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A labyrinth is a right brain intuitional tool.
The maze is a left-brain analytical puzzle.
The main point about a maze is that there's choice. All along the way, there's choice.
The only choice a labyrinth gives you is if you want to go in or not.
Another difference: Most Mazes have high walls So you can't tell where you are. Labyrinths have low walls So you always know where you are.
|Longleat, an estate of Lord Bath in South-west England has the biggest hedge maze in the world.|
Out on the Scilly Islands off the SouthWest coast of Cornwall in England, there is the island of St. Agnes, where a well known labyrinth is found. As you can see in the photo of Sig to the left, it had fallen into a maze. You can see that it had been a classical seven circuit labyrinth, but because the walls had been kicked out of line, both the outer rings and the goal area had fallen into disrepair.
Since this photo was taken, the land owner asked several reputable dowsers to dowse how it had originally been, and to repair it. The St Agnes classical seven circuit labyrinth is now back in its original condition, and is no longer a maze, but once again, a labyrinth.
Note in the labyrinth above, on a small barren island in the Stockholm Archipelago, how easily the stones can be kicked out of place.
A clear example of a labyrinth to maze transition occurred out on Norsten, also in the Stockholm Archipelago, where at the turn of this century, there had been fishing camps with men who used labyrinths daily before going fishing. Now, the seed pattern and plan are forgotten, the walls fall apart, and mazes like this are the result.
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This link above will take you to a page on The Labyrinth Society that Jeff Saward and I originally had on Mid-Atlantic Geomancy that gave/gives examples of many different types of labyrinths. When/if you click on the above link, it will take you to a new window on your browser. After you've checked the different types out, please return to MAG, and continue your journey through these Earth Mysteries.
Incidentally, The Labyrinth Society is an international society dedicated to spreading the word about these ancient single-path magical tools. You might consider joining. Go to < http://labyrinthsociety.org>.
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The Glastonbury Tor Labyrinth
No matter how you look at it…
...from far or near this natural hill (that's what "Tor" means) in Glastonbury, Somerset, England is magic.
The Glastonbury Tor is on a geomantic corridor that was found by John Michell called The Michael Line that runs through England from St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, up through a number of Michael Churches including Brent Tor in Dartmoor, Burrowbridge Mump, Glastonbury Tor, Avebury stone ring, and other sacred spots to the northeast. (This is also the alignment that Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst followed with their dowsing of the Michael and Mary Lines in The Sun and the Serpent. This alignment, sometimes called the Beltane Alignment, because it aligns with the Beltane (May Day) sunrise, also aligns (in the opposite direction to the SouthWest) with the Samhain (Halloween) sunset. Notice how well the two Gothic arches that are the doors on the major axis of the tower align up with the setting Sun.
But there are other things about this magical hill that have attracted attention.
It's the terracing.
Some see a labyrinth here.
And the Tor on the Millennium Eve
They were placed on the terracing, and clearly demonstrate its spiral or labyrinthine nature
In the nineteen-sixties, Geoffrey Russel first postulated that there was a three-dimensional classical seven circuit labyrinth superimposed on the Glastonbury Tor. Since then, others like Geoffrey Ashe and Kathy Jones have written books about this labyrinth. To this day, archaeologists claim that it isn't there. To this day, those who have walked it gnow differently.
The mouth of the labyrinth is to the southwest. If you come up the trail that begins near the Chalice Well and the White Spring, it begins at the two stones above the first bench in the Tor field proper. With terrestrial features like this, one moves in to the realms of Hermann Rorschach's inkblot tests. What you see is what is there. This is uniquely the reality of those on the spiritual path - and of the Glastonbury Tor Labyrinth.
