By: Ranilo Abando (Manila, October 26, 2020) ***
The story of Ariadne and the Labyrinth was compiled from very old oral traditions of Greek-speaking people. Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete. According to the story, Minos’ son was killed in Athens. To avenge the killing, King Minos attacked Athens and was victorious. He then imposed an obligation on the city. He demanded that seven young men and seven young women be sent to Crete every year as tribute. He sent those young men and women for sacrifice into the Labyrinth underneath his palace in Crete, where the Minotaur resided. The Minotaur was a half-human, half-bull creature that was born from the union of King Minos’ wife with a bull.
Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens wanted to put a stop to this sacrifice of young men and women. So one year, when a batch of young people of Athens were about to be sent to Crete, Theseus included himself in the group making the voyage to Crete in order to kill the Minotaur and end the sacrifices once and for all. When they arrived in Crete, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus at first sight and decided to help him in his quest.
Hiding herself near the Labyrinth, she waited for Theseus to approach the Labyrinth and then she gave him a sword to fight the Minotaur, as well as a ball of thread so that he could retrace his way out of the labyrinth. She told him that she would stand at the entrance and hold one end of the thread and directed him to let the thread unroll as he penetrated deeper into the twisting and branching paths of the Labyrinth. Theseus found the Minotaur and he managed to kill the monster with the sword provided by Ariadne. He then followed the thread back to the entrance, where Ariadne was waiting. Ariadne then eloped with Theseus on the way back to Athens.
The story of Ariadne and the Labyrinth is another allegory formulated by the wise ancients that encapsulates the same truths contained in other allegories that I have discussed in my previous posts. It seems the ancients intended to hammer into our consciousness these truths to the point of being repetitive. In fact, I could already detect fast in my mind the hidden message just by reading such metaphorical works. My mind becomes used to it somehow, but I still find these allegories awesome despite the same underlying message as in other allegories.
I think the intention of the ancients was to make these stories support one another into an unshakable system of knowledge, as symbolized by the god Indra’s Net. Indra’s Net is like a spider’s web in the early morning covered with dew drops, where every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops. In short, it is a net of interconnected knowledge.
Let us go back to the metaphors in the story of Ariadne. The Labyrinth represents the lower mind of a person, which builds the virtual physical world that we experience now. Inside that labyrinth is the minotaur beast, representing the “beast” aspect of the lower mind, which runs the programs and algorithms that produce dark passions in a person, such as hate, greed, sadness, fear, jealousy, lust, anger, etc. (the mind is a non-physical, non-virtual information processor). The minotaur is half-human because it is an integral part of human nature, especially of its own lower mind.
The handsome Theseus represents the human seat of consciousness, a sojourner spirit. It is easily bewildered by the complexities and difficulties it encounters within the various realities built by the lower mind, as if it is inside a labyrinth. Many spirits have gotten stuck inside the labyrinth of realities in the lower mind, metaphorically like those Athenian youths devoured by the minotaur of King Minos’ Labyrinth.
Luckily, a person’s main seat of consciousness (main spirit) above the mind column, personified by Ariadne, provides the human spirit with a “lifeline”. This lifeline is the proverbial river from Eden or the river Ganga. Through this two-way line passes high-grade information of the spiritual kind, that saves the person whenever it gets stuck or frozen in the danger zones of the lower mind, including in the intermediate zone. This lifeline is the metaphorical thread of Ariadne that guided Theseus in getting out of the Labyrinth.
The sword that Theseus used to slay the minotaur beast represents the “thinker” aspect of the mind which the human seat of consciousness was able to bring down to these levels of the lower mind in order to guide it and defeat the dark passion programs. Reason and spiritual knowledge defeat passions ultimately. The “thinker” is a fast and efficient tool (if properly trained) to help us navigate these treacherous zones of the mind. We can no longer rely on basic instincts to get us out of here. We have to think our way out.
Ultimately, like Theseus joining Ariadne in the end, the sojourner human spirit will be able to get out of the labyrinthine realities built by its mind column and rejoin its main spirit once it completes its long journey to these depths of the mind.
By the way, you may notice that the ancients often represented the main spirit of each person above his mind column as a woman. It is because during ancient times, women were perceived to be passive, compared to men. The main spirit is not actively participating in the affairs of the human spirit, although it is a source of help or inspiration during times of need. It is watching incessantly though. It is of course politically incorrect now to suggest that women are passive. Modern women are definitely not passive and they accomplish many successful endeavors just like men do – including the pursuit of enlightenment.
(Thanks to pixabay.com for all the photos above)