A labyrinth is like a year. There is only one path in, and the same path out. That is the path you are on. You can’t get lost. You know the center will always be at the beginning or ending of the path. But even though the path is the same, it is never the same when you walk the labyrinth. You, and the world, are always different.
At the winter solstice, we are at the center of the year. The year is like a spiral, coming around again and again to the same seasons, but in successive layers building one on another, a three-dimensional spiral. At this darkest time, it feels like the ending AND the beginning of the year, when in the circle of the year, one year dies and another begins anew. It is the darkest time, in the place where beginnings and endings happen, the womb, the tomb. We stay on the path of the year ahead, because we know, from past circlings, that if we walk our path, we will always return again to center. It’s a certainty.
Labyrinths are often confused with mazes, but aside from their use of turning and of paths, they are quite different. Mazes are made to confuse. Labyrinths are made to mirror a soul journey. Mazes are puzzles; you must make choices to further your progress. In a labyrinth, the only choice is to enter and walk the path. It is said that you enter a maze to lose yourself, but you enter a labyrinth to find yourself. A labyrinth is a reflection of faith, a spiritual exercise to find your way home.
The middle of a labyrinth can hold many things: a bench to sit upon for meditation, an altar for offerings, a tree or a flower garden. At the center of this labyrinth is a heart. The heart at the center of the labyrinth is the love that connects us all, wherever we are on the path.
This link has a rather wonderful animated graphic which shows the steps for drawing a simple classical labyrinth.
About labyrinth creation, more to come . . .