There are different visions about how this three dimensional labyrinth. Some show the labyrinth more clearly, others are more faithful to the actual topography, all are beautiful. Here is Jeff Saward's vision:
Here is a three dimensional representation of the labyrinth drawn by Kathy Jones. It comes from her latest book, in The Nature of Avalon: Goddess Pilgrimages in Glastonbury's Sacred Landscape. There is an entire chapter entitled "Ariadne's Tor Labyrinth Pilgrimage" dedicated to describing the path one takes when walking this amazing three-dimensional labyrinth.
The Meander Pattern, or Greek Key, goes back way into our prehistoric past. Marija Gimbutas found this meander pattern on the figurine on the left in the Ukraine dated at 15,000 to 18,000 BCE!
|Bird Godesses of Old Europe||Meander/Greek Key||Meander to Labyrinth Fan|
The labyrinth has ancient roots. I was struck by the similarity of these two:
(No actual connection implied)
New Labyrinth in Town!
The Glastonbury Tercentennial Labyrinth
Built to celebrate the three-hundredth year since Queen Ann gave Glastonbury our Town Charter in 1705,and to commemorate four important Saints on our town's history: Mary, Bridget, Dunstan and Joseph of Arimathea. This labyrinth is open to the public, and can be found on the High Street in front of the Church.
I want to thank Kathy Jones for permission to use her drawing of the Tor Labyrinth. Please check out Kathy's web site, The Goddess in Glastonbury
Heather Hoon, MAG Graphic Artist, created several of the Tor Labyrinth drawings in this section. Kevin Redpath took several of the photos of the Tor.
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Mogor Labyrinth in Gallatia, northwestern Spain ±2000 BCE
One of the oldest known labyrinths in the world
Labyrinths are found all over the world. The earliest ones we know of so far are in Gallatia in northwestern Spain; however they can be found from Indonesia to Peru, from Arizona in the USA to Sweden, where the largest concentration of older labyrinths can be found.
On the following pages are samples of these magical single-path tools from around our planet.Write comment (0 Comments)
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There really is only one rule when using a labyrinth: THERE ARE NO RULES!! Just as each person approached their spiritual path slightly differently so is it with labyrinths. You canliterally put your heel just infront of the toe of your other foot and walk it unbelieveably slowly.
On the other hand, kids love to run them. Monks used to crawl them on their knees. They can always be walked in silent meditation,
I have found that when they are used consciously, with a method of utilizing each path or each saection for a different purpose, labyrinths become a powerful problem solving device or spiritual tool.
In this section, we will offer several ways of using labyrnths consciously.
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Locating & Building Your Permanent Labyrinth
|If you cannot see the animated dowser to the right, you will need to install Adobe's Flash player to be able to see a number of illustrations in the rest of this section.|
Location, Location, Location
Now that you know how you might use one, how do you go about locating and building one in your back yard (or anywhere you might have the space)? While I would hasten to add, there is no correct way to do this, here is how I would go about it. (If you do not yet dowse, please check out our Dowsing Section. You will need this skill.)
Begin by going to the place where you actually have enough room to build one. You will need your dowsing rods, a tape measure and some sticks to mark various places, plus all of the various tools you will need to make the labyrinth of your choice - you might want to make the walls with rocks or cut a turf labyrinth for example.
For the purposes of this exercise, let's say that you want to build a Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth. Mine in Vermont is about twenty-two feet (approx. 6.5 meters) across. This is absolutely as small as you should make one, and if a number of people will be using it at once, I'd make it closer to thirty feet (approx. 9 meters) in diameter, or bigger still if you have the space.
Sig's Turf Labyrinth in Vermont in Winter
Sig's Labyrinth in the Summer
Let's quickly review the basic terms we are going to use.
The first thing I would do, would be to speak through my pendulum to the Spirit of that Place - every place on Earth has its local genius loci, or spirit. Tell it what you have in mind, ask if it is ok to build a labyrinth there, and I would offer the spirit something - pennies in a holy well are a remnant of this idea - offer what feels right - a penny, a flower, some of your spit - your essence -so the Spirit will know how to find you if the space is misused.
