The Cors

The sacred virgins were the cors (cf Kore or Persephone of the Pomegranate, see previous notes) who sang in choirs and who, like Ariadne at Knossos, performed the sacred spiral dance of the "choros" which, in ancient times, were also the chorus of narrators of religious ritual, ballad and tragedy.

This chorus, in later Rome comprising of only the cream of noble youth and maidenhood, danced the maze around a central core or ’Cor’, in effect the eye of the storm or whirlwind, symbolized by a column or pillar, upon which roosted the dove of the spirit, the Magdal, which represented the corpus callosum and the wings of the grey matter of the cerebral hemispheres of the human brain.

As late as 1660 a turf maze in Hilton, Huntingdonshire sported just such an obelisk capped with a sphere, placed there by its builder, a William Sparrow.

Similar to Chartres, but in a more direct fashion still, the path to the centre of the maze is straighforward. At Saffron Walden, prior to the turn of the last century, the centre of its turf maze was occupied by an Ash tree or Aes tree (Na’Nuine), symbolic of the Goddess of sovereignty and reminiscent of the Fairy Aes Dan, the Danish Aesir or first gods, the Asher of the Egyptians (Isis and Osiris) and the Asuras or Shining Ones of the Scythian Aryans. Merlin Emrys was married to Ninian or Na’Nuine, replicating the union between Odin and Yggdrasil.

The Cors
Also pertinent to the maze, as the genitalia of the Cor or virgin (OED), and variously therefore the triangle of Daleth in which is set the All Seeing Eye of God, is the Cor, as the pupil of the eye. The graveyards in which are located the barrows or bergs of the high Kings of the Dan at Uppsala are triangular.

Further linguistic relationships include Cor: A Horn, as in Hearne or Cernunnos. This is related to Keras; the horn of the Horn Gate of true visions which is one of the portals of the Underworld. Keras is related to the verb Krainousi, meaning "to attain fulfillment". Possibly fanciful, though tantalizing, is the idea that the "Horn Gate of true visions" was originally the arch of the open legs of the Meremaid, attired in her Scythian, horn plated ritual armour.

However, Michael Grant suggests, in his commentary on the Aeneid, that this relates to cornu, the eye with its horny tissue, the cornea, whilst the other gate, the Ivory Gate of falsehood, corresponds to the teeth and the mouth. He elaborates that what is seen first hand is truer than that which is related in speech, a pertinent observation well fitting the magical idea that Gnosis is greater than belief and initiation is more powerful than faith. Nevertheless, in relation to the Horn gate, it is still poetically and charmingly supportive of Cor, as the Eye in The Triangle.

In elaborating on the concept of Cor as cornu and in further pursuing the Horn and Ivory symbolism, we should look at the twin pillars of the temple: Boaz and Joachim. One is black and the other is white, corresponding to the Horn and Ivory Gates of Hades in Virgil’s Aenead. Bull’s horn is often black in colour whilst Ivory is obviously white.

In the major arcana of the Waite Tarot which, with its wealth of organo-alchemical, Solomonic symbolism could well be termed the Tarot of the Vampire or the "a la carte menu" of the Epicurean, the second card, the High Priestess portraying the virgin Isis, is seated before a veil decorated with Persephone’s pomegranates, which is suspended between the two pillars.

Partly concealed beneath her blue robe she holds a scroll on her lap bearing the legend Torah, or Law. One recollects the Welsh story of the virgin’s lap and its association with the female organs in the story of King Math.

Here it is indicated that the law resides within her womb and that she and it are situated between the pillars and thus represent and occupy the point of Zen balance or stillness derived from divine union, which is symbolized in British witch tradition by the seesaw and the candle.

Kabalistically speaking she sits at the Core of the Llan, the Inner sanctuary of the temple in the labyrinth, before the invisible middle pillar of the tree of life and it is in this position, in ceremonial magic, that initiates position themselves psychically in anticipation of a final communion with their Holy Guardian Angel which for them anyway, is the Ende-Werk of the Hermetic process, as envisioned by modern occultists.

