see if there are any labyrinths at my destination. I know there is one in the town where my brother lives so I will be checking that one out next time I visit. It is almost like a hunt within a hunt.

So unlike the Minotaur in Greek mythology who was trapped in the labyrinth, I know the way out and it is time to take it. But fear not I will be back because...

More discoveries await.


Howard said...

How fascinating! I'm really glad to knwo about that labyrinth locator web site. There are none closeby, but several within an hour or two drive. I have to check them out. Keep exploring!

Evelev said...

Who knew we had so many close by? They seem to favor hospitals and churches, go figure.