The Story of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth

— as told by The Minotaur to Norma —

King Minos of Crete is an arrogant poophead. First he brags that he can get the Gods to do anything he wants -- smart that. Then he sets up a sacrifice ritual to Poseidon, except that he doesn't have a sacrifice at all. He just commands a bull to emerge from the sea to be the sacrifice. Because Poseidon must have been in a very good mood that day, the bull actually rises from the sea to be sacrificed. But it's such a stunningly beautiful white bull that King Minos decides he should keep it and give Poseidon a more ordinary bull from the royal herds. Like I said -- a poophead.

Not surprisingly, this ends Poseidon's good mood. He decides that if Minos is going to mess Him over, he'll return the favor. Poseidon causes the king's wife, Pasiphae, to fall completely in lust with the white bull. Pasiphae is clearly not the brightest crayon in the box either. She decides, instead of just giving the bull a kiss and a hug, that she has to have relations with it, forgetting that, in this case, size really matters.

So she gets the court inventor, Daedalus, to build a mechanical cow for her that she can climb inside with the appropriate part of her hanging out. Daedalus does this without Minos ever knowing any of this is going on. So Daedalus is also a poopwit, yes?

The mechanical cow gets wheeled out and Pasiphae climbs in. Some of the myth-tellings say she has great time. Most of them say that as soon as the bull mounts her she falls out of Poseidon's lust spell and realizes that this was not a good idea at all. Plus, it really hurts. The bull finishes what he's doing and Pasiphae curses him and Poseidon.

Not too long after that Pasiphae starts feeling a little queasy in the mornings. She manages to fool Minos into thinking the child is his -- heck, maybe she even fools herself into thinking that -- until the child is born with a bull's head.

Understandably, Minos pitches a royal fit. Partly because he's been cuckolded by a cow, but mostly because he's been shamed publicly. Pasiphae also hates the baby and the white bull. Now remember that it's a baby we're talking about here, for pity’s sakes. At this point I’m just a cute little bull-headed baby that hasn't hurt anybody and just wants his mommy.

Minos sends to the oracle at Delphi to find out how best to hide his shame. The oracle (being pretty poopwitted itself in this instance) says that the child should be presented as a monster and enclosed in a giant maze called the Labyrinth. It should be shown to be a fierce flesh-eater and be given human sacrifices.

Take a moment to consider that we cows do not eat flesh unless we are absolutely starving. It's a terrible thing to force a cow or bull to eat flesh. This makes the King and his wife really happy since they have a serious hate on for my poor baby Minotaur self. (Force-feeding meat to cows is, in modern times, how Mad Cow Disease is spreading. It's just not a good idea or a nice thing to do.)

So they shut me up in the Labyrinth that Daedalus builds. (Aside: the original Labyrinth is really what you today would call a maze, not a labyrinth at all, since it has false turns you can get lost in.) They starve me except for the human sacrifices I get periodically. Reasonably, I don't grow up liking humans very much, other than as a snack. Except -- and this is a big except -- that I speak to Theseus later before Theseus kills me. So somebody had to teach me to speak, right? That means a civil, talking relationship. And Ariadne, my younger half-sister, knows her way to the center of the Labyrinth and befriends her poor, sad, savage half-brother. So I did have some human contact that wasn’t about food. But life is still pretty awful for me -- being shut up in the Labyrinth and fed nothing but meat.

Ariadne, her mother's daughter, not the sharpest needle in the haystack and yet another poophead, falls for the hero Theseus who, disguised as a sacrifice for the Minotaur, journeys to Crete for various other mythological reasons. None of those reasons include finding a girlfriend, but Ariadne doesn't twig to that. She shows Theseus that he could be a big hero by slaying the "dreaded" Minotaur (her brother and her friend) and she gives him a sword and a ball of twine so he can find his way in, kill me, and find his way out again.

This he does. I tell Theseus his fate before he kills me (which he doesn’t believe) and, honestly, I’m pretty glad to be killed. After a life like that, wouldn’t you be, too?
After killing the Minotaur and becoming a big hero, Theseus promptly dumps Ariadne. Theseus is also a poophead.

Thus ends my life story. A tale of shame, child-abuse, and poopheadedness.


Note from Norma: So Who or What does this make the Minotaur? To my (admittedly very postmodern) mind He’s a semi-divine abused Outsider. From His creator Poseidon, to his mother, to his half-sister -- everyone who should have cared about Him messed Him over. He's fierce because He's starving and abused and imprisoned. He's gentle enough to be taught to speak and to trust Ariadne.

What this tells me is that the Minotaur can probably be oracular when He chooses to be and can probably be trusted to a certain extent if you mean Him no harm. Sort of like some of the semi-friendly homeless folks around New Brunswick or any other big city. If you’re careful, He could be a good ally and a good guide.

Don’t look just to the light for your heroes and guides. There’s plenty of beautiful Magick hidden in the dark corners of mythology, even as there is hidden in the dark corners of life.