Introduction: Labyrinth : How to Layout & Pack a Classic Cretan 3 Level

About: Yep, That's me in the photo. I'm done with hiding.
Labyrinth :  How to lay out and pack a Classic Cretin 3 level Labyrinth, and why.

Before I begin I would like to dedicate this 'Ible to all the members of the Instructable community who have used the immortal legend "It's what I had" somewhere in their Instructable.

First off - where I live the water is incredibly brak. (All water is borehole water, at 6" of rain a year there's not much fresh water) This is probably due to the fact that on Google Earth ( S 32 31.047' E 022 54.096 ) I appear to be living in a in a bit of a hollow, a sort of underground Dead Sea effect is formed I guess. The only things that grow with any sort of gusto is the lawn grass and the alien invader Presopis trees. Which have horrible thorns, the points of which are guaranteed to break off inside you after penetration and don't even make for nice tree-house trees for crying out loud. So my wife's hopes for a garden get progressively withered with each salt laden watering of the new seedlings. The Idea for packing a Labyrinth came about because

(1) The calcium deposits rocks I used were ... well free
(2) Most of the project itself was free and only took time. (aside from step 1 paragraph 25)
(3) and I certainly have enough space
(4) They don't need to be watered
(5) aren't going to die - to great disappointment.
(6) I used bare ground because if it were lawn grass the thought of having of having to clean it up with the weedeater / weedwhacker did not have me jumping for joy.
A brief history of Labyrinths :

Jo Edkins' Maze Page was my inspiration, I got my ...Ah..Ha moment This site is extremely detailed and comprehensive.
was of great interest Gives one an Idea to what extent people have been able to turn Labyrinths into a career.

Of course no reference is complete without

- The oldest Classic Cretin Labyrinth was found scratched into the wall of a Neolithic Tomb, which I think is about 40 000 years years ago (Picture).
Thereafter, on coins from the Cretin Era of the Minotaur (Picture). Since you could get lost there it was technically a maze but the Cretins called it a Labyrinth. Today however if you can get lost in it, it's a maze, if not it's a Labyrinth.
There are a lot of different layouts of Labyrinths, The Classic Cretin 2 level and the Chartres from the floor of the French Cathedral by the same same name being the most notable(Photo of Cathedral floor and a picture).
Roman Labyrinths were about as exciting, imaginative and long winded as their numeric system. (picture)

On a different neurological note, one I have not been able to confirm but have only heard (I would like reference confirmation if anyone can do so) APPARENTLY when walking a labyrinth the subconscious side of your brain for navigation that is always switched on updating your position is able to go mostly into sleep mode since on an intellectual level it knows you can't get lost. Secondly, as you walk round the curve of the Labyrinth so only one side of your brain is in 'charge' regarding walking, then as the path doubles back, the working side then rests and the other side then takes over.

I heard a neurologist saying on the radio that the "Toi Toi" which is so traditional to mass demonstrations in South Africa (sort of slow motion running on the spot with the right hand & foot being raised and put down simultaneously, then left hand and left foot ) is a very unnatural and aggravating thing to the brain's neuro-wiring and subconscious - leading to raised levels of aggression and general excitability. Once again - this is hear-say and I really would like confirmation of this statement. If not then I will remove this last statement.

Whether this really is so I can't tell you but I do know that it is restful walking it. Since the distance of my own is very nearly a 1km to the center and back (!), there is the added sense of well being that comes from taking a bit of exercise. Curiously I am able to get visitors to walk it who would never do so had I told them the distance. (Yes, I know it isn't far- but  for some it is). So perhaps it does offer a great deal of benefit to convalescents .

Step 1: How to Easily Draw a Classic Cretan

The title photo is of  Annette Reynold’s beach labyrinth was taken by her daughter Missy. It was not posed.

The following is an excerpt from  website reprinted without permission....
The Bulletin’s cover picture gives an intimation of the excitement a single-path labyrinth can generate. The woman in the picture, the mistress of that particular labyrinth, is Annette Reynolds, and the picture was taken by her daughter, Melissa. Annette is the head of the Labyrinth Project of Alabama. Their site has more about how the picture came about. Also, for general information about labyrinths, a good place to start is the site for Caerdroia magazine.

The drawings in the bottom picture is one of the ways to draw a 2 level Cretan. They come from the as well.

The picture and paragraph below is by Craig Swanson 

You Call It Labyrinth...