On her head the High Priestess wears a crown comprising of the disc of the Ajna chakra or sephiroth of Kether positioned between the draconian horns of divinity, on her breast she wears the Johannite white cross of Iao or Thymus the Healer (see notes on endocrinology), and at her feet rests the crescent of the new moon.

The classical symbolic link between the feet and the genitalia derives from the empirically obvious, explained by modern neurological anatomy linked to recent studies of the compensatory adjustments made by amputees who develop ghost limbs. Neuro-surgeons locate the nerve terminals for the feet immediately adjacent to the nerve terminals for the genitals. This delightful discovery also goes some way in explaining how the body’s meridian lines work.

Again in this particular instance the High Priestess Icon demonstrates that the middle pillar, the Perrone of the Tree of Life represents the spinal cord of the Swan Princess and that she and her sephira, the Apples of Iduina, are the Daleth or doorway to the underworld.

Cor as Kore or corn, as in John Barleycorn and the Barley Mow, is associated with the circular field, a variant or adjunct of the sacred Llan grove, in which the sacred grain was grown for the cakes and ale served at pre-christian ceremonial journeys to the Other/Underworld. Human sacrifices were strongly associated with the Barley Mow and the blood was sprinkled as a libation across the field.

Further to this the word Hospital or Ysbyty in Welsh is associated primarily and anciently with hospitality and the Ysbytys were druidic houses, rather like Templar Preceptories or small monasteries or Bangors where local people or travellers could go and refresh and heal themselves. The sign outside such an establishment was usually a druidic Blue Boar and it was a part of Brehon Law that any given region should have a certain number of these establishments to which were attached the Barley Mow adjacent to the Sacred Grove nearby.

The ritual function of the Barley Mow and the public rites in the Grove can be viewed as an intentionally pagan (pagani - a Roman social numerical unit corresponding to a Sept) or popular derivation of the higher rites of Enthea and were probably devised as a devotional ceremonies for the Celtic peasantry of the rural septs, or pagani, by the Scythian druids whose Bards, one recollects, also sang into being gods for them to worship.

From this we discover the origins of the rustic games which parodied the quest for the grail in the common mazes of Merrie England. Lastly Cor as Corvus Corvidae (see OED), the Raven or Morgana whose position in the story of Holger Dansk, was under a tree at the centre of a circular garden protected by a serpent or dragon. (On one level the serpent also represents the Nidhe Hogga, the spiral serpent of the Cosmos).

As such Morgana is, like Ariadne, Melusine and Sleeping Beauty; the Virgin at the centre of the labyrinth. The Corvus of Morgana was interchangeable with the dove in Hebrew Kabala, as a bird of divination (Cor: the eye: "to see") and the underworld or Qlipphoth. The Raven was originally sacred to Lilith. Etymology derived from OED. (The serpent-necked Serpilion dove is interchangeable with the swan and is related to the Solar Caduceus).

In parody of the sacred ritual dance, in later ages, maidens and youths danced the Maypole and Morris Men danced the ring around the Maze at whose centre the Maypole was often erected. The idea that the Maypole was a phallic symbol is only true on one level.

At its highest level the maypole was the Tree of Life and thus the Spinal Column, at the head of which rests the Dove of the Brain. The true significance of the Maypole dance can be observed by watching what happens as the girls and boys (see sacrifice to the Minotaur above) weave the web of coloured ribbons around the pole. With each step the maidens and youths get closer to the pole itself as if drawn into the Maze.

The interlaced pattern of the woven ribbons represents the web of Elphane or Arachne, the web of the Fates or Fairies (Mori-gans), in one sense drawing them closer to the maze’s centre and their doom. (In Sanskrit ’Tantra’ means to weave the web of energy.) As they dance closer, the woven ribbons around the pole itself tighten up and begin to symbolize the helix pattern of the nerve channels that encase the spinal chord, on their way down to the base of the spine and ultimately the womb, the central point of the labyrinth.