The process of locating a labyrinth requires both left and right brain activity. When you have permission, next thing to do is to gain a clear understanding of exactly how much room you have. Here is a plan of a back yard that we will use for this exercise:
Let's say you want to make your turf labyrinth with a diameter of twenty-five feet (8 meters +/-). This would give a radius of twelve and a half feet - let's call it thirteen feet (4 meters +/-).
This means that within the space you have chosen, the goal of the labyrinth can not be closer than thirteen feet (4 meters) to the edge of the space. Mark this more limited space with sticks (in the illustration, with a dotted line.
|The labyrinth must have its goal (middle) somewhere within this smaller area. Otherwise, the entire labyrinth wouldn't fit in the space available. Of course, the goal of the labyrinth can be closer to the centre of your lawn - just not further out.|
In Mid-Atlantic Geomancy (MAG), we talk about energy leys and underground water as being found at the center of any sacred space. The probabilities are that while there might be a vein or two of primary water under your available space; very possibly there will be no energy ley. If there is such a power center within your smaller area you have defined, by all means, locate the goal there; however, as you very well might not have these Earth Energies in your back yard, you need to dowse for the best place in that space *for you* to have the goal of this labyrinth. Unless you are already skilled at working with them, don't worry about the Earth Energies.
The important thing is what's the best place for you!
This is done by dowsing and triangulation. Stand anywhere within the smaller space you have defined with one L rod out in the search position. (We'll call this "Point A.") Say to your rod, "I want you to point to the best spot for me to locate the goal of my labyrinth." Note that line.
Now go to any other point on the lawn within the allowable space for your labyrinth, (Point "B") and do the same thing again. Say to your rod, "I want you to again point to the best spot for me to locate the goal of my labyrinth." Turn around slowly. The L rod will seem to stick in one direction. Note that line.
Where the two lines cross is the point where you need to locate the goal of your labyrinth.
Dowsing for the goal from Point B
Locating the Mouth/Entrance Of Your Labyrinth
There is no right way of doing this. One thing to be clear about, although it could, you don't necessarily want to put the mouth of the labyrinth so that it is oriented to the back door of your house - i.e. the shortest distance from the house! That's your left brain speaking. The only group of labyrinths that I know of that have a specific location is that many Viking age labyrinths are oriented to the Summer Solstice Sunset, but really, you have a number of different choices.
You can choose to orient the mouth in the direction of a significant horizonal feature like a round barrow on a nearby hill, a mountain peak, or a church spire. You can orient it in one of the Cardinal Directions using a compass and correcting for magnetic deviation. You can orient it towards the Summer or Winter Solstice Sunrise or Set. If you want to do this, check out MAG's Orthographic Projection section. Or, you can let your intuition find the best orientation. Stand in the goal and say, "I want the best orientation for the mouth of this labyrinth." Just as with triangulation, turn around slowly with one L rod in the search position.
The L rod will seem to stick in one direction. Have a friend mark that direction with another stick. You now have the information to locate and orient your labyrinth.
|Starting at point C, the dowser seeks the most appropriate direction for the mouth of the labyrinth.||The labyrinth in the garden.|
Building your labyrinth
Now to build it. Let's say that you happen to have a lot of fist to head-sized rocks, so you're going to mark the walls with them. First lay out the center cross of the seed pattern so that it aligns with the major axis, or orientation that you have already chosen.
You then need to figure out how wide your paths will be and how much space your walls (the rocks will take). Find a stick with a branch that goes off at roughly a 90 degree angle, and make one length what ever width you want. You might consider using a cubit - the length from your elbow to the tip of your extended middle finger for the width.
Holding the stick like a golf club, you can then use it to measure the width of all of the paths. Using your "cubit club," lay out the "L's" in each of the four quadrants, and then the four dots. I think it's easiest to go this far using yarn and sticks.
When I've gotten this far, cover lines, angles and dots in the yarn seed pattern with rock walls.
