Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Last night I walked a labyrinth for the first time. A labyrinth is a path laid out with, in last night's case, tiny Christmas lights wrapped with bits of evergreen. It was sponsored by the Walpole Unitarian Church and was laid out inside a church building. It will be disassembled after the holiday.
A labyrinth is similar to a maze. However, a maze has a complex branching pattern with a choice of path and direction. The Victorians built shrubbery mazes in their gardens. In Greek mythology Daedalus created a maze in which to entrap the Minotaur.
(photo taken by B. with her ipod. This is the labyrinth I walked)
A labyrinth differs from a maze in that there is just a single, non-branching path to the center. No choices need be made as to direction. At the center of the labyrinth I walked was a large candle with sand around it. I was given a lit candle to carry as I walked. I then set it in the sand next to the larger candle.
To walk a maze requires left-brained effort, making choices, willingness to get lost.
To walk a labyrinth is a right brained task, as there are no choices to be made. Very meditative.
Walking a labyrinth can be a metaphor for life's journey, moving to the center of the self and then back out into the world.
I imagined my old self unwinding as I walked, then when I placed my candle I wished for love and community in the coming year. As I came back into the world, I imagined my new self arising. Often the labyrinth is set up outdoors and becomes a permanent installation.
Afterwards I went with my two new friends to Burdicks for hot cocoa and a chat. They were so kind and patient with the floods of words that came out of me, since I so rarely talk to people nowadays. Or was it the influence of the labyrinth? I loved to hear bits of their life stories too. I'm so lucky to have met them.
Above us hung one of maybe twenty amazing chandeliers made out of small branches laced together then entwined with tiny lights and with crystal clear snowflakes and other shapes dangling down. They will sell them after the holiday for $200 each. Oh and what a hoot. I actually ran into someone I knew in Burdicks. I just love it when that happens. A lovely way to celebrate the Solstice, the holiday and the coming of the light and new year.
You can read more about labyrinths here. Scroll down the page and find a link which takes you to a printable labyrinth you can keep on your desk. You trace the path with your finger for a short meditation.