Many thanks to Kathy Doore and her
blog, Labyrinthina, for all this wonderful knowledge about
The Hopi Indians of North
America had a symbol for Mother Earth known today as the "Classical
Seven-Path Labyrinth." It was this symbol of the Mother which
identified the sacred in nature - that spiraling form found
throughout nature. Labyrinths were woven into objects to personify
man's connection to his source and were often placed at sacred
places in nature to remind him of this union. When one walks the
labyrinth it is in recreating this very ancient expression of thanks
and remembrance of the divine in all things.
Revelations from nature
are a part of humankind's connection to the creative nature of the
Universe. Nature can be thought of as a reflection of the laws of
creation. In many cultures from ancient Europe to the Americas it
was considered a rite of passage to have a vision quest - to spend
time totally alone in nature, in a spot chosen by the elders as a
sacred place. From this time of solitude and of humility would come
a vision. This vision could occur in the form of a bird whose spirit
would teach or from an animal, a rock, or even the wind and water.
Although the guidance came from within their own being, often it was
linked to a place in nature.
Our ancestors knew that
the divine in nature was an extension of their own humanity and
depended on this relationship to support their very existence. In
remembering the lessons of old we can think of the earth as an
extension of our own body. We realize we must care for our natural
resources as an extension of ourselves. These lessons teach only to
take what is needed and to always give back that which we can.
The Labyrinth is an
extension of man's desire to co-create with nature. When man
consecrates space in nature as sacred he heals a part of himself.
The earth has the capacity to heal us just as we have this capacity
to heal the earth, it is a symbiotic relationship. In ages past when
people worked closely with the earth the first and best fruits of
the harvest were always returned to the Mother in thanks for her
The Labyrinth is a
beautiful form of this gifting process between man and his
environment -- a precious spiraling pathway uniting us with our
natural habitat. The conscious intent of creating this Sacred Space
originates in our awareness of the divine and how we use the
universal language of color, sound, movement and form to heal and
regenerate our land, ourselves. We reveal ourselves by what we do
and say, how we build, paint, and sing. The joy of unveiling the
true self freed of emotional restraints cannot be surpassed.
Labyrinths are temples
that enhance and balance and bring a sense of the sacred - a place
where we can confirm our unity with the cosmos, awaken our vital
force and elevate our consciousness. These structures are space/time
temples where we can behold realities that oddly enough transcend
space and time. The orientation, form and geometry of a labyrinth
have symbolic as well as spatial importance. It is a mirror for the
divine, a place to behold the beauty in nature.
Spiraling inward and out,
this serpentine flow is the most generative form of subtle energy.
The process of moving through the pathway unwinds this stored
energy, releasing, magnifying, and ultimately harnessing the flow.
Working directly in conjunction with the human energy fields this
spiraling flow interacts with the kundalini energy coiled at the
base of our spine converting the subtle energy into life force
itself. This uncoiling of the kundalini vitalizes us through a
process of unfolding both upwards and inwards, an exhalation and
ingathering of energies known as the dance of creation.
Labyrinths are known as
sacred gateways and have been found at the entrance of ancient sites
around the world. Often located at the center of subtle 'earth
energies' these temples enhance, balance, regenerate and confirm our
unity with the cosmos.
A type of Labyrinth known
as a Yantra was used as a meditation by Hindu midwives to assist in
childbirth and served as a means of relaxation for the birth canal,
another labyrinthine form.
The spiral is the most
generative form of subtle energy. When its coil is unwound the
stored energy is released. The areas where straight ley lines cross,
or where underground water run are places to build sacred temples,
labyrinths. These places are rich in both yin and yang (yin
underground water crossing yang energy lines). The labyrinth
resonates to this numinous spiral, the Phi ratio known as the
'Golden Mean' found in all of nature.
Labyrinths have always
been associated with ancient pilgrimage routes and rituals of
self-discovery. They were worn as a form of protection and
ornamentation and were often found carved on doorways to bless a
Labyrinths are time
windows, portals, where time stands still. They are known to
facilitate altered states of consciousness and have parallels with
reincarnation, initiation, prosperity, and fertility rites. Ancient
Scandinavian sailors believed the labyrinth had magical properties
and when walked could control the weather and ensure a good catch.
