The Pattern of the Snail Shell Labyrinth

If we dissect a labyrinth along its axis and uncurl it symmetrically on both sides, we can transform it into a rectangular form. The Ariadne’s Thread in the rectangular form is what I refer to as the pattern of a labyrinth. In this pattern, the entrance is at top left and the way into the center at bottom right.

Figure 1. From the Ariadne's Thread to the Pattern

Figure 1. From the Ariadne’s Thread to the Pattern

Figure 1 shows this process in abbreviated form for the Snail Shell labyrinth. The labyrinth, represented by its Ariadne’s Thread is dissected along the axis (2 vertical black lines). Both halves of the axis are flipped upwards by half the arc of a circle around the center. By this, the Ariadne’s Thread is transformed from a circular closed form into a rectangular form.

The path of the Snail Shell labyrinth traverses the axis twice. This is indicated with the black circles. When transforming the Ariadnes Thread into the rectangular form, the segments of the pathway that lie on the axis are dissected too and come to lie on both sides of the rectangular form. These segments are drawn as dashed lines in the pattern and also indicated by circles.

Figure 2. Labyrinths Contained in the Snail Shell Labyrinth

Figure 2. Labyrinths Contained in the Snail Shell Labyrinth

In the Snail Shell labyrinth, a Knossos-type labyrinth (single double-spiral like meander) is included. To this are attached at the inside and outside one circuit with the pathway changing direction. Therefore, in the Snail Shell labyrinth, the labyrinth that corresponds with Arnol’d’s figure 3 is also included. To this are attached at the in- and outside one circuit without the pathway changing direction. This is where the path traverses the axis. Thus, the Snail Shell labyrinth, in the terminology of Tony Phillips, is a non-alternating uninteresting labyrinth.

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7 thoughts on “The Pattern of the Snail Shell Labyrinth

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  6. Spiritual Meaning: The snail shell symbolizes the perfection of nature’s creativity, which is also echoed in mathematical fractals (repeated patterns). The spiral shape of the snail shell is symbolic of the labyrinth. Psychological / Emotional Perspective: From a psychological point of view, the snail suggests steadiness and self-containment. To be moving at snail’s pace suggests direct planned, careful movement. Everyday Material Aspects: The snail appearing in dreams may engender, because of its sliminess, a feeling of repulsion in some people. It does, however, also represent vulnerability and slowness, along with the type of apparent rootlessness seen in the Wanderer. You might also like to consult the entries for Labyrinth, Shell, Spiral and Wanderer.

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    • Thank you for your valuable comments. Erwin gave this name to this labyrinth because it reminded him of a snail shell. So in this case it seems the labyrinth is symbolic of the snail shell.

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