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  Reprinted from Newsletter 115, dated 2005 May

Labyrinth goes back to the starting point JN

The labyrinth pattern is found all over the world. It is a meditative exercise, whereas a ”maze” is a puzzle.

It’s back to the drawing board for a labyrinth that was to be built as a Tercentennial project. Mendip council had given the green light for it in the recreation ground at the top of Fishers Hill, where Bere Lane, Hill Head and Butleigh Road meet. But at a meeting called on April 4, some neighbourhood residents objected, some quite vituperatively. The committee is now seeking a different site.

  The labyrinth pattern is universal, said Sig Lonegren, the author of a number of books on the subject; he lives in Bovetown.

  “It is found in Indonesia, India, Scandinavia (more than anywhere in the world, especially Sweden), the Hopi lands in Arizona, Peru and Crete. There are ‘turf mazes’ all over England. The earliest examples are on coins from Crete dating from 500BC.”

  Chartres Cathedral in France has a famous labyrinth; other examples are in Ely and Norwich Cathedrals in this country. They are thought to stimulate right-brain activity (intuition rather than left-brain intellect).

  In modern usage, the word maze means high walls (like at Longleat) and multiple choices, whereas a labyrinth has low walls and leads in only one direction: inwards.

  As for a Tercentennial labyrinth somewhere in Glastonbury, he said: “There is still an iron or two in the fire, but nothing is certain.”

  The construction envisaged for the Fishers Hill site was two-inch-wide blue lias sunk just below grass level so as not to impede a lawnmower — like the stones placed to outline the ancient foundations in the Abbey.

Sig’s book Labyrinths: ancient myths and modern uses, first published in the 1990s, is now in its fourth edition (Gothic Image Publications, ISBN 978-0-906362-69-3).

Newsletter articles about the Glastonbury Tercentenary in 2005

Why a mayor for Glastonbury? (summary of Tercentenary talk by Robert Dunning) Adrian Pearse … … 115.2   symbol to click

Full text: Why a mayor for Glastonbury? Robert Dunning … … [website only]   symbol to click

Photos at Tercentenary event in town hall, hosted by Conservation Society Jim Nagel … … [website only]   symbol to click

Labyrinth goes back to the starting point … … 115.5   symbol to click


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