For the tenth week of the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I read The Healing Labyrinth - Finding Your Path to Inner Peace by Helen Raphael Sands. I chose this book for the theme of Enthusiasm which is part of the A to Z Spiritual Practices challenge that I'm doing during 2015.
There aren't a lot of books written about enthusiasm per se, so when I was reading The Healing Labyrinth and saw a section about how to enthusiastically dance and move through labyrinths, this book seemed like an appropriate fit.
There were several things that I learned while reading the book:
- The fish symbol that people sometimes put on their cars is called a vesica piscis. "It is a basic shape of sacred geometry and means 'fish's bladder.' It is formed with two intersecting circles and symbolizes the marriage of opposites, such as Heaven and Earth, the masculine and feminine, light and dark, not unlike the Chinese yin and yang symbol."
- A labyrinth has universal appeal because it is not attached to any one faith or tradition. So, each person who follows its path can draw from it what he or she needs. It is a means of meditation offering us space to listen to ourselves.
- It can be a slow and contemplative experience or fast and energizing; it can help us shed layers of emotion and unravel a problem; or it can stimulate the mind and offer inspiration.
- We can see the shape of the labyrinth all around us in the spiraling and turnings of nature: in the swirl of a thumbprint, in water rippling outwards, in spiders' webs, in the uncoiling of a fern.
- You can connect the labyrinth (that you're walking) but thinking of or naming out loud someone who has died and who was very important to you. Ask this person to accompany you on your journey through the labyrinth.
- If you have a portable labyrinth and want to remember the people who have walked it or the places it has visited, you can make an Ariadne memory thread. You need a ball of brightly colored string, on to which you can attach tags or mementos that are symbolic of your journey. Twine your Ariadne's thread around a cylinder to store it in between each labyrinth event. When you close down the labyrinth in time, you can read out the names of people and the places visited to link the labyrinth with time present, thereby creating a sense of continuity and community. (In the book the author had a shell, mental figurines, an envelope that was hole-punched in one corner and attached to the thread, and a button on the Ariadne's memory thread.)
- Choosing different materials: using Christmas fairy lights to mark the pathways of the labyrinth, mow a pathway for the labyrinth, or flat/smooth rocks. Another idea was to plant a labyrinth with spring bulbs so that each spring the labyrinth would bloom to welcome the new season.