Archive for October 2nd, 2009

Αριάδνη, daughter of King Minos of Crete, figures prominently in the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Every nine years, the Athenians sacrificed seven men and seven women to the labyrinth. This was punishment imposed on Athens by King Minos, whose son perished in his assault on Athens. In one such year, the sacrificial fourteen included young Theseus, a brave man promising to kill the Minotaur.

Having fallen in mad love with Theseus, Ariadne came courageously to his aid before he tackled the labyrinth. She gave him a sword and a ball of red fleece; that famous string by which Theseus could retrace his steps, and find his way out of the tangled and lethal maze.

I have always loved this myth. It celebrates young love and the desperate neediness of a bold, brave, and strong hero, Theseus, for the love, caring, and tender mindfulness of a young maiden.

Warriors without an Ariadne are truly alone. Theseus is lost without Ariadne. The mystical feminine embodied in Ariadne balances Theseus’ headlong masculine risk-taking, aggressiveness, and bravado. Yet,  Ariadne without Theseus would alternatively represent the chilling prospect of either miscarried love, or a love never kindled.

The red thread is a powerful symbol of both danger and passion, and the impact of the myth resides in that tension between the impulses of Eros and Thanatos ( deep attachment & the call to put it all on the line).

So, there are three questions I ask myself this evening as I approach the end of the day.

  • Who is my Ariadne?
  • Have I a firm hold of the red fleece by which to find my way through life’s labyrinth?
  • Who is the Minotaur?

Today’s spiritual practice is a reflection on interdependencies: the relationships through which I discover my meaning, the ground of my ideals, and a center that secures my resolve and courage in the face of challenges.

How would you answer these questions?

All prayer is an act of Thanksgiving. The grateful heart is a penitent and humble one. It takes precisely this kind of Heart to approach Mystery with awe. Through gratitude, I draw nearer the Beloved who can only be approached through Love. Acknowledging those on whose generosity of spirit I rely, adds an abiding sweetness and blessing to everything I do (especially welcome when challenges are tiring and difficult).

May your Ariadne always be close, and her thread in easy reach as you make your way through life’s labyrinth.



© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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