The Labyrinth and the Flower of Life

Almost seven years ago, the flower of life was a topic in this blog. Now I would like to add a few things.
First, the original drawing of Ariadne’s thread in the flower of life. During a visit to Salzburg, Marianne Ewaldt asked me if the labyrinth was included in the flower of life. She gave me a small anniversary publication for the 80th birthday of Dr. Siegfried Hermerding, which was titled “The Flower of Life and the Universe”. It contained countless symbols and prototypes, but not a labyrinth.

Ariadne's Thread in the Flower of Life

Ariadne’s Thread in the Flower of Life

This is the picture to which I drew Ariadne’s thread for the three-circuit labyrinth on 25 June 2012 in Salzburg.

What is it about the flower of life? A sober and rational answer comes from Wikipedia :

An overlapping circles grid is a geometric pattern of repeating, overlapping circles of equal radii in two-dimensional space. Commonly, designs are based on circles centered on triangles (with the simple, two circle form named vesica piscis) or on the square lattice pattern of points.

Patterns of seven overlapping circles appear in historical artefacts from the 7th century BC onwards; they become a frequently used ornament in the Roman Empire period, and survive into medieval artistic traditions both in Islamic art (girih decorations) and in Gothic art. The name “Flower of Life” is given to the overlapping circles pattern in New Age publications.

Many see much more in the flower of life. They may, but one should not overemphasize. From the labyrinthine point of view, it remains to be noted that it is a grid in which, depending on the size, different labyrinths can be accommodated. They always have a hexagonal shape and a cube-shaped appearance. It’s a style similar to the labyrinths in man-in-the-maze style, as Andreas has explained in several articles.

In the articles mentioned below further drawings and derivations of Andreas and me can be found.

To accommodate a 7-circuit labyrinth in the Flower of Life, you have to extend the grid of full circles, as Andreas has stated. Marianne Ewaldt did that as a ceramic artist and gave me as present such a labyrinth last year.

A Golden Ariadne's Thread in th Flower of Life

A Golden Ariadne’s Thread in th Flower of Life

And here is another drawing of me with all the lines of the labyrinth in a slightly larger grid:

The complete 7-circuit classical labyrinth

The complete 7-circuit classical labyrinth

It can be clearly seen that the outer boundary lines form a hexagon and also depict a cube.

Related Posts

Further Link

A Latvian Classical Labyrinth

At the last labyrinth congress in Latvia I could experience a classical labyrinth with quite an unusual shape.

Here a few pictures:

The path on the soil was about 40 cm wide, the limitation stones measured about 30 cm and were embedded in 25 cm wide stripes of grass on each side. The middle section was quite big with a round flowerbed in it. The total path length was stated with 232 m.

So now what is so special about this labyrinth?

The special feature is that the middle section is much bigger than usual and that the four turning points are not arranged in a square and therefore do not form a cross as we know it from the Cretan labyrinth. Thus the labyrinth is of almost perfectly circular form.

The prototype

The prototype

Here I would like to show by a (left handed) prototype how one could construct it best of all. I use the unity of 1 m as dimension between axes, so that the labyrinth can be scaled into different dimensions.

The main construction

The main construction

We begin with the definition of the midpoint M1 and the both upper turning points M2 and M3. Using point M3 and M1 we determine point M4 with the measurements 6.00 m and 6.50 m. After that point M5 is fixed with with the measurements 4.00 m from M4 and 5.50 m from M1.

Thus we marked the midpoints for all curves and the four turning points M2, M3, M4 and M5.

After that all the different arcs are to be marked out and the labyrinth with its limitation lines is finished.

Layout drawing

Layout drawing

Here you can see/print/save/copy the layout drawing as a PDF file  …

Related Posts

Labyrinth Movement: Wandering in Meanders towards the Middle

The movement figure in a labyrinth is most essential. For me the meander is the most typical movement pattern. The way through the labyrinth is expressed directly by it.

In this post I try to develop different labyrinth types only with this movement pattern. I will not do it from the seed pattern, but directly from the path sequence (cicuit sequence).

The simplest labyrinth has 3 circuits, and appeared first on a coin from Knossos. This is why Andreas calls this the type Knossos. It is made from one meander and has two turning points (beginning and/or end of the walls). The seed pattern for this labyrinth is very simple: Three lines and two dots.

All examples have a square shape with the same width for the walls and the path(Ariadne’s thread). However, they could be as well round or polygonal. The shape plays no role. The movement figure is crucial.
The seed pattern (in blue) is inserted afterwards in the following examples.

The classical 3 circuit labyrinth

The square classical 3 circuit labyrinth type Knossos

There is still an other  3 circuit labyrinth which can be derived from the diminished seed pattern of the classical 7 circuit labyrinth. Nevertheless, it has the path sequence 1-2-3-4 and does not come up as a historical specimen.

In the type Knossos the path sequence is: 3-2-1-4, this is quite an other rhythm. That has to do with the meander.
I would like to stay at this this movement pattern, and continue with it.

Interim result: The 7 circuit classical labyrinth (sometimes called the Cretan type). This is the oldest historically provable labyrinth type which has presumably been developed from the seed pattern for the walls. It is build from two meanders, connected with a additional path. It has four turning points.

