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Welcome to my Labyrinth Project

2021

Why? 

Mazes have fascinated me since I was first able to manipulate a crayon, draw a line, and help the baby chicks find Mama Hen. Solving a puzzle. Entry into mysteries of the mythic quest. 

Like many, I initially mistook the labyrinth for an alternate version of a maze. The difference? Labyrinths have only one entry/exit with a pathway leading inward until it turns around and leads back out. One does not become lost in a labyrinth; labyrinths are not puzzles to be solved.

The point? At the risk of sounding cliché, Labyrinths aren't about solution. Labyrinths are about the journey.

Early Labyrinth Experiences

My first full-sized labyrinth walk was in Portland, Oregon. I spent a good half hour, making my way into the center and back out again.

 

Tai Chi training kicked in as I placed each foot with care and attention. Settling fully into one step before moving to the next.  Allowing thoughts settle. Becoming present with the rhythm of my movement. Enjoying the process of the path's serpentine pattern.

 

"Spiritual Pilgrimage" is a nice description.  Like Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey", only leaving the world one knows to travel inward, rather than outward.  Each journey leaving the traveler feel changed, if only in small subtle ways.

I walked my only other large-scale labyrinth at Wilber Hot Springs, California.  A spiral pattern with beautiful old oak at the center.

Each experience left me wishing I had one closer to home. I even looked into portable labyrinths printed on canvas -- prohibitively expensive, even for materials to tackle making one of my own.

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A"finger" version I tested...   too small to lose myself in meditation.

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And then ...

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A friend recently used a large oak labyrinth (18") as a workshop visual aid.  As he spoke, he traced the path carved into the wood, from beginning, to center, back to the beginning. I was entranced by his movement, imagining what it would feel like with my own finger -- so much so, I can't tell you now what he said or what it had to do with his labyrinth!

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At the threshold of my labyrinth

Immediately, I do a search... 

Sadly, even the least expensive is pricer than I'd hoped. So, I shift my search to DIY's, and find an appealing spark of inspiration for a design of my own. 

First step onto the path...

Out come my sketchbook, colored pens, and ruler.

Next, an online search for material possibilities.

   ✴︎click ✴︎    

Orders placed.

Lots to do while I wait for my materials to arrive.

Image search for Chartres labyrinth designs. I learn many are simplified. A full scale model is an "eleven-circuit" labyrinth -- who knew?

 

Lots of printouts -- which are easiest on my eyes, easiest lines to distinguish for laying down my own lines?

After settling on The One, I make four copies in my photo roll and edit each to show one of 4 quadrant of 8" radius.

Now, to consider laying out my lines. My first big challenge -- I discover a complexity not obvious at first glance. The labyrinth path is one continuous track. The bands of lines to create the track, not so much. The pattern cannot be layed in single line. Bands defining the track will be double lines.  

(Quick reorder for second roll of cord material. ✴︎-✴︎)

I use my waiting period to color-code steps that will get me started. At this point, the process to lay out my pattern is proving to be more a puzzle-maze than a labyrinth!

Materials arrive!

Baltic Birch

Unfinished Wood Plywood

(18" diam. x 0.25" thick)

Jewelry Leather Cord

(2mm x 10 Yards) x2

White glue "pen"

Awl

Sundry supplies on hand:

  • Ruler

  • #2 pencil

  • Colored pens/pencils

  • Craft knife

  • Adhesive tapes

  • Push pins

  • Decorative stones

  • Acrylic spray

16"

Early
circuits...

Following my color chart

Finding the challenges

     curves of pattern & cord

     using pins

     forgivingness of glue

Finding a rhythm

Round and round and round she goes      ...circuit, by circuit, by circuit ...

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