Many Sacred Dances have
taken place within the Labyrinth such as the "crane" dance recounted
in the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. It is believed that
the action of "dancing" a labyrinth magically activates its inherent
As a universal symbol the
Labyrinth appears throughout history dating some 4,500 years and
appears cross-culturally over the face of our world throughout our
Labyrinths date back to
early Crete, Egypt, Peru and India and were used for ritual walking
and spiritual contemplation. Often called "city of turns" labyrinths
were equated with Holy cities such as Troy, Jericho, and Jerusalem.
Resonating to the
vibration of "seven" the Classical Labyrinth has a direct
correlation with the primary Chakras, Tones on the scale, and Colors
of the Rainbow.
Equated with the brain
many cultures believed that the labyrinth could cure illness. Today
the labyrinth is known to have a curative effect on certain ailments
by producing a sense of well-being and balance through a type of
vestibular stimulation, accessing both left and right hemispheres of
Moving through a
Labyrinth changes ordinary ways of perception connecting the inner
and the outer, the right brain and the left brain, the involutional
and the evolutional through a series of paths that represent the
realms of the Gods and Goddesses. These realms are associated with
planetary movement as a process that induces Union with the One.
Oral Tradition of the
The Man in the Maze
I?itoi or I?ithi is, in the tradition of the O'odham peoples, the
mischievous creator god who resides in a cave just below the peak of
Baboquivari Mountain, part of the Tohomo O’odham Nation. Visitors to
the cave are asked to bring a gift to ensure their safe return from
the depths. I'itoi is said to have brought the Hohokam people to
this earth from the underworld, said to be ancestors of both the
Tohono O'odham and the Pima. He is also responsible for the gift of
the Himdag, a series of commandments guiding people to remain in
balance with the world and interact with it as intended.
The Pima also refer to I'itoi as Elder Brother, the term I?ithi is a
dialectal variant used by the Hia Ced O’Odham. He is most often
referred to as the Man in the Maze, a reference to a design
appearing on native basketry and petroglyphs which positions him at
the entry to a labyrinth. This labyrinth is believed by the Pima to
be a floorplan of his house, and by the Tohono O'odham to be a map
giving directions to his house. The Man in the Maze motif is used
liberally in the American Southwest, most prominently by Hopi
silversmiths in rings and jewelry to showcase the quality of their
technique and by Pima basketweavers, with whom it has been a very
popular pattern since the 1900s. Every basket pattern has a
“mistake” (also known as a “dau”, or door) intentionally integrated
into it's design so that the spirit of the basket can be released.
According to O'odham oral history, the labyrinth design depicts
experiences and choices we make in our journey through life. In the
middle of the “maze”, a person finds their dreams and goals. When
one reaches the center, we have one final opportunity (the last turn
in the design) to look back upon our choices and path, before the
Sun God greets us, blesses us and passes us into the next world.
Oral History as told by Alfretta Antone: “Elder
Brother lived in the maze ... and the reason why he lived in the
maze was because ... I think how I'm gonna say this ... magician or
oh, medicine man that can disappear, and that can do things, heal
people and things like that ... that was Elder Brother ... Se:he ...
they called him ... he lived in there ... but he had a lot of
enemies so he made that, and to live in there people would go in
there but they couldn't find him ... they would turn around and go
“But in real life ... when you look at the maze you start from the
top and go into the maze ... your life, you go down and then you
reach a place where you have to turn around ... maybe in your own
life you fall, something happens in your home, you are sad, you pick
yourself up and you go on through the maze ... you go on and on and
on ... so many places in there you might ... maybe your child died
... or maybe somebody died, or you stop, you fall and you feel bad
... you get up, turn around and go again ... when you reach that
middle of the maze ... that's when you see the Sun God and the Sun
God blesses you and say you have made it ... that's where you die.