The classical 7 circuit labyrinth

The square classical 7 circuit labyrinth

Now we proceed with an other round, and will get with 11 circuits, 6 turning points and 3 meanders the Labyrinth type Otfrid. Here it is square, the “originals” in the historical manuscripts are all round.

The classical 11 circuit labyrinth

The square classical 11 circuit labyrinth type Otfrid

Meanwhile the course of action might be clear: With every new round, we will have four circuits, one meander and two turning points more.

Here the next example:

The classical 15 circuit labyrinth

The square classical 15 circuit labyrinth (new type)

The displayed example is not known as a historical labyrinth. Although there are other 15 circuit labyrinths. Nevertheless, they look different. Since they have been developed from the well-known seed pattern by adding more angles. We find them among the Scandinavian Troy Towns. Andreas calls the 15 circuit Labyrinth type Tibble.

There exist also 11 circuit labyrinths which have been developed from the enlarged seed pattern. Andreas is naming them type Hesselager.

I design the different labyrinth figures out of another idea: By continuing the typical movement of the meander. Only three examples of the so developed labyrinths match with the historical labyrinths which probably have been generated from the seed pattern. So still nobody has presumably had up to now this thought. One can explain with it the labyrinth figure in a new way, and, by the way, create new types.

The next example in this series is a 19 circuit labyrinth:

The classical 19 circuit labyrinth

The square classical 19 circuit labyrinth (new type)

It is a labyrinth with 19 circuits, 5 meanders, and 10 turning points.

One could continue in this style and develop more and more extensive labyrinths. Who like to do that, can do it for oneself.


With this method one can quite simply explain how to draw a labyrinth. Besides, only the paths, Ariadne’ thread, is drawn. Not the walls. If I speak of lines here, the circuits (the path axis) are meant.
Here an example from a kindergarten child:

An 11 circuit classical labyrinth

An 11 circuit classical labyrinth (type Otfrid)

And here the final work of a kindergarten project on the subject labyrinth. Every child has drawn “his” line in this 19 circuit labyrinth.

A 19 circuit labyrinth

A 19 circuit labyrinth (new type)

The next is a personal “attempt to set up a record”. I have stopped at 23 circuits. However, it would be easy to continue. Maybe you try it yourself?

A 23 circuit labyrinth

A 23 circuit labyrinth (new type)

Now I would like to explain here once again the principle. Your best bed would be to reproduce it for yourself on a sheet of paper. Once one knows how to do it, it is quite easy. At the end everybody should be able to draw Ariadne’s thread for the classical 7 circuit labyrinth by heart and in one go.

I would like to describe the movement pattern very simply, possibly in such a way: I encircle the center by moving to the other side. There I turn outwardly and return in parallel equidistant with the just drawn line back to the beginning side. There I repeat this movement: turning outwardly and tracing back to the previous side. There I turn between the up to now drawn lines into the center. The 3 circuit labyrinth would be finished.
However, I can continue instead and change once again to the other side by following the last drawn line. There the process recurs: Again encircling the center by moving to the other side (thereby leaving enough place for two later lines), then turning outwardly and returing back, and repeating the same. Then to the middle and so on.

It is important to remember that the first drawn line forms the third circuit. This means, I must leave enough place for two more lines, which are drawn later. Namely the second  and the first circuit, which are drawn as the second and the third line. This sounds complex, it is maybe also. However, if one has got the hang of it, it is quite easy.

The first 5 lines (circuits) for a square 11 circuit labyrinth

The first 5 lines (circuits) for a square 11 circuit labyrinth

The next 6 lines (circuits) for a square 11 circuit labyrinth

The next 6 lines (circuits) for a square 11 circuit labyrinth

The direction of movement in the previous examples was from the outside inwards. Thereby I can choose any form, a square, a rectangle, a polygon or a circle. I can make angular lines or rounded ones. If I am in the middle, I have finished.

But easily conceivably would be the reverse movement: From the inside outwardly. Then I would have theoretically no more limitation and could make on and on. A change of thinking for the movement would be required also. Best try it yourself.

Related Posts

Easter 2013

This Easter egg is one of the results of the activity with the different variants for the classical 7 circuit labyrinth. What has struck me: Under 42 mathematically possible alignments there are only two selfdual with the “opening” on the 3rd or 5th circuit.

One is the well-known classical 7 circuit labyrinth with the path sequence 0-3-2-1-4-7-6-5-8 which is also called the Cretan or the original labyrinth because it is the mother of all labyrinths. For a more exact name I suggest to add the eight-digit identifier 3214 7658 as type designation.

The other is the up to now unknown labyrinth with the path sequence 0-5-6-7-4-1-2-3-8. It is a classical 7 circuit labyrinth which needs the type name 5674 1238 for classification.

There are only two classical 7 circuit labyrinths with these characteristic features which it makes exceptionally specimens of her type.
Hence, the new type has also earned his right to exist.

Labyrinth Easter egg type 5674 1238

Labyrinth Easter egg type 5674 1238

Happy Easter to all visitors of this blog!

Related Post