Sunday, November 16, 2008

Labyrinth Garden of Healing & Celebration

Now that our Labyrinth Garden is “active” with around 200 trees planted, winter heathers, colourful ivys, herbs, winter flowers, bulbs sown for spring, and the first of sculpture pieces folks are trying it out, but asking me “what is it?”


There’s still quite a lot of work to do as the walkway is still bumpy and pathways from the cottage and theatre to the labyrinth entrance have to be levelled. Part of the outer circle also subsided, which I am delighted about as it is an excuse to create a bridge feature to return the balance. There is a fire feature and I hope to build a water feature during January, or maybe on nice days in December.


As I have not had the quality time to create photos and video, which I would prefer to delay until the trees begin to bud for spring, I searched YouTube to see who else has a Labyrinth Garden. I only really found one that was genuine


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJub3-ul5lQ


This is a beautiful production, would love to know the production specs.


This features the beautiful garden labyrinth of “Ellen’s Garden” somewhere in California. Our own labyrinth is completely different. For one, Ellen has chosen to keep to short plants while we use trees bonsai style to grow between 3 to 5 feet, walkway is wider to allow wheelchairs and our design is a bit more complex. Ellen has chosen to go for a traditional ancient design while my own design is a fusion of several traditions including four elements, the trinity, seven circles, two worlds, and the mating rituals of puffins, fulmers, kittiwakes and other sea birds.


I do find the video clip of Ellen very useful for her explanation of what a labyrinth is and how it is used. Her explanation is similar to what I have been sharing, and this delighted me to think that someone else feels the same for their labyrinth.


I would like to recap in my own words, which are sometimes almost identical to Ellen.


Almost everyone who engages in a conversation about labyrinths automatically refers to mazes. I think this is because the most famous “labyrinth” ever is the Minotaur’s labyrinth in ancient Crete that many people became lost in. Though it was known as the Minotaur’s labyrinth that was actually a maze.


A maze is a formation that provides challenging choices. You can get lost in a maze and struggle to find a way to the “prize” in the centre or merely the way out. For a person wanting a use a labyrinth to unravel personal challenges a maze is not often the best idea. A maze is perfect as an adventure for fun, cunning instincts and logical alertness. 


In a labyrinth we can also get lost but the difference is that the path always has a destination so those on the labyrinth journey will never become physically lost. One major difference between our labyrinth and Ellen’s is that ours is one way with no return. Initialy this was for consideration for others so that those on a return journey would not disturb those on a forward journey. Since building our labyrinth I have discovered that this has evolved into something much more than this.


A labyrinth is so wonderful for sifting though challenges and fogginess we may have and concluding the ritual journey with clarity and focus. I use the title above, with reluctance as the word “healing” to me is a bit of a “glass half empty” word.


Yes, we all have times we need healing. Only last week I fell, gashed my knee and a couple of my toes went blue. That was a situation that needed “healing” and recovery was, fortunately, very fast. However, I find several visitors tell me that they need “healing” as that is a word they are familiar with but after some words with them I find they really need restoration or, in the worst cases, reconciliation of spirit. Somehow, I find it hard to label this with “healing” because to me this is on the same plane as being thirsty and then quickly becoming restored with a drink of water.


Hopefully, the people who journey our labyrinth will spiritually or psychically be like when we are thirsty and find the labyrinth quenches their thirst. Ideally I would have loved to have called this blog “Labyrinth Garden of Restoration, Reconciliation and Celebration”. Does that sound like a glass half full to glass filling adventure? It does to me, but I just know that its not a title that draws as well as one with the word “healing” within it.


If we have to use healing, lets think of the labyrinth as being “healing” through giving protection to people before they truly need healing remedies. Its a way to cause a glass that seems to be getting empty suddenly filling up again.


Before a truly sick person enters a labyrinth I think its always a good idea to introduce some time of music and laughter to raise the spirit and the flow of qui more. A bit of a recharge before the restore.


What I do love about Ellen’s labyrinth and explanation is the concept of being distracted, to take time to look at things, smell things, touch things and totally use all senses on our labyrinth journey. Some labyrinth designers and makers are concerned with making their work precise and uniform so that the travellers can travel the labyrinth without distraction and with eyes closed. That does have a place in meditation and variation on yoga movement but, personally, I like the idea of our labyrinth travellers having eyes, and all senses, wide open. I am eager to have our labyrinth ready for the blind and the deaf to try out too. I know downs syndrome children will love it! 


However, I’ll know I will have it right when a visually disabled person with a seeing eye dog makes it around the labyrinth with ease. 


I hope you will find a way to visit our Two Worlds Theatre and Labyrinth in Co. Sligo when you are in Ireland. We do arrange vacations by request too, and guided tours to our local hidden sacred wonders.


One my Celtic Ways home page there’s a box to ask for our PDF brochure


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