A labyrinth is a set of twisty passages, all alike. (Or is that a twisty set of passages all alike?)

According to Pliny there were four famous labyrinths of antiquity: 1. The Egyptian (by Petesuchis which had 3000 apartments - half of which were underground), 2. The Lemnian (similar to the Egyptian in style, but with 150 columns), 3. The Italian (an intricate series of chambers which was the tomb of Lars Porsena, King of Etruria), and 4. The Cretan.

drawing from: The Notebooks of Craig Swanson

The 5 pictures at the bottom show how to lay out and draw a 2 level Cretan. Just follow the steps.
These come from the website

Step 2: Prelim

Materials, Planning, Incidents and Accidents.

You will need to :

1. Access to anything that is feasible for the walls like white rocks in my case, to metal pipes. In short anything that will hopefully be striking and give a clear sense of delineation.

2. After having decided where you are going to place it, make it as big as possible!

3. Pick an area in which a vehicle or trailer can't access. Don't worry about it, you can wheel barrow them the last 50 yards or so.

4. Circles can be surprisingly long when straightened out, but don't worry about the math - it'll take care of itself.

5. Tell everybody what you are planning to do. Be irritatingly boastful. Harp on about it until everyone says "ENOUGH ALREADY" as one.

6. Do it in summer, this way you can better appreciate the 40 degree celsius  in-the-shade temperature.

7. Clear the area so as to level and generally prepare.

8. Go out with a wheel barrow, collect some stones. Put them in a pile outside the perimeter

9. Clearly this is not a very big pile. Go out with the bakkie (pick-up truck) after work, Saturday afternoons and Sundays and collect more.

10. Take a Tommy bar or pry bar with you, often what appears to be a tiny stone is actually 80% buried. Thus every stone has to be examined.

11. Be very picky. Collected only the finest examples (in my case, very white or very interesting). This means that you will need to range further - but hey what the heck!

12. Clearly this is still not a very big pile.

13. Keep boasting about what you plan to do.

14. Collecting the rocks into central piles in the veld, and then later loading them is actually far more energy efficient. Truly.

15. Keep a look out for the stones in the veld. Keep piling, loading, offloading into the wheel barrow and putting them in the big pile. Remember calcium is soft and thus cannot be tipped, thrown or generally treated roughly because then they break. Instead of one relatively rare nice big white stone you'll have 4 small ones! So each stone has to be treated with care.

16. Remember - boasting can be done with great subtlety, and it's lots of fun too.

17. Realize that when packing time comes, you probably will want to select stones by size and shape so that the larger can be in the center ranging out in size. If they're in a pile this is not possible.

18. Errrrr..... exactly how many stones will be required ?? Each one is a different size and allowing for about a fist between each one they'll cover an area of .... ? How do you count a pile?

19. Re-load the pile into the wheel barrow and lay them out neatly in rows outside the perimeter.

20. Count.

21. PBF - (Piggy Bank Effect) "That's funny........weird, I really thought there was more."

22. Now it's time to do the Pie. And the answer is : Required, enough stones to pack a line 500 meters long!

23. CONGRATULATIONS - be positive, the glass is 20% full. It's what .... ? 42 celsius today - hey people pay lots of money for saunas - sweating is good for you!

24. Thanks to all the boasting it is now impossible to back out. Humiliation is a great motivational tool.

25. The inevitable conclusion of rooting out, picking up, carrying to a pile, putting down, picking up again and loading onto a trailer, offloading into a wheelbarrow, wheeling to the drop off point offloading again, all done very gently with lots of control is ... YES you guessed it, about 4 trips to the chiropractor to relieve some truly excruciating pain. Since the nearest one is about 330 kilometers from me those round trips sure do add up! (OK - so the chiropractor said it had exasperated an old injury, moral of the story being that if people ever say to you "aren't you uncomfy sitting in such a weird way?" instead of replying "no, I always sit like this" Think about it first - If you are uncomfortable in a 'normal' sitting posture thus sitting in a weird way, then something's wrong. Rather just bloody well go to the chiropractor and get it fixed before you are too sore to lie down, let alone sit.)

26. Climb back into the saddle when better. This can be surprisingly nerve wracking.

27. You've got no choice anyway on account of all the subtle and not so subtle boasting.

28. When you're done, you can tuck your thumbs in your pockets, rock your weight repeatedly onto your toes and say ... Guess how many stones are in this structure, guess - guess come on guess! (It's practically impossible to count them because of the way they loop back. You get so confused after a bit you just don't know which you've already counted. How to count them was practically an 'Ible on its own)

Step 3: Preparation

 Here is the collection of the material and general prepping of the area.

