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The Labyrinth of the Heart

The Labyrinth of the Heart is a collection of twenty-six of Daniel Cohen's stories, with an introduction, notes on the stories, and an annotated booklist. It is available both as a printed book and as an e-book.The print version is illustrated.

Myths and folktales are retold in this book against the grain of the conventional tellings (which is why the subtitle refers to "Changed Myths"), as well as some new stories in a similar vein. My stories present new images of heroes, who do not need to use violence to reach their goals. The insights of goddess spirituality and feminism shine through the stories. By offering new images of the hero they help men to change and offer women the hope of such a change. These changed myths will be of interest to anyone who likes the old stories, and they act as a guide indicating ways in which lives may change and a support for those whose lives are already changing. A booklist with comments covers the areas of mythology in general, goddesses, and the men's movements.

The stories will appeal to anyone interested in myth or traditional storytelling. Written for adults, the stories can also be read by older children. No knowledge of the original myths is required, as enough detail of the conventional versions is included where necessary. Those interested in men's studies and gender relationships will find the stories a valuable resource.

Among the praise that The Labyrinth of the Heart has received are the following comments:

Daniel draws on ancient texts, myths, ballads and tales with an insightful new twist, wry and uniquely his own. It's a lovely little book, some of it absolutely great. I especially like the midrash on Eve.
       Robin Williamson (bard, storyteller, founder-member of the Incredible String Band.)

These retellings are brave, beautiful and original, combining a genuine appreciation of the original myths and legends with a rigorous new system of ethics. They are a fresh illustration of the eternal truth that good stories will live for ever, providing that they can still find good storytellers to adapt them.
      Ronald Hutton (author of The Triumph of the Moon, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, and many other books and articles.)

Cohen's stories teach us insights into gender roles, especially those involving heroism today. They are self-conscious as he recognizes that they want to be told through him, but they are never boringly didactic. Story itself shines forth as creatrix/creator — not of banalities, but richly of fantasies.
This author sees behind stories' seams through his critical eye and voice. His Theseus (or Perseus) is no muscle-bound gym-rat, but a male who returns to Ariadne, having confronted his brother deep inside the labyrinth, and celebrates her re-weaving the crucial thread "as a connection now between the ordinary world and the mysteries of the deep labyrinth."
These are long-polished re-viewing and re-insighting narratives of classical and late-European versions of magical shoes and trees and tricksters, biblical midrashim, Goddesses and Scottish salmon, characters such as Arawn and Pwyll. They make me wish I had children to tell them to (oh, yeah, a buddy's girls, they'll giggle with delight). Notes at the end explain starting points for these engaging narratives.
      William G. Doty (author of Myths: a Handbook, Myths of Masculinity, and other writings on myth.)

Myths are the eternal shapeshifters who mirror reality; their glory is that they are not fixed in one place. This witty, insightful book inspires us to incubate myths in the rich ground of daily life and discover how they can still surprise us. It boldly percolates through the bedrock of memory into the most immediate realms of experience. Some myths will taste familiar to you, while others carry the fresh-baked crust of new bread for the journey of life. Taste them for yourself!
      Caitlin Matthews (author of Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, King Arthur's Raid. Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain and many other books.)

Daniel Cohen's retellings of Greek and Celtic myths take my breath away and make my spine tingle, pointing the way to a transformation of the cultures of domination that have shaped our world, causing so much damage to all of us and the web of life."
      Carol P. Christ (author of Rebirth of the Goddess and She Who Changes.)

They're remarkable in many ways. First, his fables about men and the Goddess illuminate women and men's relationships with each other. More, the writing transforms these relationships.
      Francesca De Grandis (author of Bardic Alchemy: Enchanted Tales about the Quest for God/dess and Self.)

This small but mould-shattering volume left me stunned and breathless many times over. There is much power in these stories that will inspire both male and female readers without leaving either feeling in any way less important or vital to the truth and power within the myths.

I have to tell you, without sentimentality, just how much the book has come to mean to me. As a woman, I recognised the Theseus who thought he had killed the animal in him, and am thankful that it was a stage in his journey. I am profoundly glad to know of the Theseus who embraced his brother and visits him at the appropriate time. This alone is such a healing story that I have told it to people I meet, writers and psychotherapists and friends. On an academic level, your Theseus was exactly what I needed to side-step the false duality of gender stereotypes in mythic material.
      Sandy Hutchinson Nunns

The print version is distributed by Ingrams, ISBN 978-0-9513851-2-8, and can be ordered from any bookstore by title or using this ISBN. It is also available from online bookstores such as amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, bn.com (USA), The Book Depository (Great Britain), Blackwell's (Great Britain), amazon.ca, amazon.de and others. It can also be ordered directly from the author.

The main illustrations are a sequence of fifteen by Z*qhygoem, two of which are shown above in reduced size. There are also other drawings and photographs.

The ebook can be found in multiple formats on Smashwords free of DRM, price $4.99, and at the Diesel eBook store and elsewhere. It is also carried by the stores for each ebook reader (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and others).

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