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Welcome to the Labyrinth

The topic of this blog is the labyrinth. Under nearly all aspects, I would like to arouse your interest on the fascinating lines and the meaning of this old object. Being an old surveyor I put my focus on the geometrical shape.
A new post should be published about twice a month. Meanwhile I am accompanied by Andreas Frei as coauthor.

Contents

In a blog the single posts (articles) are disposed in reverse order: the latest posts first, the older ones following. The display of the content is thus different from a website where it is always permanent.

Anyone who is looking for something special about labyrinths or just wants to know what can be found on this blog, maybe would like to have an overview.

I can provide this now and offer it as an own page titled Contents.

The register with the table of Contents is on top of the blog under the header image next to About us.

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Most of the pictures and graphics were created by Andreas Frei and me (Erwin Reißmann), unless stated otherwise, and are provided under license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

How to Repair the Mistakes in Historical Scandinavian Labyrinths, Part 3

Richard Myers Shelton advocates in his guest contribution from January 17th, 2021 the thesis that the alleged errors in some historical Scandinavian labyrinths are not at all, but that these labyrinths had a completely different meaning than we assign to them today. So they were deliberately created in this way.

I can understand his train of thought, but still allow myself a different perspective on these labyrinths.

In Part 1 I focused on the Borgo Labyrinth and in Part 2 on the Wier Labyrinth.
Now it is about the three remaining Icelandic labyrinths.

For a better understanding I show the diagrams of these labyrinths again:

Abbildung 1: Jónssonars Grafik für Dritvik, ca. 1900
Fig. 1: Jónssonar’s diagram for Dritvík, ca. 1900
Abbildung 2: Grafik für NMI 3135
Fig. 2: Diagram for NMI 3135
Abbildung 3: Grafik für NMI 5628
Fig. 3: Diagram for NMI 5628

Figures 2 and 3 show the same lines, only in mirrored form. The red lines mark the stone setting, the yellow and white lines mark the paths between the stones. It is clear that you cannot get to the middle or end up in dead ends. There is also no real access from the outside.

Obviously there are no clearly recognizable mix-ups or “wrong” connections of lines, as was seen in the Borgo or Wier labyrinth.
So the labyrinths were consciously and deliberately laid out in this way. They thus deviate from everything we can see in the other labyrinths from this time.

Richard Myers Shelton thinks they were intended as traps or for magical purposes. Here is a short quote from his post:

But the evidence and the stories from Scandinavia (and further east into Estonia and Russia) hint at a darker purpose: many of these devices were probably intended as traps, perhaps inheriting the idea that led the Romans to place labyrinths near entry-ways to ward away evil.

These labyrinths are simply too holey to be “traps”. The magical purposes, however, seem very plausible to me. But I would focus on something else.

In my opinion, in these stone settings, the path or the free space between the lines has no meaning at all. They were also not intended to be accessible systems. Only the stone setting itself makes sense. In the illustrations these are the red lines. And they show a clear form: They form a single, uninterrupted line, as we know it from Ariadne’s thread.
In Figures 2 and 3, both the beginning and the end of the line are not accessible from the outside.
For me, for example, it could represent a coiled snake guarding the center. And that in turn is something like the gateway to the underworld.


Can these stone settings be converted into “real” labyrinths? How did other stone settings from this time and in this region look like?
This requires considerable interventions in the given structure.

Figure 4 shows the Dritvik labyrinth. The easiest way is to turn it into a simple labyrinth with a spiral center. The path sequence is then: 3-2-1-4-center. To do this, you have to edit the lower right part. Everything else can stay.

Abbildung 4: Dritvik bearbeitet
Fig. 4: Dritvik edited

The other two are basically 5 circuit labyrinths. There are theoretically eight possibilities for this. Here I choose those with the entrance to the labyrinth on the 3rd circuit.

Figure 5 shows the graphic for NMI 3135. The lower right part can essentially remain, the lower left part must be redesigned considerably. The labyrinth has the path sequence 3-4-5-2-1-6.

Fig. 5: NMI 3135 edited

Figure 6 shows the graphic for NMI 5628. The lower right part must be converted, the rest can remain. This then results in a labyrinth with the path sequence 3-2-1-4-5-6.