The maze is a symbol of life ... happiness, sadness ... and you
reach your goal ... there's a dream there, and you reach that dream
when you get to the middle of the maze ... that's how I was told, my
grandparents told me that's how the maze is.”
by Kathy Doore
As a dowser I feel the
energetic quality of the Earth is germane to the establishment of
sacred space. When establishing a labyrinth we dowse a site before
any work begins then invite and work with the spirit
of place before the
temple is erected. A great deal of devic activity accompanies our
work, we'll invariably have rainbows, shooting stars, many birds and
animals, and unseen helping hands with us. Its always a wonder to
see who'll make an appearance to build an earth temple.
From old Swedish legends we've found a method of using our
intention to provide clear weather for outdoor events. In fact,
there have been times when we've been the only dry ground for miles.
This ability to work with the elements was gleaned from legendary
accounts of ancient Swedish sailors who would build their labyrinths
near the sea in order to capture
and control the winds. As a sailor myself and former owner of a
wooden Swedish sailboat, I'm happy to report this method still
Best known as a tool for
transformation the Classical Seven-Path Labyrinth is known to
facilitate non-ordinary states of perception. Based on the Universal
Law,energy follows thought, alternate realities are
actualized through induced states of intent; this is the key to
The ancient wise women of
Great Britain used the labyrinth to initiate states of high
perception by continuously running the finger through a carved
stone labyrinthine tablet while
inducing sacred harmonics to initiate the higher state. The template
would be seen, felt, and physically activated until the desired
state became manifest. Indeed, it is possible to recreate these
states of consciousness today.
If you have modeling clay you can construct a tablet labyrinth with
finger canals, or simply use construction paper to create a paper
diagram adhered to a strong backing. Find a comfortable place for
meditation where you won't be interrupted, then ground and center
yourself and begin with voiced clear intent and prayer.
Holding the labyrinth in one hand on your lap, use your other hand
to run the pattern. Take your index finger and lightly follow the
pathway all the way in and out again. Continue this spiraling
movement until it becomes a continuous even flow. When you feel
comfortable with the movement and know the pathway intimately, then
close your eyes and continue the journey.
In the beginning you will
want to consciously access light (color), frequency (harmonic),
energy (chakras) as you make your way through the labyrinth. The
route begins on the third pathway and continues as follows 2, 1, 4,
7, 6, 5, and center, returning in the same reverse fashion.
frequencies are as follows:
Path Color Note Chakra
- yellow - E - Solar Plexus
- orange - D - Sacral Plexus
- red - C - Root
- green - F - Heart
- violet - B - Crown
- indigo - A - Brow
- blue - G - Throat
Center - Oneness
To initiate an
interdimensional doorway hold the image of light and spiritual
emergence firmly in your mind. Begin moving conscious energy to the
various chakra centers corresponding to the Path. This may be felt
in a number of ways including physical and or emotional
manifestation. Pay attention to the subtleties but don't dwell on
the phenomena, make a mental note of your experience and continue on
your way. When you have some degree of mastery over the above,
notice your emotions, thoughts, and any physical manifestation in
your body such as an electrical feeling or vibration.
As you become comfortable
with the movement and layering of imagery begin letting go of
conscious thinking. You may continue the harmonic toning if you're
comfortable with this. Become aware of the feel of energy moving
through your body which may manifest as tingling throughout your
body in your hands, feet, and legs.
As you enter the area of
separation from the physical and unification with the divine you may
sense a rarefied atmosphere, hear tonal frequencies, and notice
energy sensations run through various parts of your body. Relax.
You have successfully initiated a state of altered consciousness
enabling access to various levels of shamanic journey. The next step
is Intention. Do you know where you are going from here? Intuit it
Walking the Rainbow Path
Each path has a number
that corresponds to the chakras,
working with the frequency of each contemplate your question
as you enter, and recieve the solution as you exit.