You need to find an area where you can mark out and pack a Labyrinth. Once you have decided where the center is to be, hammer a pipe into the ground on that spot. Make sure that it is very firmly embedded as this is the main anchor point for drawing the circles that you will trace and of course the perimeter circle. Decide how big you wish it to be. Fasten a loop of  wire around the pipe and spool the wire out till you are about a meter further than your outside perimeter. I attached the other end of the wire to a heavy pointed metal rod holding it in place with a vice grip. Don't use string as it stretches. This extra meter gives one an area to pack stones in and move about with a wheel barrow. This is quite important after all the lines have been marked out, or they will get spoilt by being walked/wheeled over.
I purposely chose a distance of 1meter between walls since I figured there was no need for me to compress it. A 2 level Cretin is more traditional and takes up less space. Karoo Wife however said she wanted more because she had found that when walking a 2 level - just when she was about to get her 'head into the zone'  - she'd be at the center and walking out somehow seemed a moment too quick for the wind-down.

Photo: 1Prep : is viewed through a bottom door from my house.
Photo: 2Prep : is viewed from the opposite side of the cleared area.
Photo: 4Prep : is viewed from the top of the hill overlooking the house

Unfortunately I did not take a photo of the area before I began, 'cause it looked like a jungle out there. Well - by Karoo standards it sure did!
Clear all the bushes away within the area with a spade, level the rises and fill the hollows.

Photo: 5Prep : is viewed from a bit closer, levelled with some stones packed round the perimeter.

Photo: 3Prep : is a great place to play!

Photo: 7Prep : Raking up sharp stones to help with the leveling. I found it easiest to divide up the circle into tiny quadrants so as to make it much more manageable in tiny doses.

Photo : 8Prep : I watered the area to help with leveling and to make the ground softer for rolling and easier to compress. Fortunately I only did a strip in the middle because it turned out that  each stone had to be partially buried so as to remain upright. This was quite difficult on the rolled areas due to the ground having been compressed so.

Photo : 9Prep : Roller Boy

Photo: 5Prep : is viewed from a bit closer, levelled with some stones packed round the perimeter.

Photo: 10Prep : Documenting : View from the top of the Rickertty ladder.

Photo:   6Prep : Ready for marking out, stones packed in rows 5 deep.

Photo: 11Prep : A 10 second self timer is surprisingly quick.

Photo: Panorama - is, well a panorama.

Step 4: Layout

This is what a 2 Level Cretan looks like.

The Drawing of the lines :
 Skip this step if you are not actually planning on laying one out. The geometry of the process is easy to demonstrate but ghastly to describe!

In step 3 you decided where to set up your Labyrinth, the width between walls and hammered your stake into the ground really deeply. (I'm calling this point C)

Next is the orientation of the layout. Since once you have packed the stones it is going to be like that for a while, it is a good idea to line it up with something, whether it be True North, East or parallel to something. If you don't, the slightly unbalanced feeling it'll give you will bug the bejesus out of you. I personally didn't actually believe it until I built something that was out of square to a nearby building.

I lined the main  vertical center line (now called V) up with the sunrise of the morning in which I drew the lines and packed the rocks out.
Draw your circle, mark your top point and draw a line to the bottom. (North to South)
Cross your circle, making sure the West point is equidistant from North and South and the Eastern point is also equidistant from North and South before marking out your line.
See second picture

Mark out all the half circle lines in the top half of your circle. This is easy as everything above the West/East line are perfect 1/2 circles.

Now comes the trickier part. In order for the circles to be able to bend back on themselves, a bit of compression needs to be applied on the lower curves.
The center line that you have drawn (V) and the center line that is packed (passing through point B),are not the same line. As you can see it runs half a meter parallel to the left of the N/S line (V).

3 More vertical lines are required starting on the horizontal line (H),
1 dropping South from Point A parallel to the mid line.
1 dropping South from Point D parallel to the mid line.
1 dropping South from Point E parallel to the mid line.

The lower right hand quadrant (F) from the 3 'o clock to five 'o clock position are drawn from point E, starting against line H and stopping before they cross the vertical line from E. The same with the left quadrant (G) in the 7 o'clock to 9 'o clock position, the arcs are drawn from point A, stopping before they cross over the line that extends down from point A

The 3 open points or half circles in the left quadrant can be closed with the dividers. The first one is at point A. The other 2 are directly below it.

