Sunday, August 8, 2010

Labyrinthine Love

Labyrinths are cool! I walked my first one back in 2007 when I first went to Tejas Witch Camp in Central Texas. Since then I've found others and have even learned to lay out my own. There are several churches around Austin that have their own labyrinths and there is one laid out in bricks in the park near Palmer Auditorium near Downtown Austin. Each one is interesting.
Differing from mazes, a labyrinth has one path, you can't get lost. Most commonly, you start at a beginning, and wind up in the center after making several circuits around and back and forth in the pattern.
Two of the most often followed patterns are the "classical" and the "medieval, or Chartres Cathedral" styles.
Classical Labyrinth
Medieval Pattern
Either can be found in various places. The Classical is one of the most easy to lay out, and contains seven circuits. There are many, many, more patterns out there to explore. A friend of mine in East Austin has one in her yard that is in the shape of a hand, winding in and out of her garden and fruit orchard, outlined by colored wine bottles which she obtained from recyclers.
Labyrinths have many purposes, including fun and meditation. Kids and adults love to walk the pathways, winding back and forth, meeting and passing others again and again. It's a metaphor for life. It's been said, also, that the pathways of the labyrinth follow the paths of the mind. To walk the pattern in a meditative frame of mind, is to relax the mind, to explore the inner workings, to release tension and find meaning.
Many walkers find a peaceful, powerful connection at the center. From the first time I walked that first labyrinth, I sensed power at the turnings as well. In life, as in art, there is power inherent anywhere a change of direction is encountered. At the center is a stillpoint. All turnings have been made, all paths have been walked. Spirit and the sacred are within reach.
Labyrinth design is related to geomancy. The best labyrinths are laid out in relation to points of power located in the earth. In fact, labyrinth patterns can be found in many cultures around the world, dating back to antiquity before any of these cultures had contact with each other. Many of these are located on Ley lines, or points of psychic and/or earth energy.
The subject of Labyrinths is a very large one. They go back to antiquity, and have been adopted by many religions through the centuries.
Find one, walk it. Read more about them. Build one for yourself, or have someone like myself lay one out for you. Enjoy!

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