LABRYS

Of all ancient Crete religious symbols, the axe was the holiest. Double axes consecrated Cretan shrines, homes and palaces.

Labrys was found in ancient Minoan representations of the Great Mother and its symbolism is directly related to the Labyrinth. The word Labyrinth means "House of Labrys", invoking the Goddess's presence and her regenerator power. The word "Labrys" is also related to the same root of the Latin labus, that means lips and connect the double axe directly to the feminine sexual organ.

The House of Labrys, then, is literally the shrine that includes the icon of the woman's creative power. The Labyrinth is the Goddess's body, the center is her uterus.

Originaly, the Labyrinth refers to the Palace of Knossos in Crete, decorated richly with the symbol of Labrys. Into the palace women made sacred dances, and walked the long road that led to the center of the Palace and outside again, evoking the theme of the birth, life and death.

Based on this simbology we can deduce that Labrys represents the Goddess, transforming death in life. The axe also reiterates the form of the butterfly and its capacity of transforming from caterpillar within a cocoon into a winged creature, free. The opened crescent superior extremity of the axe remind us to the uterine arch tubes, curving from uterus to ovaries.

Symbols similar to Labrys appear in religious objects in Scandinavia , Africa and Greece where is frequently a feminine symbol, probably lunar in its origin.

The Labrys represents the Mother Goddess, assuring the humanity's development in Her arms. The sheets of the axe can be interpreted as crescent moons and the Goddess's arms, protecting and transforming the cycles of the life

The Labrys is also linked to Amazons, a mythical society of women that worshiped Artemis and that never underwent the masculine wills and values of the patriarchal culture. Among all of the war instruments Labrys was their favorite one. Myths about Amazons are found in old Greece, Rome, Africa, Asia Minor and Crete. The word Amazon has been translated broadly as "a match for men", evoking in our mind powerful symbolisms of claim for equality in the rights between men and women. So, Labrys can be interpreted as a search symbol for the feminine truth and today is frequently used as an identity and solidarity sign among the feminist movement


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