1: Base Chakra
2: sacral chakra
3: Solar plexus
4: Heart Chakra
5: throat chakra
6: third eye
7: Crown Chakra
Enter on Path 3 - 2 - 1 - 4 - 7 - 6 - 5 - Center
At the opening of the labyrinth take the time to relax and to
clarify your question. Begin your sacred walk on the third path (3)
Yellow, Solar Plexus. Here you contemplate your path in life. As you
turn onto the second path (2)Orange, Sacral Plexus, intuit your
feelings and how you react to your tests or difficulties, and how
this impacts your health, and prosperity. Turn on to the first path
(1) Red, Base Chakra, the origin of your foundation, your physical
world and grounding to the Earth. You continue on to the fourth path
(4)Green, Heart Chakra, your analytical side connecting you to your
spirituality. Turn on to the seventh path (7)Violet, Crown Chakra
connecting with Source (god or goddess) activating the right
hemisphere of your brain, intuition, and sacred images. Continue on
to the sixth path (6) Indigo, Brow/Third Eye quietly listening to
your inner voice for guidence. Turn on to the fifth path (5) Blue,
Throat Chakra, your spiritual inner voice. Finally arriving at the
CENTER Oneness. RETURN along the same path exiting on the fifth path
without judgement, sixth path seeing your truth, seventh path
thanking source in your life, fourth with an open receiving heart,
first path grounding back into the material world, second path
connecting to your physical self, third path fully transformed
Create a 48' Pavement
Labyrinth for Under $10
by Kathy Doore
If you're working on a
limited budget try making a labyrinth out of chalk on a concrete
surface of at least 50' diameter. It shouldn't cost more than $10!
You will need a stick (broom will do), 50' of string, a compass to
find the cardinal directions, a bucket, sponge, water, and lots of
chalk. We realize that not everyone is comfortable
dowsing, so our suggestion is to simply trust your instinct and
place the labyrinth in the best spot suited to your needs.
We prefer working outside
in nature, and dowse for the correct placement of the Labyrinth,
including orientation. It's a left/right brain exercise. The good
news is that once you're actually using the labyrinth, it will
stimulate both hemispheres of the brain, inducing cerebral balance,
as proven in recent medical studies.
Begin by identifying the
center of your labyrinth and the opening, known as the mouth. Use
your compass to determine the cardinal directions so you will know
which direction you have oriented the Labyrinth (it need not be
according to the cardinal directions). Have someone hold the stick
firmly in the center tied to a string. Stretch the string out 8 - l0
feet. This will give you a 16' - 20' center area which is necessary
if you are working with groups. Invariably, everyone will end up in
the center at the same time, so we make the center large.
Begin by walking in a
circle drawing your first ring on the cement. Repeat this seven more
times, each time pulling the string out another 2 feet or so. This
will give you a 24" wide pathway, enough room for individuals to
pass one another.
You now have 8 concentric
circles including the center circle. The size will be approximately
48 feet in diameter. If you are working with a children's group you
might want to color the paths with bright chaulk. Make a Rainbow
labyrinth by beginning with red on the outer band, and work toward
the center as follows, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet,
and white in the center.
You should now be ready
to create the turns, the entrance, and the opening at the mouth of
Draw a straight line from the center down the lower half of the
diagram to the mouth. The turns end up on each side of this line as
you can clearly see in the diagram. Be sure to lightly rub or sponge
any areas of chalk that you no longer need, with a little damp cloth
you can quickly correct your mistakes.
You can also create the diagram on grass with "temporary marking
paint" which will wash off with the first rainfall. Temporary
marking paint can be obtained in spray bottles at any hardware
store. It shouldn't take more than a few hours to complete the
design. Spend the rest of the day enjoying your newly birthed
Drawing the Cretan
Style Classical Seven-Path Labyrinth
Along the Pilgrim's Path to Machu Picchu
River Rock Labyrinth, Urubamba, Sacred
Valley of the Incas, Cusco, Peru
Spring 1997 -- we traveled to Urubamba by way of Pachatusan
Mountain, Peru, on March 23, 1997, during the lunar eclipse with
comet Hale-Bopp overhead, to build a labyrinth for Chaska Sanctuary.
That night I had a dream at the base of the holy pilgrimage site of
Senor de Huanca, and returned directly to Urubamba the next day as
described in my dream. Here I met the owners of a newly opened
resort, and was awarded a commission to install two labyrinth
meditation gardens for the Incaland Hotel. A few days earlier I'd
discovered an obscure 16-rayed Star Petroglyph at Machu Picchu,
which subsequently led me deeper into the Divine Mysteries, with the
revelation of an ancient stone marker denoting a doorway embedded
in the sacred sanctuary of the Incas, Machu Picchu. The story is
featured in my new book, Markawasi:
Peru's Inexplicable Stone Forest.
