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The Celtic Art Coracle Volume 1 Issue 8

THE BASIC MAZE Aidan Meehan

Another symbol of the dissemination of the Primordial Wisdom is the basic maze. This has two forms, square and circular. Patricia Villiers-Stuart has described the free-hand method of construction reproduced below, p.119, and commented as follows, "It is a way of integrating the seventh and eighth divisions of a circle upon squares. This entails a rhythmical approach to number and shape that can be applied at one extreme to atomic structure and at the other to the stars". However, the circular form may be considered to be a secondary form; a short-hand, freeform version. It appears to have been in use three or four millennia ago, to judge by its appearance in the Camonica Valley rock carvings in the Italian Alps. 

This ceremonial site was in continuous use from the earliest up to Christian times. The Celts inherited it from the inhabitants of the valley before them. The earliest known depictions of the Gallic stag god, Cernunnos were carved there, and the site obviously dedicated to the cult of the antlered god.   But they also inherited the mystery of the maze from Val Camonica. I have reproduced the maze as it appears at the ritual site below, p.120

This device has escaped precise identification as the basic maze, as it is very crudely drawn, but more than that, it is actually a negative version. That is, the maze has been drawn on the rock by someone who knows the secret of its construction, and the design has been cut away, leaving the lines raised on the surface. Evidently  it was used to trace the path (the cut design, show white) with the finger. The eyes of the "monster" which resides at the centre of this maze are thus clearly and, I believe, significantly positioned on the line of the maze instead of in the path of the maze. Thus we are in no danger of encountering the Minotaur en route to the centre. He has been built into the brickwork already, it seems. The question is, when and by whom?

 

Content: copyright Aidan Meehan 1983
 

The Celtic Art Coracle Vol 1
Contents Coracle Press 1983
ISSN 0828-8321 
All Rights Reserved
10.02.01edition
coracle@thecoracle.tripod.com

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