Labyrinths have fascinated and intrigued humanity for thousands of years.
What is a Labyrinth?
The labyrinth is an archetypal symbol found in spiritual traditions throughout human history. It is a form of sacred geometry that has traditionally been located on sacred sites, power places or energy vortices on the Earth. Found as far apart as India, Arizona, Java, Peru, Iceland, Crete, Egypt and Europe, traced through early Minoan civilizations back to the Neolithic, each labyrinth is inherently designed for the same purpose: as a form of meditative inquiry, an entrance into sacred time and space to seek insight or inspiration.
The mysterious winding path that takes us to the centre is symbolic of entering the unknown. It becomes a metaphor for our journey of self-inquiry. Unlike the maze, which is a puzzle designed to be solved, there is only one way in to the centre of a labyrinth and one way out, no tricks and no dead ends. By walking the path towards the centre, it is believed that neurological pathways get activated between the left and right hemispheres in the brain and we literally begin to unravel our current viewpoint on reality.
Excerpt from: Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens magazine: ‘As Jeff Sayward records in his excellent book “Labyrinths & Mazes in the 21st Centruy” (published by Mitchell Beazley 2002), they can be traced back at least as far as the Bronze Age with one in Artic Russia, dated at c,2000 years old and still able to be walked. The tradition has carried on through the Roman Empire and mediaeval Christian churches (eg. Chatres in France) right up to the present day with an especially renewed interest in the West during the last 2 decades. Pottery fragments and historic inscriptions reveal that they occurred in Iceland, Scandianvia, Artic Russia, Europe, North Africa, Middle East, India, Indonesia, the US South West and Mexico.’
In 2005, my husband, John and I purchased 84 acres of wonderful land at Dyers Crossing in the hinterland of the NSW Lower Min-North Coast. We have owner-built a delightful octagonal house, gardens and vegetable gardens, and planted lots of fruit and nut trees. The very first thing we did was to plant an approximately 1 km avenue of Jacaranda trees and I came up with the name of ‘Jacaranda Haven’ for the property.
In 2011, I felt very strongly that we should construct a traditional labyrinth upon the land and that it should be made of Lavender plants. We chose an almost level site about 100 metres east of our house within a cleared paddock which is easily visible from the kitchen, and chose a classic 7 path labyrinth that labyrinth specialist Emily Simpson guided us to on the Internet. Then I handed the project over to my landscape architect husband to do the detailed design and construction.
John drew up a scale plan which was then gridded to permit it to be set out accurately and to estimate the quantities of materials needed for this approximately 12m diameter pattern. Weedmat was pinned down over scalped grassy ground and ‘Bago Gold’ gravel was spread with a bobcat. The paths were set out in the easy-to-follow sequency shown on the Internet and several hundred Lavender x ‘Avonview’ were progressively planted to form the divisions between the paths. This planting was a hugely-time consuming exercise by John and others over several weeks. It is understandable why John terms this project “my wife’s magnificent obsession”. Some plants died in prolonged wet (Lavender hate wet feet_ or dry spells which has necessitated re-plantings, and we have had to hand-water may times….
However, as the photos show, the labyrinth is something of a triumph and a tribute to sheer persistence. The Lavender flowered consistently throught the 2012 Winter and Spring bringing joy to all who say it. There so many bees that it could only really be walked comfortable early morning/late afternoon when the bees were not there. From the house, we were treated to a glowing purple band in the distance.
As one presents to move into the Labyrinth, there is a point where we encourage all to ‘Pause and Reflect’ on what their intent is before proceeding. Buried beneath their feet is a large crystal consecrated by the wonderful Rosie Keller who has done extensive blessing ceremonies with ourselves and others upon this land.
Then one enters the pathway in a silent contemplative state walking slowly on the crunchy golden gravel between the rows of Lavender plants. The path eventually arrives at the centre of the labyrinth where you step into an empty space defined by smoooth grey riverstones. Here, you stand in silence – open to messatges or clarity of understnading about your life’s purpose or something that may have been troubling you. As people have found for thousands of years, the messages do come – not necessarily all the time, but maybe relative to the intensity of your quest. As an example one person (who incidentaly put a huge amount of time and energy into the building of this labyrinth) was clearly told in the centre, upon walking the labyrinth for the first time:
“You are a child of God and your God-given role is to help others realise that they are likewise.”
If you or others you know, would like to walk the labyrinth, please get in touch with us at Jacaranda Haven – (02) 6550 2169.