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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in labyrinths

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

All land has history – many millions of years of it – all natural places have living beings who reside there or pass through; all places have a landscape, an altitude, weather and seasons as well as a relationship to the four elements and all buildings have, as well as history, an intention or purpose informing them. Places can hold great resonances of emotion and just by being there we participate in it. Some locations gather layer upon layer of meaning, for example churches are often built on land, or on top of sites that were always considered sacred, as a method of colonising local religions. These places are often high points in the landscape with significant features of water, geography and relationship to the local spirits. Churches themselves are often majestic structures, containing art work of great beauty, reverence for the divine, interred bodies, memorials and the thousands of rituals that have occurred within them. Perhaps they also retain the whispers or cries of those who lived and worshipped here before this current building was constructed, from lineages that might stretch back untold generations.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Labyrinth---Grace-Cathedral-2019.jpg

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Walking the Labyrinth—A Path of Grace to the Inner Self

At Grace Cathedral on California Street in San Francisco, scholar Lauren Artress oversaw the installation of not one but two labyrinths. Sue Patton Thoele, author of The Woman’s Book of Soul, invited me to go there one fine day a few years ago. I remember squeezing it into my schedule, feeling hurried, and hoping it would not take more than half an hour or so. I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I know I am not the only busy life-juggler who has found herself surprised by the Sacred. When we got there, a magnificent stillness presided over the entire cathedral. We chose the indoor labyrinth instead of the outdoor one, as there was a distinct chill in the foggy air that day. We read the simple instructions and, as told, removed our shoes to tread the path in bare or stocking feet. For my part, I had already begun to calm down, thanks to the peaceful atmosphere. As I walked in the light of the stained glass shadows, my schedule started to seem petty. Suddenly it seemed as if I could give this just a little more time.

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Labyrinths

Labyrinths

The dictionary definition of a labyrinth is:

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    How easy a design is to make depends a lot on how big it is - the more circles there are, the harder it gets, and the more materia

b2ap3_thumbnail_carrom-balance-board.jpgHere's a bit of "belly magic" for you.

The story begins years ago, when I sprained my left ankle, really badly.

The chiropractor suggested I go to the physical therapy supply store and buy a wobble board. The idea was to step side-to-side on this miniature see-saw, a wooden plank perched upon a cylinder, strengthening the tendons in the ankle I had damaged.

b2ap3_thumbnail_balanceboard-1.pngReluctant to pay the high-end price for this gizmo, I stepped into the nearest toy store and found a toy balance board brightly colored in blue and red, complete with a built-in maze game, actually a simple labyrinth.

The Woman's Belly Book describes how labyrinths relate to the body's center, the belly's center:

The labyrinth defines a path into and out from center. As a sacred symbol, it maps a journey from the everyday world to the secret core of existence. It charts a path to the World Navel, the point through which the life force emerges to revitalize the world.

From ancient times, cultures throughout the world from the Arctic to Africa have made labyrinths in a variety of designs. The labyrinth appears on cave walls, stone slabs, grave markers, pottery, coins, and the bellies of clay figurines.... Although many associations accompany the design, in some traditions the labyrinth clearly signifies a woman’s belly. The path through the pattern traces the soul’s return to the womb and its emergence in rebirth.

I recently took my balance board out of its box to exercise my ankles and keep them flexible. Stepping side to side, I tried getting the game's yellow ball from the labyrinth's outer channel into the center. No matter how I tried, I couldn't do it. Swishing as it spun, the ball swung around too fast for me to maneuver it through the narrow gateway into the next inner circle.

So I gave up and just played around with initiating the side-to-side motion with different parts of my body: feet, knees, hips, shoulders. Left, right; left, right.

Left, right; left, right: Initiating the movement with my hips made the motion smooth, almost effortless.

Eventually, I no longer heard the sound of the yellow ball circling around. I looked down and saw the sphere had come to rest in the labyrinth's center. With absolutely no effort on my part.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Susan, thanks for your comment, and what wonderful work you're doing with labyrinths! And yes, I believe The Woman's Belly Book a
  • Susan Harper
    Susan Harper says #
    Thank you for this! As a longtime labyrinth walker, a labyrinth facilitator, I'm always looking for new ways to talk and think abo

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