President, Alpha Institute
Women’s Circle Facilitator
Rachel Lord RN, CMT, MH
Women’s Circle Facilitator
We Continue our Symbol Series…
The Symbol of the Labyrinth
A LABYRINTH is a combination of a circle and spiral, plus some. It dates back to ancient Egypt, maybe earlier. It has been used in Pagan, Christian and other traditions and is gaining renewed popularity today!
A CONVERSATION ON LABYRINTHS
- Labyrinths Are: Combinations of circles and spirals. They go back and forth and around. They are an expanding and a contracting spiral with a circular center.
- Dr Lauren Artress from Walking a Sacred Path says that labyrinths are “universal patterns most likely created in the realm of the collective unconscious, birthed in the human psyche and passed down through the ages.”
- Seven or Eleven Circuits. This refers to the number of concentric circles that lead in or out from the center. Chartres Cathedral has eleven. Older, Pagan ones usually have seven.
- Not a Maze: But often confused with one. A labyrinth has only one way in and one way out. One path. Unicursal. You can’t get lost. No worries.
- Various Uses: Form of meditation, spiritual journey, sacred path.
- Labyrinths are Metaphors for: A pilgrimage; a journey; a body prayer; a sacred space; a path.
- Walking a Labyrinth: The journey can be dream-like, meditative, fun. One can sing, dance, chant, pray, skip. No set way to experience it. No rules here.
- Sexual Connotation: The womb, the female body. The intestines or center of the Earth Mother.
- Various Interpretations: The center is the moment of death and rebirth. The Crusades used it as a symbol of their journey to the Holy Land.
LABYRINTHS THROUGHOUT HISTORY AND PRE-HISTORY
- Oldest: Found on a rock carving at Luzzanas in Sardinia and dates back from 2500 to 2000 B.C.E.
- Minoan Crete: Very famous one.
- Appears at Sacred Sites World-Wide: In churches, mosques, temples. Carved, traced on ground.
- Appears on Artifacts and Body Art: You see labyrinths on pottery, baskets, etched on walls of caves and churches, as tattoos and body paint. The Romans put designs on floors and walls in tile or mosaic.
- Medieval Chartres Cathedral in Southern France: Inlaid on the floor. Has eleven circuits, completely symmetrical. Built somewhere between ll94 and 1220. From the tradition of the Knights Templar.
- Hopi Indians: Called it the “Mother Earth “ symbol (like the Kivas)
“Is it a Maze or Isn’t It?"
The Word “Labyrinth” has Greek Roots
- The “labyrinthos” was designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos to hold the ferocious half man-half bull Minotaur. The Minotaur was killed by the Greek hero Theseus.
- The Story Unfolds: Although the labyrinth was not a maze, in the Greek myth, it’s path was so complicated that the Minotaur could not find his way out and was thus, trapped inside. Theseus outfoxed the Minotaur by trailing a skein of thread so he could find his way out again.
- Labyrinths vs. Mazes: Due to the above story, the labyrinth has been associated with complicated puzzle-like mazes. Confusion reigned.
- Eventually: A labyrinth became a one way in, one way out labyrinth again, not a maze. The symbol was printed on Cretan coins as early as 430 B.C. as a 7 circuit unicursal, non-puzzle “Classical” labyrinth.
- Renaissance: The “Age of Enlightenment” complicated the issue again with the introduction of garden mazes and hedges. So much for clarity and “enlightenment”.
LABYRINTHS vs MAZES
“Right Brain-Left Brain”
- Right Brain: The Labyrinth. This involves intuition, creativity, imagery and a passive mind.
- Labyrinths have One Choice Only: The choice to enter. To choose a spiritual path.
- Left Brain: The Maze. This involves decisions and problem-solving. An active, analytical mind is needed to find your way and solve the problem of getting to the center and out.
- Mazes have Many Choices: Mind must remain active to decide which way to go.
LABYRINTH ENERGY AND USE
- Going within, getting to heart of the matter.
- Useful for decision-making (going back and forth, weighing options).
- Meditation, Spiritual journey, a Sacred Path.
- Clearing the mind and getting guidance. Somewhat like a Mandela.
- Historically used in group ritual and private mediation.
- Relates to “Wholeness”. A journey to our own center and back again out into the world.
- An Archetype: A metaphor for life’s journey.
WHERE CAN I FIND A LABYRINTH TO WALK?
“All Around Town”
In The Denver-Metro Area:
You’d be amazed at how many there are. You don’t have to go to France or Greece (unless you want to).
Bethany Lutheran Church
4500 East Hampden Avenue
Cherry Hill Colorado 80113
Here is a List of a Few More:
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
Denver, Colorado 80206
Contact: Catherine Forington
Arvada United Methodist Church
6750 Carr Street
Arvada, Colorado 80004
The Sanctuary -
Take I25 south to Happy Canyon. Exit right (west) to Santa Fe. Right on Santa Fe (Hwy 85) to Sedalia. Left on Hwy 37 (Mainhart Rd). Cross 2 railroad tracks. Turn left on Hwy 105 to Wolfensberger Rd. Turn left. Sanctuary is on corner of 105 & Wolfensberger Rd.
Unity Church of Denver
3021 South University Blvd.
Denver, Colorado 80210
Contact: Tricia Morris
Experience the Energy of the Labyrinth
- Find a Labyrinth and Walk It: As you do, be mindful of your life. Envision life’s goals. Walk to your destiny: the center. How did you feel? What did you experience? Do it alone or with a special friend-partner. Is there a difference?
- Journal Your Labyrinth Experiences: Walk the same one more that once. Try different ones. Do you like a 7 circuit or 11 circuit one best? Why?
- If You Can’t Go to One, Trace a Labyrinth with your Finger:
Some of our References:
STORYTELLING THROUGH THE GIVEAWAY
Sunday October 24, 2010
1 pm - 4:30 pm $20
Connect With Other Wise Women
Join In Ceremony with Drums and Rattles!
- STORY TELLING The oral tradition has been a way of passing on wisdom and history since the beginning.
- THE GIVEAWAY was the first recycling program - a way of sharing and passing along something of value that no longer serves.
- WE WILL COMBINE THE TWO: We will re-gift our sisters with an object that symbolizes what we wish to release or no longer need and then tell its story.
- We will use ceremony and group energy to explore both traditions and to redistribute our lessons.
- The circle has been a natural way for women to gather since the beginning.
- BRING: A wrapped gift that helps tell your story; a drum or rattle for sacred ceremony. (We have extra instruments.)
Andrea Lord, Women’s Circle Facilitator, Reiki Practitioner
Rachel Lord, RN, CMT, Master Herbalist
Old Hampden Holistic Center
3501 S. Corona St., #1
Englewood, CO 80113
To Sign Up:
A Women’s Circle at 720-530-2834