WANT TO KNOW KNOW MORE ABOUT LABYRINTHS?
A labyrinth is a unicursal path - one winding path, leading from the entrance to the center. It's different from a maze, which is a puzzle. Labyrinths, both ancient and modern, have been found in many different cultures including Cretan, Minoan, Celtic, Indian, Scandinavian, Egyptian, ancient Peruvian. It seems that labyrinths are always used in sacred manner, whether they are small rock art carvings or large walking meditations. To the Hopi People, the labyrinth is a symbol of Mother Earth. The meander symbol, on which the labyrinth is based, is energetically connected to water, and has a tendency to attract underground water. I find that the plants in my garden are larger and more lush than usual, because of the energies created and held by the labyrinth.
The labyrinth pattern you see on these pages is sometimes called the 7-circuit classical labyrinth, often called the Cretan Labyrinth, and is at least 3200 years old. On Glastonbury Tor (seen below), in England, there is a winding path, which is almost certainly a three-dimensional labyrinth of this same pattern. Legend has it that the entrance to GwynApNud is along one of the paths. It is also believed that this Tor is on the mystical Isle of Avalon.
At the center of my herb gardens, there is a labyrinth which I use for walking meditation. At the center of the labyrinth is a beautiful stone sculpture by Jo Israelson, entitled Omphalos. Here is a photo (I apologize for the quality of the picture) of Jo (on the right) & me installing the sculpture early one spring, so that there were only a few plants. We used wooden planks on large wooden dowels to slowly move the 500 pound stone sculpture into place. Ancient ingenuity!
Omphalos is the name of the oracle stone in the Temple of the Womb, at Delphi, where the priestesses sat during special rituals to channel messages from the Goddess for their communities. The word "Omphalos" means the navel, or hub, of the world or universe, and is therefore the center of the living body of the Goddess.
UUCL Labyrinth Tour Sunday, April 26, 2009 from 2-4pm
Quite a few years ago, I put a lot of effort into establishing a labyrinth committee at the Unitarian church here in Lancaster. We painted a Chartres Cathedral style labyrinth on a 40 foot square canvas, that is still used there. Later we has a seven-circuit Cretan style labyrinth inlaid in the floor in one of the rooms on the lower floor. I'm no longer active there, but the labyrinth committee is still going strong, holding monthly walks on the first Sunday afternoon of each month. This year, the labyrinth committee is organizing their second annual tour of local labyrinths on the afternoon of Sunday, April 26, and once again, they will be visiting my garden & walking the labyrinth here. It should be full of lots of new green life by then. If you'd like to get more information & register for this tour, you can call 717-393-1733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to arrange a visit to the labyrinth and gardens, you may email me. If you live somewhere too far away to visit my labyrinth, and would like to find a labyrinth near you, you can use the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator, sponsored by The Labyrinth Society. Several years ago, I wrote an article which was published in Reclaiming Quarterly magazine, entitled Labyrinths: Walking Between the Worlds. You can click on the link to the article, or go later to my Musings & Articles page to read the article. If you are interested in reading more about labyrinths, there are quite a few books available now. My favorite basic labyrinth workbook is a wonderful book written by Sig Lonegren, Labyrinths; Ancient Myths and Modern Uses. This book is often out of print, so if you can find a copy, count yourself fortunate! We do our best to keep it in stock in the shop.