I mention these philological,
mythological, and religious associations with the maze, because they suggest a common
origin for the maze going back to a very early times. Key patterns, knotwork and spiral
designs are all related to the symbolism of the maze, and very likely also originate in an
ancient tradition underlying all sacred traditions. One element that these
patterns share in common with the most primitive kind of geometric patterns is the symbolic
language of geometry.
The evidence for this may be found
in the art of central and northern Europe of the megalithic period, to mention only the
immediate background to Celtic art, for instance. The key to the symbolism of such
grid-based patterns is the grammar of the elements of primitive geometric pattern
such as J. Romilly Allen outlined as the basis of art in the Bronze age.
I hope the basic maze variations of the Val
Camonica carvings will inspire those studying Celtic art, as the study of the basic maze
may stir further research into the intelligibity of primitive ornament such
as is found in many megalithic sites.
Fig. 66a: Square form of Celtic Cross
Books to read. City of Revelation, John Mitchell,
McKay, N.Y., 1972.
The Mystic Spiral, Jill Purce, Avon, N.Y., 1974.
The Book of the Hopi, Frank Waters, Viking, N.Y., 1969
Camonica Valley, Cape, London, 1964.
Mazes and Labyrinths, Janet Bord, Dutton, N.Y. 1975
Fig. 66b: Irish Ecclesiastic, Carved Stone, Killeadeas