The Tree of Life
This spinal column or Core Pole, the Ankh shaped Bethel Stone, is not simply or solely the penis of some god of mundane fertility, but the main trunk of the Tree of Life that is Diana, it is the backbone of the Virgin Goddess, huntress and protector, and any virgin royal priestess, or Cor, who represents her.

On a smaller scale the Maypole is the Thyrsus of Dionysus, topped with its pine cone. In Scandinavia the maypole relates to the Axis Mundi, the lynch pin which was said to hold the sun in place and whose foundation lay buried beneath the world.

The Axis Mundi is The World Ash or Aes and the Trunk of the Ash, the Maypole, represents the spine of the Goddess or priestess. Thus the sun represents the Ajna Chakra, the halo of christianity, whilst the Earth represents the virgin womb and this symbolism is repeated in the Ankh cross, dealt with in a further essay.

The maze or spiral dance around the Maypole is a development from the earlier chorus around the stones and the later witches spiral and ring dance, whose origins are to be found in the dance around the Core or Perron stone at the centre of the Labyrinth within the ancient Grove. Sometimes these Perron stones had pine cones carved at the top, as a variant of the dove but which are identical in their symbolism.

It must be remembered that the virgin at the centre of the maze, the Melusine, was also a Morrighan who fed on virgin blood, a practice echoed in the story of the blood letting of Parcival’s sister and the symbol of the healing blood of Christ (properly the blood of his mother or wife).

The web of fairy magic drew maidens and youths in as sacrifices, but if the rite was reversed and they were drawn in to feed themselves, then they were to feed on fairy "food", of which priest-ridden, terrified humans said that at the first taste, one remains in Elphame, damned forever.

The "food" stills the chattering monkey in the head, changes consciousness and deepens perception and one can no longer see the mundane world of petty mortal care, where the trivial is of such import. One sees instead a realm of wider, deeper meaning that in other cultures is called the Kingdom of Heaven. One is healed and "saved" by the Blood. Amen!

In other traditions the condemned were forced to tread the labyrinth on the Common before being hanged from "The Gallows Tree". In some distant memory, the executors of the condemned man’s fate believed that in walking the maze first, the convict’s spirit would be loosened from his body and more readily set free upon execution, in a similar fashion to those who, it was believed, were hanged at crossroads.

In this is dimly recollected the more profound idea of the maze concealing at its centre the truth of enlightenment and the freeing quality that transcendence has upon consciousness. In this idea, as in religious observance, the central mystery and its mechanics have been lost, to be replaced by superstitious mimicry.

Nevertheless, as evidence, it reveals historical ideas about the nature and function of the labyrinth. At the end of the maze lay death on a tree. At the end of Theseus’ journey through the labyrinth he slayed the Minotaur, himself. Having died to one state of consciousness, Theseus united with Ariadne and was born into another state of perception altogether. We have dealt with the concept of death on a tree where the tree represents the female for and upon whom the hero sacrifices his life and through whom he obtains wisdom.

In another sense the labyrinth represents the ever moving, spiralling vortex of the galaxy and the cosmos at whose centre there is utter stillness as in the centre of the maze, the journey’s end; death of the lesser self, stillness and release. Thus the centre of the maze is the nix, the nil point, the womb and the tomb, where the worm of fear dies and is reborn as the embryo of new consciousness.

The maze as Time, related to the spinning of the web of fate, is a very interesting concept and by its design implies that time folds back on itself in layers. Depending on what time width one imagines, instead of time being solely lineal, it might be suggested by the maze design that periods are folded on top of one another, like the skins of an onion or the web of a spider, so that the Greek classical period might lie just beneath the medieval period, which itself might be covered by the Victorian age.

This might go some way in explaining why some ages seem to wish to revive the former glories of other particular ages past. If they are adjacent to each other in the time fold, then it seems likely that they may influence each other, just as they do in lineal time. The corollary of this is the shamanic concept of chronological filaments or spirals packed against each other