Just in time for the celebration of the 800 years anniversary of the Magdeburg Cathedral, the largest and first gothical cathedral on German ground. With the perfect pair of lovers (Otto and Editha?) in the 16 angled grave chapel within the cathedral, directly behind the 8 angled baptismal font in the entrance area.
What holds Otto on the arm? A disk with 19 balls. Is it the Flower of Life or even the Nebra Sky Disk? Says by all means Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman, whose grandfather was from 1897 to 1911 the director of the school for arts and crafts in Magdeburg.
The new (temporary) labyrinth for the opening of the cathedral anniversary on April 24, 2009 is situated in the intersection of the axis of the door to the federal state parliament in the north of the cathedral place and the main entrance of the cathedral on the north side (as it were between the doors) and the west axis of the old north church of Otto, whose sketch is marked by adaptations at the place on the basis of the results of the excavation campaigns of many years, planned by Daniela Süßmann from Magdeburg.
I was allowed to play the labyrinthologist and Daidalos, actively supported by my friend Ernst from old surfer days.
The labyrinth was developed by the industrious hands of the craftsmen of the “cathedral works”, sent from the cathedral parish: Alexander, Armin, Fridolin and Sven.
The midwives were the cathedral preacher Giselher Quast and George Bandarau with the tireless utility man Robert Schmidt from the city marketing Pro Magdeburg e.V. (registered association).
Who was the father?
The Augsburg councilman and humanist Sigismund Gossembrot d.Ä. published 1480 a similar type with 5 axes type of labyrinth in a handwriting.
However, the type built for the first time as a walkable labyrinth looks different and was invented by Andreas Frei (Switzerland). He calls this type KS 2-3. It is a labyrinth with 5 axes and 9 circuits in the model of “cascading serpentines” after which also the Chartres labyrinth is constructed.
The data to size and weight, as usual with each baby:
It has 5 axes, 9 circuits, a dimension between axes of 1.50 m, a center with 9 m diameter, an overall diameter of 36 m. The lines are made from a 5 cm broad tape and an overall length of 705 m. This results in a length for the simple way into the center of 622 m (checksum = 10), the invisible golden thread, which runs between the white border lines.
Who are the mothers?
Those are the Ariadnes of our time already mentioned: Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman and Daniela Süßmann, which already developed the idea of a labyrinth for the Magdeburg cathedral place years ago. And which I became acquainted last year in Dresden on the 4th international labyrinth congress.
Are there godparents?
I will note Rosmarie Schmid, for me the Grande Dame of the labyrinth movement. Not to forget Agnes, Ilse, Silke, Werner, Jeff, Andreas. All were somehow involved into the realization of this project.
Are there ancestors?
There is the mother of all labyrinths, the labyrinth inside the cathedral of Chartres, which was built between 1200 and 1210 on the floor and is still working by the impulses, which it gives to the world-wide renaissance of the labyrinth idea.
There is Mechthild of Magdeburg (1207 – 1282), which lived 40 years as beguine in this city and whose 800 years birthday was celebrated here in Magdeburg.
There is Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179) who lived about 100 years before on the Disibodenberg, where Gundula built a classical 7 circuit labyrinth.
In the quarter Buckau of Magdeburg in 2006 a classical labyrinthwas built as part of the project ” Green center – the Labyrinth”.In the Luther city Eisleben in the garden of the monastery Helfta (where Mechthild of Magdeburg died) exists a classical 7 circuit labyrinth, called the living labyrinth.There is one of the four historical lawn labyrinths of Germany in Steigra. It is situated on the Sky Paths between Langeneichstädt, Nebra and Goseck, even if it is not (yet) enumerated as a station on this route.
On Saturday after St George (April 23) the whole village celebrates since 1995 a spring festivityat the classical 11 circuits labyrinth, also named Troy Town or Sweden Ring. The winter sun is released by a knight from the catches of the labyrinth.
What will happen to our temporary labyrinth on the Magdeburg cathedral place?
Will it really disappear on Saturday, May 2, 2009, the first world-wide celebrated world labyrinth day?
Or will the dream come true of so many people from a permament labyrinth for the Magdeburg cathedral?
Does it only live on in the hearts of the Magdeburg citizens?
Thanks to all which weaved at Ariadne’s Thread of this labyrinth.