THE EVER-SO-SACRED LABYRINTH
When visiting Tulumm Mexico earlier this year, after spending time exploring the Mayan ruins, I spontaneously attended a Temazcal ritual, a traditional native shamanic ceremony in which participants sit in a stone cave intending to honor the four elements of the earth, while the shamen load in piles of fiery volcanic stones, making it unbearably hot.
Before the ceremony they asked us all a question.
“What is your wish? Your desire? Your intention?” They asked.
“I want to wake up every day remembering I have nothing to do but walk this giant labyrinth I have been gifted.” I replied.
“That while sometimes I may feel like I don’t know where I am or where I am going, I should remember I am always on my path:
The path of power, of strength, of enlightenment.”
I am generally quite strong in my opinion that there is only one thing we can ever wish for: to remain in the awareness of our brilliance, knowing that the place we are right now and the things we are receiving are exactly those we need in that moment.
There are truly no mistakes.
Labyrinths have been used throughout history to remind us exactly of that, and the mystery of how the same symbol has existed across so many various cultures, from the ancient Egyptians, to the Hindu, the Cretans, to the Mayans, even then medieval Catholics, is not only one of the world’s greatest, but also proof that ancient schools of knowledge were all connected somehow. At times by messengers who traveled the world sharing wisdom, but also from the “downloads” they received from the source being.
So what is a labyrinth?
First of all, it is important to differentiate it from a maze.
While a maze has many entrances and many exits and you can get lost or arrive at a dead end, a labyrinth has only one entrance and one exit meaning there is only one path and it is always the right one.The visitor has no choices to make other than traveling onward through the winding pattern to an assured goal. The labirynth will lead the participant first inward, then (deceptively) outward, but it will always arrive at its goal.
The best-known type is the seven-circuit Cretan pattern pictured above, the seven circuits of the corresponding with the seven spheres of the sacred planets, the seven principles of the human being and the cosmos, the seven days of the week, and other such seven-fold meanings.
Bit of history.
Historically, it is hard to point out exactly where the labyrinth comes from.
It was believed by the Mayans and many other ancient civilisations, that the labyrinth is a structure or pattern that exists in our mind.Therefore, it would have been born with humanity. However the earliest reported labyrinth was a two-story stone building in Egypt, described by the Greek historian Herodotus.
Labirynths can be seen as a sort of game, but the Hindu also believed that the the universe is a game. Therefore one of the purposes of the labyrinth is to remind us not to take life to seriously, to remember that we are bigger than whatever we face.
Meaning and impact
Passing to the center of the labyrinth and returning to its circumference represents the involution and evolution of the universe, the coming into birth and the passing out of earthly life of an individual, and--most important--a journey into the center of our own being, the achievement there of a quest for wholeness, and the subsequent return to our divine source.
The winding pattern of any labyrinth also represents the circulation of vital energies within our bodies, and that pattern suggests the convolutions of the brain and the intestines--two poles of our body corresponding to our consciousness and its physical vehicle. To traverse the labyrinth is to bring into one wholeness all parts of our being. Walking the labyrinth is thus a type of Yoga.
As well, the ritual of spiritual ascension involves an alchemical process whereby the seeker interacts with a sacred site and learns to harmonize the masculine and feminine within.
Since it is not always convenient for a pilgrim to experience sacred space, walking a labyrinth serves a similar purpose. A kind of short cut, if you like.
In Europe in the Middle Ages spirituality was repressed, travel was dangerous, therefore the builders of the cathedral built labyrinths to teach the curious how to experience God.
A meditative walk of a labyrinth has been proven to elicit a certain psycho-spiritual effect, much like transcendental meditation. The peregrination serves to unite the left and right hemispheres of the brain, in effect eliciting that sacred marriage sought by adepts of the Mysteries. By the time they reach the centre, the individual is in a state of balance as well as a state of heightened perception. It has been noted how building a labyrinth attracts underground water veins to the site, and in the case of Chartres cathedral, the famous 11 circuit labirynth pictured below, the electromagnetic charge generates a corresponding effect on the electromagnetic human being standing upon it.
So we have seen above how important a labyrinth can be for our growth and development.
So how do we bring one of these in our home?
The ideal way of course is to build a labyrinth on the ground outdoors using flat coloured stones, as was done in ancient temples.
Second to that would be to have a room with a labyrinth on the floor.
It can either be done in tiles or printed on vinyl or on a rug.
You could also do what I did and draw a labyrinth in chalk on the roof top outdoor terrace. See image below.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for the owner to ask the handyman clean it off.
An easy way to start harnessing the power of the labyrinth is to simply have a labyrinth artwork at home printed. A great practise is to simply spend a few minutes doing the journey by running your fingers on it.
Quick way to get started:
download the labyrinth file I have included below and print it in A4 or A3.
Take a moment to sit and connect.
Connect to an intention you would like to manifest, and begin the journey.
Intend to hold that intention as you pass by each of the circuits.
Each of the 7 circuits, representing 7 planets, also holds an intention of its own which you can embody as you walk it.
- The first circuit is desire, for the planet mars and the day Tuesday.
- The second, for self-identity, the planet Jupiter and Thursday
- The third the empirical mind, the planet Saturn and th eday Saturday.
- The fourth, vitality, representing the sun and the day Sunday
- The fifth form, representing the moon and Monday
- The sixth intuition, representing mercury and Wednesday
- And the seventh representing pure mind, venus and Friday
The labirynth philosophy is one which can truly expand beyond a simple artwork and a home and become a new way of living and reaching your highest fulfilment.
Give it a go by downloading the file below. And ENJOY!
Below a video I shot when visiting the pyramid of the labyrinth in Oxkintok Yucatan.