Fig. 6: NMI 5628 edited

That was certainly not the intention of the builders of these labyrinths, as explained above. Because they probably had something else in mind.
But it shows what these stone settings could look like.

Related Posts

Erwin’s Labyrinths with Triple Barriers

Erwin has already shown labyrinths with two axes and triple barriers in one of his earlier posts (see: related posts, below). Here, I want to use these and examine, whether they can be explained based on my courses and sector patterns and how they are composed. They have an even number of axes, and therefore, only courses AB or CD are applicable. Erwin’s Labyrinths, thus must be composed of combinations of sector patterns A and B or C and D. Let’s try if they can be identified with our sector patterns. 

Figure 1 shows the first labyrinth by Erwin. This has a course AB and is composed of two sector patterns that are (horizontally) mirror symmetric to each other. 

Figure 1. First Labyrinth – Course AB

Also the second labyrinth by Erwin has a course AB and as well is composed of two mirror symmetrical sector patterns. 

Figure 2. Second Labyrinth – Course AB

The third labyrinth by Erwin has a course CD and again is made-up of two mirror symmetric sector patterns. In addition, it is the complement of the second labyrinth.

Figure 3. Third Labyrinth – Course CD

Erwin’s fourth labyrinth, finally, is complementary to the first. Thus it has also a course CD and is made-up of mirror symmetric sector patterns as well. 

Figure 4. Fourth Labyrinth – Course CD

All four labyrinths by Erwin, thus, are self-transnpose. The first and second labyrinth are two out of 16 possible combinations for the course AB, the third and fourth two out of 16 possible courses CD.

Related Posts:

World Labyrinth Day 2021

Once again (for the 13th time) the Labyrinth Society invites us to celebrate World Labyrinth Day.
Like every year, it is the first Saturday in May, this year May 1st, 2021.

More information on the website of the Labyrinth Society … Link >

The call of the Labyrinth Society

There is something special for the first time this year.

About it a short quote from TLS:

TLS is delighted to partner with Veriditas, Legacy Labyrinth Project, and the Australian Labyrinth Network to bring to you an exciting, vibrant new website dedicated to World Labyrinth Day! Together we are gathering numerous resources, inspiring media, and relevant information to help you find, plan, and share your World Labyrinth Day celebrations.

The call to Big Connection

Click here to see the website for this project … Link >


For many, however, it will also be possible, as usual, to walk a labyrinth.

No matter how, World Labyrinth Day 2021 can be celebrated.

The Labyrinth Society again is organizing a survey.

If you are looking for a labyrinth near you, maybe you will find one here:

Related Post

Some more Labyrinths with Triple Barriers

It is known that there are four possibilities for a pathway to take its course along all side arms in a sector labyrinth with triple barriers (see: related posts, below). Two each are for labyrinths with an even and with an odd number of axes. Also, we have already attributed the sector patterns for the first and the last sector to 4 quadrants. The sector patterns from quadrants A and C can be placed in the first, those from quadrants B and D in the last sector. This results in four combinations that represent the four possibilities for the course of the pathway. Thus, the courses can be labelled as follows: 

  • AB even number of axes
  • CD even number of axes
  • CB odd number of axes
  • AD odd number of axes

In the previous post, I have shown two labyrinths with a course using possibility AB. Here I want to show one more example for each of the three remaining possibilites. For this, I proceeded exactly the same way as shown in my previous post. 

Figure 1 shows a labyrinth with four axes and the course CD. The design of the main axis of this labyrinth is not well balanced. It was generated by an arbitrary combination of two sector patterns from quadrant C and D.

Figure 1. Labyrinth with Course CD, 4 Axes

The same applies also to the labyrinth with three axes and the course CB (fig. 2).

Figure 2. Labyrinth with Course CB, 3 Axes

The labyrinth with five axes and the course AD, however, shows a higher degree of order. Its main axis was intendedly designed. For this, from sectors A and D such sector patterns were combined on purpose that there results a self-dual labyrinth (fig. 3). 

Figure 3. Labyrinth with Course AD, 5 Axes

Related Posts: