What comes to mind when you hear the word Labyrinth? Perhaps a confusing maze, the monstrous Minotaur, David Bowie stealing Jennifer Connelly’s baby brother in the midst of Muppet creatures, or maybe even Jack Nicholson with an axe! YIKES!!!!!
Maybe the prospect of navigating a convoluted path to the center of your being is a bit frightening, as these popular references would attest. Maybe so, but well worth it.
Firstly, let’s dispel a myth. A labyrinth is different from a maze. In a maze, you can get lost. In a labyrinth, there is only one pathway which leads to the core. Twists and turns abound, but you can rest assured that you will reach your destination if you keep moving forward.
Why undertake the journey?
It symbolizes the hero’s, or more accurately the heroine’s, journey. The hero Theseus slays the Minotaur. He is brave and takes an active role in slaying the beast. Is it not equally brave to enter the subterranean strata of life in the first place? Most of us avoid the messy, confusing, sometimes painful netherworld of our emotional experience. That is until we are forced into it by circumstances such as pain, disability, and relationship ruptures. And don’t forget that Ariadne’s thread helped Theseus out of the confusion. This symbolizes acquisition of soul knowledge and attests to the power of helping relationships while we traverse the depths.
We can willingly enter the labyrinth. . .
We can let go to experience what is naturally experienced rather than conforming to the expectations of social contracts and roles. What are the natural reactions to not knowing how you will get to the destination but knowing that you will, to slowing down with allowance to be led, and to feeling the ebb and flow of time and circumstance with less focus on the goal? The answers to these questions yield insight into life’s journey and mirror “real world” situations.
Walking, finger drawing, and constructing labyrinths are deeply meditative and accessible to all. Chances are there is a walking labyrinth not too far from where you live; you don’t have to travel to Paris/Chartres Cathedral. Check into it. Finger or stylus labyrinths are also meaningful and readily available.
You can also make or draw your own.
It can be tough to know who you are, where you are, what you need in a world of constant input through electronics and social media. A labyrinth can be a quick and easy antidote for “orientation” to our authentic selves. After all, our inner self-referencing guidance system, i.e. the inner ear, is called a labyrinth.
This material was created during a solar eclipse, which is also a time of inner reflection when the light is momentarily occluded (somewhere in the world). We can harness this energy for our benefit to find out who we are, where we are, and what we need in a larger sense if we take time for contemplation during a natural cycle of introspection.
A celebration of this spatial representation of the journey of life, dubbed “World Labyrinth Day,” will take place on May 7, 2022. With the intention of connection, collaboration, and peace, thousands of people around the world will walk and/or trace a labyrinth at 1pm in their own time zone for a “Moving Meditation,” moving bodies in rolling waves of time zones around the globe. Please consider joining. . .