In the right lower quadrant the lines that were scribed Horizontally need to be extended horizontally from line E to line D towards their matching points in the left quadrant then the 3 Half circles can be closed in from and including point D down.

I marked my points out with a bit a wetted down whitewash, reasoning that during the long day the points would get scuffed away. Good thing too.

Photo 3353 shows the lines of the lower left quadrant and then
Photo 3365 shows them having been closed with my homemade dividers. The extra line under them is for my introductory pathway. A thunderous breach of Labyrinth etiquette.

Photo 3352 Shows that right hand quadrant with the strip that is to be filled in with straight lines
Photo 3366 Shows the straight lines and closed pathways.

Step 5: The Packing of the Lines.

This is what a 3 Level Cretan looks like.

When Packing out the stones it is important to schedule the event for what will turn out to be the hottest day of the year! It is also important to suddenly doubt yourself humble mathematic skills and go and collect and offload at the Labyrinth another trailer load of stones. This way when you are done packing and nice and tired,  you will have exactly a trailer load of stones to pick up and go and offload somewhere!
Actually it wasn't so funny at the time.

While I was raking the area, which took quite a while I had the brain storm Idea of letting the stones stand upright instead of just putting them flat on the ground. I realized at the time that it would make the job of packing much slower but the effect would perhaps be better. I'm really glad I did. Setting the stones into the rolled areas was a lot harder though.

Having the stones around the perimeter allowed me to choose the largest stones for the center decreasing in size towards the outside.

Step 6: Done

Finished, nothing left to say.

Except 1800 stones later........

Step 7: The Arty Lot

                   Danie Theron, Tour Guide, Thompson Tours, Cape Town and administrator of the website Cape Fun. (Stuff to see and do round Cape Town)

Step 8: Under African Sunrise

The sunrise the morning after packing. As the sun came up so the hues on the white stones changed. It was quite amazing.

This photo ended up surprising me by being used as a screen saver quite a lot.

Step 9: Under African Night Skies

The first 2 photos were taken by Hilary Blackbeard, Calgary, Canada.

Taken the 1 st night after the full moon, which always comes up here in the Karroo an unbelievably deep orange. As everyone knows, it is the night of  the orange moon that the Fairies dance down the moon beams  to play in the Labyrinth and leave something in the center for children when they depart to say thank you. (The white Full moon beams are too slippery for dancing duh..)
The secret surprise will however melt away if said child 'cheats' while walking / running on the way to center, which it seems has ratcheted up a fear a bit like Father Christmas skipping your house. Only this happens 12 times a year!  As a result a fervent belief in Fairies has been generated!
Oddly enough the small things that the fairies leave (multi colored pencils, stickers, tiny plastic things that need assembling (like those things we used to get in cereal packets) small things like that, are often made in China. Of all places. So now you know, the fairies have a workshop too and it's in China!

Of course when I say that my kids are in the Labyrinth playing with the fairies - Everybody is sharing that belief, one way or another!

The last fuzzy photo was taken by me at midnight at full moon. It is hard to convey the extraordinary tranquility of the time. I took the photo with my point and shoot. I got some people with fancy cameras and seriously delayed shutters to take shots at that time for me. But they came out looking like a deeply overcast day which sort of wasn't quite the effect I was looking for.

Step 10: Friends, Family, Compass Bearings & Sundry Pics

I managed a while ago to get hold of some railway lamps. I put them on the cardinal compass points with candles inside. Walking the labyrinth in the dark with them burning was curiously centering. I then have another portable lamp complete with his little kerosene / parafin burner in it which are as rare as hens teeth since the lamp usually gets stolen leaving the housing behind. This one I place for Karroo Wife on various magnetic bearings outside the outer ring depending on whom she has her thoughts on in that particular day. There's another one nailed to a tree that is on the bearing of a good friend of Karroo Wife viz Antoinette Pienaar marking a mere 35km as the crow flies to her place. Yet about 140km round trip to visit. When I told her she said that it was a shame we were not crows. She wrote a book about the healing power of Karroo herbs that was translated into English called the Griquas apprentice and sometimes as The Shaman's Apprentice. The Griqua’s Apprentice

Oh, in case you were wondering - if you can find that still place in yourself by the time you have journeyed to the center, you will find a kind of magic there.