Again, using your "cubit club," to measure the width, build all of the other walls just as you would do with pencil and paper. You can use this same technique to dig out a turf labyrinth. You can choose to dig the paths or the walls and leave the other grass/turf. I dug the path out with mine, and have filled it with bark chips. Nice on the feet, keeps down the weeds, and most important, by raising your blade a notch or two, you can mow it with your lawn mower!
No matter what kind of materials you use to make your labyrinth - up to and including paving stones - it will need maintenance. Rock walled labyrinths need weed whacking, turf labyrinths need weeding and mowing, paved ones will shift, and weeds will grow up between the stones, etc. Know this before you begin. Maintenance is built in part of the obligation you incur when building a sacred space like this - otherwise, unlike a stone circle, dolmen or temple, it will very quickly disappear.But used regularly with love, a permanent outdoor labyrinth will bring you a lifetime of growth. If you have any questions or if you encounter any difficulties, please contact Sig.
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Where Are Labyrinths Found?
The oldest positively dated labyrinth is from 1230 BCE (plus/minus). It comes from King Nestor's Palace in Phylos, Greece. Nestor was at Troy with King Priam. There are many Trojan connections with the labyrinth. In Northern Europe, many labyrinths are called 'Walls of Troy' or, in Swedish, 'Trojeborg' (Trojan fort), or in Welsh 'Caerdroia' - the castle or turns of Troy (droia). And while many labyrinth myths speak of a male energy in the labyrinth (Theseus and the Minotaur in Crete, and the Man In The Maze in the South Western USA), there is evidence that the labyrinth's connection with the Earth Mother goes much further back into prehistory.
These single-path magical mazes are found around the globe from China to Arizona, USA, from Peru to Sweden. Here are a few examples:
The O'dham People of Southern Arizona, USA, made this "Man In The Maze" pattern. If you look at it upside down, it is a right-handed classical seven-circuit labyrinth - it just adds a turn toward the center at each turn.
There is a Gothic cathedral at Chartres in France that has a rather complicated labyrinth laid in the floor of the nave. You can see that it divides up into four quadrants. Each has seven sharp turns. It is analogous to four classical seven-circuits woven together. This Chartres-type labyrinth is very popular among innovative Christians in USA nowadays.
Notice the 'loading pattern' of the Chartres labyrinth. The inner left-hand half is filled first, followed by the inner right-hand half, then the outer left-hand and finally the outer right-hand half.
Labyrinths are enjoying a resurgence in the United States. There are groups around the world working with labyrinths and building them. This one (below) is in Sig's yard in Greensboro, Vermont, USA. Jamie George and Francis Howard-Gordon from Glastonbury, helped him build it in the Summer of 1986.
|See the Goddess in the center of the labyrinth looking to the left
with her arms stretched out, and her hair swirling round her.
For more information on where they can be found, go to Old Labyrinths.
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How To Make a Labyrinth
I know this is cyberspace, but I beg you to draw some labyrinths with paper and pencil (you remember those crude stick-like writing implements?). The construction of a labyrinth is a lesson in sacred geometry. If you do it just with your brain and not with your hand, you won't really gnow what it is all about. Please draw this labyrinth at least ten times! Look for the feeling you get when you draw a labyrinth and that point when you don't have to think about it any more, and your hand gnows what to do 'by itself'. Gnowing is consciously using both your analytical/left-brain and your intuitive/right-brain assets equally.
Building a Classical Seven-Circuit Labyrinth
Begin by drawing the seed pattern seen in the upper left-hand corner of this illustration. Always start at the top of the cross, and either go clockwise or counter-clockwise. In this case, a line is drawn clockwise to the first available dot or line-end that you can hook on to is the top of the 'L' in the upper right-hand corner. From the top of the 'L' in the upper right hand corner, lift your pencil and go to its mirror on the left-hand side of the seed pattern - the top of the mirror 'L' in the upper left-hand corner. And then draw around to the dot in the upper right-hand quadrant, and so on. Please get a pen and some paper and try this now. Please! It's important!
