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THE LABYRINTH - Symbol of Fear, Rebirth and Liberation*

By Helmut Jaskolski, published by Shambala. 194pp. ISBN: 1-57062-195-0

What a strangely eloquent book this is! It is as if we are allowed to eavesdrop on the private musings of a mythologist as he ponders the vast depths and scope of the labyrinth as myth and symbol. Jaskolski's prose is at all times flowing, attractive and evocative, and even when he is addressing profound mythic truths it remains fresh and approachable, powerful and ever open to the reader.

Jaskolski traces the labyrinth in Western consciousness from Crete and the ancient Near Eastern myth of the encounter with the Minotaur, reassessing the sacred marriage between Theseus and Ariadne, the mortal princess who is yet a Goddess, and the flight of Daedalus and Icarus with which we are all so familiar, through the labyrinth's adoption by mediaeval Christianity as the image of the earthly pilgrim and his journey throught the world to great and eternal spiritual wisdom, to today's revival of interest in its ancient truths, not least its powerful adoption by Umberto Eco as the model of the library in his novel The Name of the Rose.

No doubt there are many pagans who would bridle at the inclusion of Christian myth within this book and refuse to read it on that account. If so, they would be the losers; this is a wonderful, evocative and thought-provoking exploration of one of the most enduring and powerful symbols of Western culture. An excellent read.