In this approach I begin with a single form, the tube. The tube has an intestinal quality eliciting a visceral response to the internal made external. I twist and contort these intestinal tubes into knots. Symbolically, the knot represents an unchanging psychic situation, difficulty, and entanglement. The Gordian knot, a legendary intricate knot tied by King Gordious only capable of being undone by the future ruler of Asia and subsequently cut by Alexander the Great, is associated with the labyrinth.
The labyrinth has its history in ancient Greece. King Minos, from the island of Crete, had the labyrinth build to hold the half-man, half-bull monster called the Minotaur. Minos ordered that Athenian youths go into the labyrinth and defeat the monster but being so complex and the monster so fierce none survived. The Athenians called upon the hero Theseus to help them. Upon arriving in Crete, Minos’s daughter Ariadne fell in love with Theseus at first sight and was determined to help him. Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of thread and told him to tie one end to the door and unravel the thread throughout the labyrinth. After defeating the Minotaur, Theseus was able to use the thread to escape the maze.
American author working in the field of comparative mythology, Joseph Campbell, believed that the labyrinth stood for the unconscious. That one would act as Theseus and travel into the labyrinth of the unconscious and defeat their personal Minotaur. Psychologist Dr. Stephen A. Diamond relates this to what C.G. Jung called the individuation process: “that twisty, unpredictable, tortuous path toward wholeness and authenticity.” He states that one is on a journey to reach the core of our being but we must be able to escape the labyrinth to be transformed by the experience.
Diamond considers the thread given by Ariadne as a symbol for the intuition, feeling, and discernment it takes to escape.
“The return to the light requires sensitivity sufficient to discern the Ariadnean thread in the dark, the humility to crawl on hands and knees grasping the fragile thread, and the faith to trust in the often imperceptible threads ability to lead to salvation. “