“Reflection, intuition, emotion, sexuality and madness belong to the moon….”
Fellow lunatics—those who have (more than once) driven off the road or walked into a tree at first glimpse of moonrise, those who find reasons to use the word “gibbous” as often as possible, those who have lost all track of time or burst into tears while gazing at (and talking to) the moon, those who consider light pollution virtually sacrilegious and prefer to find their way by moonglow, those who feel moontide in their blood and moonphase in their bones, those who have a little werewolf inside who insists on howling, yipping or otherwise serenading full moons—this story is for you.
Long before electric lights pushed against the darkness of night with their unwavering yellow glare, the pale, silver-blue light of the moon must have been awesomely and incomprehensibly dazzling. Little wonder, then, that the ancients looked upon the moon and saw the face of a goddess (or, less commonly, the face of a god). The Greeks alone knew at least as many as eight moon deities—lunar goddesses or goddesses with lunar aspects—some of whom were derived from the earlier Minoan tradition. Ariadne was one of these. Known on Crete as Aridela (“utterly bright”), she was the moon at the center of the labyrinth.
Anyone who has walked the unicursal path of a labyrinth knows that labyrinth-walking is a contemplative practice, each step a meditation. The slow, spiralic labyrinth—coiling, doubling back, furling and unfurling—encourages deep thought and reflection. Hence its association with the moon, the most radiant reflective phenomenon we know. Although we often use the words interchangeably, a labyrinth is not a maze. When we lose our way in a labyrinth, we get lost psychologically, not physically, in its myriad twistings and turnings. We lose ourselves in quiet introspection. Whatever Minotaur we meet is the dangerous darkness within that we fear and attempt to contain. Continue reading