Behind the Labyrinth

An inherent part of Greek culture is storytelling, and to this day, tales of mythological creatures, gods and goddesses continue to inspire and captivate those who will listen. From Medusa, whose gaze would turn any soul to stone, to the almighty Zeus; king of the gods, ruler of Mount Olympus, and god of the sky, weather, thunder, lightning, law, order, and justice.

Derived from the Greek word labryinthos, the Labyrinth represents any maze-like structure with a single path through it. Beyond stories of gods, monsters and sacrifice, the symbol of the Labyrinth is also one of spiritual meaning, and one that has inspired the creation of our Labyrinth pendant. Since its inception, the symbol of the labyrinth has served to help one find their spiritual path, purposefully removing one from the common understanding of linear time and direction between two points. As one traveled through the Labyrinth, they would become increasingly disorientated in reference to the world outside and, possibly, would unexpectedly discover one's true destiny in life.

Dating back to the Neolithic Age, the symbol of the Labyrinth has appeared at the centre of many mythical tales, most notably, the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur.

The tale of the Minotaur and Theseus

The Minotaur was the son of Queen Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete. Queen Pasiphae slept with a bull sent to her by Zeus, and gave birth to Minotaur, a creature half man – half bull. King Minos was so embarrassed, but did not want to kill the Minotaur, so he hid the monster in the Labyrinth constructed by Daedalus at the Minoan Palace of Knossos in Crete.  According to the myth, Minos was imprisoning his enemies in the Labyrinth so that the Minotaur could eat them. The labyrinth was such a complicated construction that no one could ever find the way out alive.

The son of King Minos, Androgeus, went to Athens to participate in the Panathenaic Games, but he was killed during the Marathon by the bull that impregnated his mother Pasiphae. Minos was infuriated, and demanded Aegeus, the king of Athens, to send seven men and seven women every year to the labyrinth to advert the plague caused by the death of Androgeus.

During the third year, Theseus, son of Aegeus, decided to be one of the seven young men that would go to Crete, in order to kill the Minotaur and end the human sacrifices to the monster. King Aegeus tried to make him change his mind but Theseus was determined to end the sacrifices.

Theseus promised upon his return that he would put up white sails coming back from Crete, allowing his father to know in advance that he was coming back alive. The boat would return with the black sails if he had been killed.

Theseus announced to King Minos his plans, but Minos knew that even if he did  slay the Minotaur, Theseus would never be able to exit the complex labyrinth.

Theseus met Princess Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, who fell madly in love with him and decided to help. She gave him a thread and told him to unravel it as he went deeper into the Labyrinth, so that he could find his way out of the labyrinth. Theseus managed to kill the Minotaur and save the Athenians, and with Ariadne’s thread he managed to retrace his way out.

Theseus took Princess Ariadne with him and left Crete sailing happily back to Athens. Too ecstatic and exhausted from the celebrations, Theseus neglected to change the sails on the boat. King Aegeus was waiting at Cape Sounion to see the sails of the boat. He saw the black sails from afar and presumed his son was dead. He dropped himself to the waters, committing suicide and since then, this sea is called the Aegean Sea.