AKA: LABYRINTHS I HAVE ENJOYED PERSONALLY
The first real-life labyrinth I encountered was during a visit to a bush property. The owner was a kinaesiologist, in tune with phenomena beyond the seeing eye. She had selected this property out of many she looked at, assessing the health of the earth energy levels on each. She set up her minimalist off-grid sustainable home, then divined the optimum place to create her labyrinth out of branches which had fallen from her eucalypts. Her knowledgeable friend staked it out with builders’ string to get the proportions right, and the design based on brain hemispheres was created.
She showed me how to walk with intention, slowly and purposefully, meditatively. It was welcome relief from my exhaustion, borne out of the everyday busyness of my contemporary first world life of full-time employee plus parent: a space just to be, for the instant in time that I was walking that labyrinth. A sigh of relaxation in the hectic chaos. A smidgeon of me-time in the hurly-burly carnival of overwhelming expectations. Blissful!
My second major labyrinth experience was at a Women’s Retreat. This weekend had wonderful no-obligation activities of the creative and spiritual kind, the kind of things I love to do!
The activity was to create a vision board. I had no idea what this was, until I realised it was a modern term for what I’d been pretty much doing for decades- depicting innermost thoughts pictorially. Vision boards focus specifically on manifestation, that is, what you want to happen. So yes, making this was a little bit different from my usual drawing procedure, which aims to untangle and decipher emotions I am feeling at the time.
After flipping through the many magazines on the table, choosing and arranging images just so, each woman explained her vision board to the practitioner. She beat a rhythm on her clapping sticks as we walked through the labyrinth, that had been set up while we were working on our designs. We each had a tea light candle which we lit from a large candle in the centre of the labyrinth, symbolic of ‘lighting up our source’. We then walked out of the labyrinth, setting our candles down on an adjoining table. This symbolised ‘lighting up our dreams through intention and action’. By the end of the session thirty small candles surrounded the large one: that’s thirty dreams which had been set alight, had taken flight and put into cosmic action, through intentionally stating our intention to the Universe. It was most empowering!
A wonderful outcome of this group activity is how individual and unique each vision board was: after all, we all came from different life journeys and had different aspirations for what we wish to achieve at our particular stage of life.
My third profound labyrinth experience was at SacredEdge this year. Without fail, this healing festival has great experiences, always a little different from previous years.
One of the highlights this year was the labyrinth created from fishing rope and (battery-operated) tea light candles in open shells, set up on the grassy foreshore. After dinner we put on our thick coats and walked through the drizzling rain. It was dark, the rainclouds obscuring the moon and stars. The flickering tea light candles lit our way into the centre of the labyrinth, to the source of ethereal music: a harpist, with a harp lit by tiny LED lights on the inside of the top wood of his instrument. The eery effect was surreal and magical, and my soul seemed to extend out of my body, drawn towards this heavenly music within this otherwise-silent and meditative environment. Utterly profound!
My close friend and I sat down in the inner circle, closed our eyes and held hands, absorbing the beauty and serenity of it all. The harpist invited us to sit with our backs against the harp while he played- so we felt the vibrations as well as heard the gorgeous music. It was an experience difficult to put into words, because it was so elemental. Healing.
I expect I will find other labyrinths throughout my life. There are many out there, as I discovered after my first wonderful experience. I’ve taken the time to walk some of these on my own, enjoying a moment of private reflection. It’s a welcome break from the hurly-burly pace of life, which can be all-consuming and soul-destroying.
If you haven’t already experienced labyrinthine magic I encourage you to open yourself up to it. Apart from possibly looking kooky, there really is nothing to lose! And- if you allow yourself to surrender to the experience- you might just be surprised at its healing and empowering effect …