Exploring the Labyrinth
The Long and Winding Road
The long and winding road That leads to your door Will never disappear I’ve seen that road before It always leads me here Lead me to your door
Labyrinths in history and now
In this blog, I discuss what a labyrinth is, and my crystal grid based on that design. And how the labyrinth brought me insights into my life path in a lucid dream.
A labyrinth is an ancient maze-like design. In the past, it was associated with complex underground structures. An intricate network of winding passages bordered by walls or hedges; a labyrinth (unlike a maze) is made of a single path leading to a center.
Roman philosopher Pliny’s Natural History gives four examples of ancient labyrinths: Cretan, Egyptian, Lemnian and Italian. The 7-course Classical or Cretan pattern known from Cretan coins (circa 400–200 BC) appears in several examples from antiquity, as early as the late Stone Age. An image of the legendary Minotaur, a being which is part man, part bull, appears at the center of many of these mosaic labyrinths.
In India, the Padmavyūha is a labyrinthine military formation used to surround enemies in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. A prehistoric petroglyph on a riverbank in Goa shows an intricate pattern dated to circa 2500 BC.
Cross-cultural studies suggest a sacred path to the home of a sacred ancestor. But it may also be the refuge for a trickster or a monster. A labyrinth can serve as a metaphor for situations that are difficult to get out of, like being lost in a scary subterranean dungeon. So, it has dual possibilities - one that leads to life and wisdom, the other to being misled and threatened. The movie “Labyrinth” (1986), true to tradition, revolves around 16-year-old Sarah’s quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, whom she had wished away to the Goblin King (played by David Bowie).
In medieval times, labyrinths appeared in churches from around 1000 AD. The most famous medieval labyrinth is in Chartres Cathedral. More recently, many churches, hospitals, and parks, contain labyrinths. People use them for contemplation; walking among the turnings, one loses track of the outside world, and quietens the mind. We may trace smaller patterns using a finger, without having to walk the finger labyrinth.
In biology, the labyrinth is a system of interconnecting canals and spaces that make up the inner ear. Labyrinthitis can cause balance disorders, hearing loss and tinnitus. When we get lost in a labyrinth, actually or metaphorically, we may also lose our sense of balance and ability to hear the voice of inner guidance.
The idea of forking paths through different networks over time and uses the pattern of the labyrinth as folding back upon itself in infinite regression, representing humanity’s continuing search for meaning in an infinite universe.
The dream catcher’s pattern suggests a spider web, originally used by Native Americans to protect against bad dreams. Ariadne, in Greek mythology, daughter of the Cretan king Minos, is also associated with spider medicine. She helped the Athenian hero Theseus escape the Labyrinth with the aid of a red thread after he slew the Minotaur.
In Reality Transurfing, we make pictures of our end slide to help us navigate through the different life possibilities.
My crystal grid
To work with the symbolism of the labyrinth, I selected one of the oldest patterns, the 7-course “Classical” or “Cretan” pattern. I printed it and intuitively placed crystals on it to construct a crystal grid. I believe the crystals may resonate with the crystalline structure within the earth, and therefore can help us attune to the wisdom of the earth.
Using the pattern to incubate a dream, I intended to encounter what I needed to learn in life. As I fell asleep, I visualized myself entering the labyrinth and exploring what I could discover, facing the different directions. To the West I found myself facing an expansive ocean on the beach. Sitting on a driftwood chair, the importance of releasing attachments came to mind. Then I fell asleep and entered a sleeping dream.
I dreamed I had agreed to meet friends for lunch, but things weren’t working out. I had forgotten my car keys and had to go back to get them. Running late, I couldn’t find my keys. There was the feeling of being turned around and lost in a labyrinth of paths and buildings. I couldn’t meet my friends without being able to drive in time. My anxiety brought me into lucidity, and I realized I was dreaming. I said, “This is my dream, and I decide to go straight to where I need to go.”
In lucid dreams, we can control the dream sequence while being aware that we are dreaming. I transported myself directly to a fantastic tower in the Middle East. There was a fine restaurant in the tower, with a commanding view out over the sea and into a city. A friend was there and greeted me warmly. Before we ordered, he had to get up to leave. Then a representative of the owner of the restaurant approached me. He said that since they held my Father in high regard; they are going to give a wonderful set of Middle Eastern rare fragrant oils. I’m passionate about essential oils, and nothing could be more exciting than receiving a set of these precious natural substances, which no doubt included Frankincense and Myrrh. The man had thick, lustrous black hair and glowing skin. (For me, the most puzzling part of the dream was reference to “my Father” - perhaps it’s a reference to the “Heavenly Father”). Then I looked down and saw a middle eastern carpet. Its many intersecting lines made an intricate pattern. In that moment, the intricate lines on the carpet (and labyrinth) told me that all the events of my life had all worked together harmoniously to bring me to this place where I was meant to be. Even the apparent setbacks and problems formed part of this pattern. Thus, the labyrinthine pattern became incorporated into an enchanted carpet. I realized a peace of mind and integration, looking backwards and forwards over my life.
Since in active dreaming we take practical steps to honour our dreams:
I will find out more on traditions with anointing oils in the Middle East.
Make a finger Labyrinth.
Work more with the crystals on my labyrinth and what they could mean.
Activities for you
Print off an image of a labyrinth and trace it with your figure, letting yourself settle into a calm space. What springs to mind?
See here for downloadable templates and other information.
More energetic readers could construct a simple garden labyrinth and walk it or locate one nearby.
Place crystals intuitively on to a labyrinth pattern. How could these relate to your life and its twists and turns? Are you going inwards or coming out?