Such spiral labyrinths were in ancient times especially common on islands and coasts. Sailors, merchants and other travelers performed rituals in them to be successful on their travels. In the Middle Ages, the power to protect the human soul was also attributed to the labyrinths. Even today, one can protect themselves against losing one’s way, getting lost, and other accidents on the road by passing the labyrinth.

The Snail Dragon stone labyrinth was built in 2024 by friends of the Kingdom of Torgu and the local people to reanimate the ancient tradition and to introduce it to visitors from near and far. The labyrinth gets its name from the mythological animal Snail Dragon, who is also depicted on the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Torgu (Snail Dragon of Torgu,"Helix Pomatia Draconis Torguensis".

This labyrinth varies a bit from most ancient ones, as it has both an entrance and an exit, so it can be used by several people at the same time. Most ancient labyrinths were designed so that the user would have to return by the same path. A typical layout of an ancient labyrinth looks like this:

The oldest labyrinth types have a stone cross built in the center, which implies that in course of Christianization, these “pagan” ritual objects were adapted and therefore escaped destruction. In Christhian times, the labyrinths became a symbolic way to mislead the Devil, making it lose its power over the performer of the ritual. The ritual also became associated with a holy journey, like the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This is probably derived from ancient Greek mythology, where Theseus passed through the labyrinth to free Athens. Theseus became a symbol of Jesus and the Minotaur the Devil. Labyrinths painted on the walls and vaults of churches, were considered symbols of protection. For example, similar frescoes can be found on the vaults of St. Mary's Church in Turku, Finland.

Over time, the labyrinths lost their religious meaning and became more of a festivity. The passage was accompanied by singing and dancing and associated with all kinds of good wishes. A special dance was for the center of the labyrinth, where the dancer would rotate around one’s axis for long periods of time. This would bring forth a change in the dancer’s state of consciousness, like the Sufi whirling dance ritual and many other examples found around the globe.

The Snail Dragon labyrinth is a 300-step walkway which consists of more than 25 tons of stones (around 900 stones). At the center lies a symbolic "king stone" rounded with stones from supporters of kingdom and with offerings, which bring good luck to visitors.

Some of the builders of the Snail Dragon labyrinth are depicted here. Hopefully, just as their ancestors, they too have left a mark, which will last a millennium.

Please enjoy walking through the maze and try to feel and harness its power!