Hi guys!! Please welcome Beth Barany, author of A Labyrinth of Love and Roses. We have been emailing for a while and thought you would enjoy a guest post written by her about labyrinths, which are featured in her new novella. I have a thing for labyrinths, I think they are magical! Specially those made of grass, flowers and trees. I'd love to play one day in one of those....But anyway, did you know that a labyrinth is actually different from a maze? I learned something new today, thank you Beth!
Guest Post by Beth Barany: For a Love of Labyrinths
I’ve always been intrigued by labyrinths. There is a beauty and symmetry to them. They exude calmness and are shrouded in mystery. I’m drawn to both qualities. They invite me to find my meditative center. As a writer with a busy mind, I welcome this invitation.
Perhaps you’ve seen some labyrinths: Maze-like series of tiles on a cathedral floor or a small winding path in a park that you can walk.
You can only enter by one place. The pathway takes you a center. You can’t get lost. It’s not a maze, designed to confuse you and scare you.
According to Wikipedia:
“In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.
In colloquial English, labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate.”
It’s actually a meditative place to find your center, at least that’s what I understand.
When I lived in Paris years ago, I made a point to visit several cathedral labyrinths. The most well known is the one at Chartres. But when I visited there, I couldn’t walk it. Chairs covered the floor. I was disappointed, but there was plenty else to see at that church, including, surprisingly, a Black Madonna.
So I was happily surprised to discover another labyrinth, one I had never heard of, at Amiens, a northern cathedral town in France. This one didn’t have the chairs covering it. I walked the black tiles, surrounded by off-white tiles, and felt a moment of peace as I arrived at the center.
You may be surprised to learn that people have built labyrinths in their back yards and community parks in the United States and other parts of the world. In fact, we have one next to Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland, California. The famous tiled one in our area is the one in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
In my story, A Labyrinth of Love and Roses, a sweet paranormal romance, my hero Brett Barnaby goes to the Amiens cathedral to find traces of his great grandfather who died there in World War I. He stands in the middle of the labyrinth and mesmerized by the symbols he sees at the center. There’s another labyrinth in the story made of nature. This second one I made up and, of course, involves magic, as all my stories do. You can read an excerpt below of the opening of the story to get a feel for my romance. Hope you enjoy it!