The Resurrection of Timeless Labyrinths
These arts & artforms are called “sacred” because they are to be approached with a clear intention of spiritual transformation. After the sacred art experience, the practitioner is no longer the same: an overall change, the seeding of a new direction, a series of insights, a special grace, an intuitive glimpse, an irrepressible smile... some transformation has occurred. And it is not just in the mind or of the mind: it is a wholistic, multi-dimensional change that can be hard to pin point but is nevertheless felt, during & after the experience, as a bodily sensation, an emotional response or a spirit presence. The field of awareness is actually affected in more ways that may immediately be apparent. The entire Being is in fact involved: this is Sacredness.
There is a key to this Sacredness and that is the Intention: to intensely desire a transformation, an answer, a solution, an insight, a new feeling... to be willing to move forward in life, in consciousness & in spirit. To be longing, like a lover, to enter the Great Mystery of Who We Are.
Any activity (or non-activity), anywhere, approached with that clear intention is “Sacred Art”. But there are time-honored and traditional (as well as “new”) ways to create, share and experience a sacred transformation.
Labyrinths are such a sacred artform. Amazingly, they are springing up all over: in people’s yards, on refrigerators' magnets, in public buildings, in parks, on the beach..., thus resurrecting an ancient ceremonial art and re-imprinting its etheric form.
Labyrinths can be found in all sacred cultures of the world, from the Hopi to the Australian Aborigines to the Christian cathedral builders. Like mandalas, labyrinths are archetypal collective symbols that transcend all cultures because they are grounded in consciousness itself. Labyrinths are non-denominational: people who walk labyrinths come from all life styles, religious backgrounds and spiritual practices.
an open invitation and a guide to encounter Who You Are
The best known example of labyrinth is embedded in the stone pavement of Chartres cathedral in France (12th century). It used to be “walked” (often on the knees) in place of the actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It was a holy experience.
If you walk the labyrinth with the full dedication of a pilgrim, you won’t be the same anymore upon exiting: the old “you” will be literally grounded and "peeled off" at the threshold stone and a purified “you” will emerge, eager to tackle new directions in your life’s journey.
The 11-ring labyrinth at Chartres
LINK: a wonderful explanation of the Chartres Laby pilgrimage
This shows the progressive re-acceptance of the sacred spirit power of this ceremonial artform. In fact, the entire city of Chartres is dedicated to the theme of the labyrinth: from designs in public parks to exhibits to experiential workshops...
Note the correspondences with the seven chakras, the seven colors , the seven musical notes etc...
For instance, the clockwise (sunwise) and counter-clockwise (moonwise) spins of the meanders map out a balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Walking them help to myelinate the neuronal pathways that bring about a better integration and synthesis of the brain polarities.
(really try it !!! It's fun with kids!!!)
The contemporary resurgence of labyrinths in the West is stemming from our deeply rooted urge to honor again the Sacredness of All Life. Indeed a labyrinth can be experienced as the birthing womb of the Great Goddess.
Thus, the labyrinth experience is a potent practice of Self-Integration as it encapsulates the spiraling journey in & out of incarnation: on the journey in, towards the center, one cleanses the “dirt from the road”. On the journey out, one is born anew to consciously dwell in a human body, made “holy” by having got a taste of the Infinite Center.
Within the StarWheel family, SW # 61 (“Labrys-13”) pictures a labyrinth.
“A 13-ring cross-labyrinth, the sacred path of pilgrimage - questing for the Inner Treasure. Your traveler’s staff is topped by a labrys, the double ax symbolizing the higher & lower natures of our being. Many pilgrims are lining up at the entrance: only one - the Real You - will successfully cross the threshold, in perfect alignment with the Pathway of Light, the cosmic axis of the spinal column. On either side of the center labyrinth, you can zoom in on many diverse encounters as you enter your inner journey and meander through your life’s experiences. On the way, one has a choice: to identify with the passsing objects of ego-satisfaction or to focus upon Realizing the Totality. This is an invitation to join the Pilgrimage, a daring journey from the outer edges of consciousness into the sanctuary of your own Holy Land - the Self, the center of Consciousness.”
Beautiful Sedona, Arizona, is offering a variety of labyrinths. Below are pictures of labyrinths Aya and the StarWheel Foundation helped to co-create in the Sedona area.
Cretan-type labyrinth (7 rings) #1
Lodge at Sedona. 928-204-1942
Cretan-type labyrinth (7 rings) #2
Lodge at Sedona. 928-204-1942
Chartres-type labyrinth (11 rings) #1
Angel Valley Retreat Center
Chartres-type labyrinth (11 rings) #2
Angel Valley Retreat Center
Chartres-type (11 rings) Labyrinth at Mago Ranch.
Village of Oak Creek, Sedona, AZ.
Custom-designed 9 rings Cretan-type Labyrinth.
Sedona Sanctuary Center. Cornville, AZ.
if you would like to create a labyrinth in the Sedona area
“Veriditas” is the site of Lauren Artress who created the now-famous Chartres-type labyrinth at the Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco. Includes a “Labyrinth Locator” to world-wide labyrinth resources.
A wealth of great info & resources on geomancy, labyrinths, sacred sites, archaeoastronomy and dowsing. Run by Sig Lonegren. Many links.
Sig has also published an excellent and comprehensive book called “Labyrinths” (Gothic Image -1991).
St. Louis Labyrinth Project:
Labyrinth hub site by pioneer labyrinth maker Robert Ferre. Info, links, products, tours to Chartres etc... Robert & the St Louis Project have created over 500 labyrinths.
Several versions of Chartres Labyrinth + many laby products.
The labyrinth at Benton Castle:
A very interesting dowsing & geomancy on-going study by Sig Lonegren of the Chartres-style labyrinth at Benton Castle (England). Learn how labyrinths attract water domes (yin) and energy ley lines (yang), thus forming a complete circuit.
"Labyrinth 101". A beautiful introduction to Labyrinths with many pics.