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Mazes and Labyrinths

22 23 Rockcliffe Marsh in Cumbria used to have a number of turf labyrinths. The beautiful design shown opposite was copied and drawn in 1883 when it was still visible by R. Ferguson. This pattern measured 24 by 26 feet with raised paths and cut gaps each about 8 or 9 inches wide. There are five coils wrapped round each side and eight coils vertically from the centre. Five and eight are often found to operate together in time and space, Venuss motions and timing around Earth being a good example. Here a threecoil heartshaped spiral turn the book upside down must be walked before oscillating three times backwards and forwards over the centre. This type of labyrinth, combining spiral and oscillating themes, is more commonly found in Scandinavian countries where they were associated with protection from depressing and clingy spirits of the dead. These poor lost souls reputedly could only travel in dead straight lines down spirit paths, or ley lines and so would get caught in the coils of these wonderful forms when the possessed human walked them. It is probably for this rather spooky reason that the folk name for a labyrinth in many countries is a spirit trap. Spirits are also supposed to be incapable of crossing salt water, hence the special sanctity of islands and the centre of a labyrinth is still called its island. THE wAllS Of TrOy a vanished turf labyrinth
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