Right- and Left-handed Labyrinths
Right-Handed Labyrinth (first turn is to the right).
Left-handed Labyrinth (first turn is to the left.)
You have already drawn a left-handed labyrinth. Can you see how to make a right-handed one? Do just the opposite from what you've just done. Go from the top of the cross in a counter/anti-clockwise direction to the top of the mirrored 'L' in the upper-left quadrant, and so on. There are many mirrors to be found in a labyrinth. Neither right- nor left-hand paths are right or wrong. Which one appeals to you? Use that one.
The Seed Pattern
The Classical Three Circuit Labyrinth
While there are many different types of labyrinths, we will be concentrating on the Classical type labyrinths here. Just as a pearl can grow from a tiny grain of sand, and a large crystal can be grown from a tiny seed, Classical Labyrinths can most easily be constructed from simple bilaterally symetrical (same on both sides) seed patterns.
The simplest one is for the Classical Three Circuit Labyrinth, which is constructed from a cross and four dots in the resultant quadrants. To make a labyrinth from this seed pattern, always start at the top of the cross. Draw an arc from the top of the cross to the dot in the upper left-hand quadrant. Go the dot in the upper right-hand quadrant and make an arc around to the left arm of the cross, and so on as shown below.
This is a right-handed Classical Three Circuit Labyrinth
(The first turn upon entering the mouth of the labyrinthis to the right)
You can make a left-handed classical three circuit labyrinth by mirroring what you did with the right hand one. Start at the top of the cross, go to the right to the dot in the upper right-hand quadrant. You will encoiunter mirrors frequently when you work with these magical single path tools.
Notice how these two labyrinths mirror each other
Sometimes left becomes right and right becomes left. You'll notice the similarity between these classical labyrinths and the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. Labyrinths are tools that bring these hemispheres together. This is called gnowing.
The Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth
The seed pattern of the Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth is made by adding a right angle in each of the quadrants:
|Classical Three Circuit Labyrinth
|Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth
To make a left-hand classical labyrinth from this seed pattern, start at the top of the cross. Draw an arc from the top of the cross to the top of the 'L' in the upper right-hand quadrant. Then lift your pencil, and go the top of the 'L' in the upper left-hand quadrant and make an arc around to the dot in the upper right-hand quadrant, and so on as shown below.
Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth
(The first line/wall from the top of the cross is up and to the right)
Of course there are many examples of right-handed Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinths, but to save confusion, after we finish this Seed Pattern section, we will be using the left-handed Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth as our example throughout this section.
Please draw this seven circuit labyrinth with pen and paper at least ten times in the next twenty-four hours. Feel the flow. If you do this something will change inside of you. Now, you know how to make this labyrinth. Draw it thirteen times and your hand will gnow how to do it, and you won't have to think about it. All sacred geometery works this way. You must do it with your hands, not only with your left brain.
Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth.
The Classical Eleven Circuit Labyrinth
The Seed Pattern can now be expanded through the insertion of addtional right angles in each of the quadrants. A Classical Eleven Circuit Labyrinth can be formed from a seed pattern with two sets of right angles in each quadrant.
There are number of classical eleven circuit labyrinths in Sweden. One example can be found just outside of Visby, on the island of Gotland off the Eastern coast.
The Classical Fifteen Circuit Labyrinth
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While one could go on and on adding right angles in the quadrants, fifteen circuits is the largest old classical type known.
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Labyrinths magical single path right-brain/spiritual enhancers. They are a sub class of sacred space and a special one in that they give the seeker and idea of how they might use them. While they are found in many forms all over the world, they all have an obvious place to enter them called "the mouth," and give no other choice but to walk the circuits or paths to the goal, and then to turn around and walk out again.
Man in the Maze Tohono O'odaham Arizona, USA
Swedish Fisherman's Labyrinth Walked for a good catch and a good windWrite comment (0 Comments)