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The Labyrinth : A Goddess Path


The Labyrinth and the Goddess

The labyrinth is an ancient symbol of wholeness and of the journey through life. Uniting the circle and the spiral into a path meandering towards its center, the labyrinth has long been used in prayer and meditation.

When you walk a labyrinth you create a sacred space, a connection to the divine energy. A labyrinth represents a journey to the center of your deepest self and an eventual return to the world with a better understanding of who you are.

Labyrinths have been discovered in most ancient cultures and the earliest ones are presumed to have been used in the worship of the great goddesses.

One of the earliest, dating back to 5,000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia, was created to honor the Great Goddess Inanna.
 

        Its design, called the "classic labyrinth", has 7 circuits or paths that lead into the center.

In her myths, the goddess Inanna had to give up a part of her identity as she descended through each of the seven levels of the Underworld. Innana dies, is reborn, and returns to earth empowered by her journey.

Centuries later the Christian Church began to use labyrinths as well, although they generally used an 11-circuit design, divided into four quadrants by a cross. It was called the "Road to Jerusalem". Walking the path was a quest in the hope of becoming closer to God; those searching for forgiveness would walk on their knees.
 


Labyrinth or Maze?

Mazes are often confused with labyrinths, but they are really quite different. A maze has twists and turns and even some blind alleys. It is puzzle requiring logical and analytical left brain tasks if you are to find the correct path.

Labyrinths have only one path...they lead you to the center and out again. They are places of great archetypal energy, places where spiritual and personal growth often occur.

 

The Labyrinth and Personal Growth

One traditional meaning of the labyrinth is that is is a spiritual journey into the underworld (unconscious mind) and a return to daily life. Following the path of a labyrinth represents a journey to the center of your deepest self and an eventual return to the world with a better understanding of who you are.

Rituals help. They deepen the connection to our psychological and spiritual center. Walk often. Frequent use trains the mind, making it easier to access the power of the labyrinth.

To get a sense of how this works, visit this web page for a detailed account of one person's growth experience: A Labyrinth and its Lessons


Ways to Use a Labyrinth

There are many ways to use a labyrinth. If you are fortunate to be able to travel to the sites of the famous ones such as the cathedral in Chartres, France, the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, or the San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, take advantage of the opportunity to walkthe path they offer you. 

Use this link to view or order a labyrinth from Femail Creations

     Otherwise, consider building your own by using stones to create a path,  or spray painting the pattern on the grass.

There are even handheld labyrinths like the one available here that let your "fingers do the walking".

One classic ritual is the "Walk of Life" where as you walk you review the stages of your life, all the twists and turns it has taken and the lessons you have learned.

Your mood during this walking meditation is important, but it need not always be somber or reflective. It might be joyous  instead. Blow bubbles as you walk, naming all the wonderful things in your life and practicing gratitude.

For more ideas, read this article:

101 Ways to Use a Labyrinth  (not really 101, but plenty!)


A Goddess Labyrinth Ritual

Here is a ritual created to honor and nurture the goddess within. It follows a threefold path.

  • Release negative energy. As you walk from the entrance to the center, concentrate on "letting go" and emptying your mind of worries and concerns.
  • Receive the gift of the goddess. As you enter the center of the labyrinth in a meditative or prayerful state, you will feel a sense of illumination and be receptive to feelings of insight and clarity. Invoke a particular goddess if you like and spend a few minutes there in her presence, reflecting on her strengths or the lessons of her myths.
  • As you leave the center, picture yourself empowered by your new insights, successfully integrating them into your daily life and manifesting that positive energy into the world. As you exit the labyrinth, turn back to face the center as you thank the goddess for her gift.

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