I have always been fascinated by labyrinths and mazes, I find them deeply magical! They have a very long history with the first recorded one dating back to ancient Egypt from where the concept would appear to have made its way to Greece and later Rome. It was adopted into Christian symbology in the middle ages and various religions work with it in some form as a universal figure of faith.
The labyrinth is often interpreted as a symbol death and rebirth. People walking it can let go of whatever they need to let go of on the way in, renew in the centre and return with a fresh perspective. It’s also a powerful symbol for life itself: I remember walking a large Chartres style labyrinth with 3 or 4 others joining the walk over time, meeting along the way, standing in each other’s way, walking side by side for a bit, drifting apart and meeting again…what a beautiful way to illustrate human relationships.
Walking a labyrinth can create a sense of “otherworldliness”, lifting you out of normal space and time, which lends itself to gaining intuitive insights. The path might be disorienting and it will seem at times like you are not really going where you want to go, drifting further away instead, but then, suddenly, you arrived at the centre. As long as you keep going you can get there, and your feet somehow know this.
If you are interested in labyrinths, here two recommendations for further exploration:
Lyn Brandwood has written a lovely booklet packed full of ideas how to construct and work with labyrinths, may they be small finger labyrinths or larger scale ones.
There is also an interesting exhibition coming up at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford in February next year. I will definitely go and report back!
This is going to be my final blog post for this year. It has been an interesting project but I have to be realistic, I don’t really have the time for frequent posts and I also think the medium of a blog is probably a bit old school nowadays. I will start an Instagram group for our open ritual group as my next project and see how that goes. Blog posts will continue but less frequently.
Have a good ’23!