I’ve built quite few labyrinths and used to walk one every day, for years. This is the season for labyrinths and mazes, so I’ll share my thoughts on the two major types that have been found in history.
First is the Minoan, 7-circuit one. This was built as a place for initiates to meet their darkest fears, and it is said there was a Minotaur in the center. But I am guessing it was shaman in disguise, helping move his tribe through their initiations, instead. These ancient mazes were not easy places, though, for many who entered did not come out alive. The seven-circuit labyrinth was used in Crete in late BCE times, 200-400 approximately but has been found in other places throughout the Middle East. Some of these 7-circuit ones have also been found in Native American sites. And whenever I walk this one, I feel it move into my abdomen and release some ancient fear I haven’t yet faced in my life, for the original intention always comes through as well. There is a cosmic dark sea that interpenetrates every person’s abdomen, the sea of the unborn, the unrevealed, which holds all the fears humanity has not yet become aware of or healed, the collective unconscious. And the One who overlights this sea of the unborn is the Goddess. I always feel an inner and outer side of the Goddess, and these two come into my light healings with different ray colors and separate vibrations, distinctly different sides of Her. The outer form is a High Priestess, and She rules the Celtic religion and the cycle of emotion through the year, 15 24-day moons with 5 intercessory days, Nov 24th-28th, identical to the druid calendar. Her ray color is white gold. And this Priestess side of the Goddess has one major regency, to help all humanity embody wisdom, lessons learned through the hard, hard experiences of life. My guides say this is the entire purpose of the human race, to renew the light of wisdom throughout the universe. This High cosmic Priestess is regent of all spiritual sisterhoods on earth as well, walking closely by our sides along our spiritual paths, facing all those shadows that inevitably appear. I will say She’s quite persistent in urging me to stand up to a fear I may prefer to avoid, too. She reminds me of my determined Scottish mother, who’s favorite phrase was, “There’s no such word as can’t!” This is how this outer half of the Goddess bring us Home, by helping our spirits grow strong. So, this labyrinth would be best walked on Midwinter Eve, I think, for that’s when the final and deepest fear of every year is activated, at midnight. After it is faced and healed, the inner child of light for the past 12 months, some talent that has been built over the passing year, is fully released into life as that final shadow casing falls away for good. This is just in time for the implantation of light seeds for the child of light for the year to come that happens a few hours later on Midwinter dawn. But any time a fear is wavering at the edges of your awareness would be the perfect time for the Minoan labyrinth as well.
Then the other labyrinth that’s been found all over Europe is the 11-circuit one, often named after the one in the basement of the Chartres Cathedral in France. This, too, connects to the Goddess but the inner mystical side, the white rose, the One who leads us all into re-union with the One Beloveds, Bride and Bridegroom of the cosmos. So, She is the Bride, regent of all long-term feminine partners, intimacy, relationship, sexuality, union. Her ray color is ivory, like moonlight, and She has a moon glowing in Her Heart as well. And walking this one feels like a pilgrimage to me. I always sense an image of that maze in my heart as I move along it, the identical pattern, and that my walking is clearing out the shadows there, too, but more through reverence and surrender than facing some horrific fear. There is a softness in this labyrinth, a compelling whisper to come closer to Her Heart. The seven petaled flower in the very center feels utterly holy, too, when I reach it in my slow silent passage to the core. This Beloved half of the Goddess draws us all Home with love that has no bounds, sweet and intense, and always perfumed. I walked a labyrinth yesterday, after a very long interlude since the last time, and my ‘Double Delight’ rose bloomed that very morning, intensely fragrant and with the exact ray colors of Her and Him in Their Beloved forms, and ivory center with rose red edges. This Chartres maze was popular in Europe during the 12th through the 14th centuries, medieval times. But I’ve had many soul memories of walking it during Celtic times as well.
So, I think it’s really important when building a labyrinth that the sacred, close-to-nature, feeling is preserved or this integral sense of closeness to the Goddess would be lost. Once, I built a labyrinth out of river stones in a private wild space, surrounded by meadows. I planted thyme there, a cultivar called ‘Cosmic.’ And when it bloomed in late July, the pink flower whorls looked like stars across the night sky, at least I thought so (See photos). And somehow that cosmic time blossom infused the whole walking, for it was so very peaceful and slow there, always calming me down from my hurried workaholic tendencies at that time in my life.
Another time, I built a labyrinth in a meadow, just by cutting the grasses down in the Chartres pattern, so everywhere along it was bounded with wildflowers and tall grasses, heavy with seed. There was a wild freedom moving along that one, a lightness far different from the river stones one. I always felt fae friends in the ethers walking that one, too, far different from the gentle river-of-life feeling of the cosmic thyme version.
Many of the labyrinth workshops I did took place in churches, in rooms that weren’t especially sacred at all. But the Goddess does have a way of being present, no matter what the obstacles. I remember laying a large labyrinth, Chartres again, a huge, painted, purple one on white canvas, in the gymnasium of a church complex, the only space apparently large enough. There was a high double window and white walls all around the room with a single double doorway. And when I lit the candles in the corners, laid my carefully-chosen flowers and branches down around the perimeter, a white mist began streaming in from those second story windows, drifting down, flooding me with a light which felt so deeply holy that I was totally amazed. And all unplanned, I took time to walk that maze before the workshop began, to soak in the sweet utter sanctity that surrounded it. It’s rare in my life to feel so much reverence, Her presence so intense. especially in such an unlikely place. So, if you feel the impulse to build one, do it, even if the space seems less than perfect. Always ask your guides about what the spirit world may have in mind first, though. It’s totally surprising the ideas that have come to mind for me in doing so. And I would always avoid electrical wires in the vicinity, car exhaust, both of which disturb the Goddess energies greatly. Also, when you build, make certain to make the rings wide enough that two people can fit, for some may be entering as others are leaving, passing each other along the way.
Building a labyrinth is easy, though. Just put a stick in the center with a long string tied to it. Mark out the circles of whichever pattern you want to use, and then lay your edging materials around in the design you’ve chosen. I always felt the Goddess quite intensely in the building process, too, which I usually did alone. I do think talking, noise, and other distractions interfere with the deep inner connection to the Goddess that’s possible in a labyrinth walk. She always come to me in silence, absolutely necessary for me in my walking, at least.
That’s it. Fall is the perfect time for walking these Goddess mazes, I think, especially around Samhein, as Her energies rise through the winter moons. And may the Goddess hold you in peace and tenderness as you do so, and all winter long as well. Blessed be.
About the Author:
Jill Frew Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and energy/light healer, who has followed a druid path of enlightenment for over 30 years. She is founder of The Celtic Heaven School, a nine-month program that teaches druidry, ascension, and healing. And she is author of the Alba Reborn Trilogy (the life story of a druid priestess and priest in BCE Scotland and their teachings of enlightenment), A Guidebook to Druidry, and Light Healing for Children. CelticHeaven.com