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9 Peppergrass Drive North
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054


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 Mythology of Icarus & Daedalus

Simply by acquiring the proper skills and tools, could not each of us gain control of
our own fate?


Daedalus, of Greek legend, was known throughout the land for his ingenuity and craft. He was sculptor, architect, inventor without peer. He was called upon by Minos, the King of Crete, to build a labyrinth so confusing that anyone who entered would immediately become lost. Daedalus loved a challenge, and soon he had designed and constructed a maze so intricate that no one could escape.

Unfortunately Daedalus had not bothered to inquire of the purpose of King Minos. There was a monster called a Minotaur, with a bull's body and a human head, that the king placed inside the labyrinth. There it roamed, strong and fierce, feeding on human victims that Minos forced inside. Luckily for one young man, the king's daughter fell in love with him. She gave him a magic sword with which to slay the monster, and a ball of thread which he began to unravel as soon as he was forced into the maze. He killed the beast, retraced his steps, and escaped with the princess.

King Minos was outraged. He accused Daedalus of conspiracy and locked him and his young son Icarus in a high tower. But the master inventor soon formed a plan. Minos might control the land and the sea, but in the air was freedom. Innocently requesting candles so that he might continue to read and study, and using their wax and the feathers of birds that flew about the tower, he constructed a pair of wings.

Carefully observing the birds, Daedalus placed large feathers over small so as to form an increasing surface. The larger ones he secured with thread and the smaller with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature just like the wings of the birds. When at last the work was done the craftsman waved the artificial wings and to his delight found himself hovering at the ceiling of his cell. He was flying.

At a much faster pace he now constructed a smaller set of wings for his son. After the two practiced for awhile, Daedalus carefully instructed Icarus. "Stay at a moderate height. Fly too low and the dampness of the sea will clog your wings. Fly too high and the heat of the sun will melt them." And with that, out through the window they flew. Along the shore one after another stared up at the pair in amazement. Surely these were gods in the form of humans, sailing through the sky.

Icarus became entranced with the joy and power of flight and forgot his father's cautions. He tilted his wings and soared upward as if to the heavens. Soon the blazing sun softened the wax which held the feathers together, and they began to drop off. Icarus noticed that he was descending and fluttered his arms faster and faster but to no avail. As the father watched in horror, his son plunged into the sea. Daedalus circled again and again over the spot where the boy had gone down, but nothing rose to the surface except a handful of feathers.

The myth of Icarus and Daedalus holds special interest because humans are flying by invention. We know of course that wax and feathers alone are not capable of lifting and carrying us through the air - many essential discoveries developed through countless studies and experiments had yet to occur - but here is mankind flying by our own devise. A perfect example of man overcoming his earthly bounds and rising to success by his passion, his inspiration and his innovation.

What this myth was meant to illustrate is ultimately yours to determine, but in the meantime let me share the following poem written by Gianni Bergamini.

Icarus

I will fly over rivers, lakes, oceans & mountains;
Beyond the clouds of the infinite sky.
With no barriers or chains on my wrists;
I will fly today and tommorow.

I will fly where the sun warms every heart,
where the moon and the stars watch over the night
so it passes painlessly.

I will fly in the light of an infinite God
Where faith has just one colour and
people never die.

With the wings of love, I can fly.


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