Grand Turf Labyrinth - Sacred Valley of the Incas
Fire altar in center adjacent to the riverfront.
The Incaland Resort is
located at the base of the sacred mountain, Yawar Maki, facing the
El Chicon glacier, a 45 minute drive from Cusco in the village of
Urubamba situated along the old pilgrim's route to Machu Picchu. I
placed the smaller of the two labyrinths measuring 45 feet in
diameter, near the pool area. It is entirely made of river rock from
the nearby Urubamba River. As you enter the labyrinth the
magnificent El Chicon glacier meets your gaze. The second labyrinth
deemed the "Grande Laberinto" measures a massive 90 feet, and was
placed within feet of the river's edge in a wooded grove on the
outskirts of the hotel grounds. It is positioned facing east,
aligned with the rising sun. The location of the two labyrinths was
established by dowsing the land, asking for the most optimum
placement. My Quechua crew began clearing the land in the
traditional manner with plows and hand tools. Truckloads of river
rock were brought up from the rivers edge to create the paths. The
two newly birthed labyrinths took three weeks to complete.
An additonal finger
labyrinth was painted
on a huge stone oddly sandwiched up high between two large
Eucalyptus limbs. It has the appearance of somehow falling from the
sky. The crew erected a stone base as a platform where guests could
climb up and "finger walk" the labyrinth, making it a perfect
location for reading and afternoon meditation.
A workshop, and evening
walking meditation for the public, initiated the labyrinth. The
local folklorist group arrived in traditional dress and performed
for the 100+ guests. The grand affair included a traditional walk
through each labyrinth to the sound of pan pipes. A bonfire blazed
at the center of the Grande Labyrinth while modern day pilgrims and
their Quechua hosts made offerings to the Pachamama in thanks for
her many gifts.
As descendants of the Inca the Quechua laborers were delighted
to build temples in the Sacred Valley of their ancestors.
One evening, after the
completion of the River Rock labyrinth, the hotel owners joined me
for a short ceremony to initiate the labyrinth. We made our
offerings uttering our prayers, that the labyrinths would serve the
many spiritual pilgrims on their journey. We gazed upward toward the
sacred peak, Yawar Maki, where a newly risen Southern Cross had
appeared as if sitting on the very crest of the mountain itself. The
constellation was soon accompanied by another celestial body -- a
massive, brilliantly lit, white body
of light, the size of two soccar fields. It rose suddenly behind
the mountain, momentarily obscuring the constellation and stopped
briefly. Then shot upward at tremendous velocity, until it was out
of sight. The sudden appearance of the stunning body
of light confirmed
our intent, blessings bestowed. A similar scenario would take place
two years later in the stone forest of Markawasi. In both cases,
guidence was received in remembrance of
the ancient sacred journey.
The Incaland Resort Labyrinths
Near the bustling village of Urubamba
located in the very heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the
Incaland Resort has become a tribute to the Labyrinth. Spiritually
oriented groups stop in frequently to walk the meditation gardens.
Located an hour from Cusco on the route to Machu Picchu in the
Andean sub-tropics of the Urubamba Valley, the Incaland resort is a
peaceful base for one of the most important travel adventures in the
world according to the resort's owner, Nick Asheshov, a retired Brit
and newspaper journalist. For the Incas, the Sacred Valley was the
reflection of the Milky Way and literally meant "heaven on Earth".
Travelers seeking something new will find there is no better place
anywhere to ponder the past and to forget the future than among the
great temple-universities of Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred
Valley. Each of these marvels is just a short distance from the
resort and from Machu Picchu, an hour and a half by train.
Visitors here join the Apus - the Gods of
the Andes, watching their Quechua neighbors till their fields with
ox-drawn wooden ploughs. This has, after all, for thousands of years
been one of the most fertile valleys in the Americas. Daily fiestas,
processions and markets enliven the snow-peaks and ancient terraces
of this Andean Shangrila. A magical labyrinth by the river is a
restful stop on the way through this natural, gentle power center.
In the Sacred Valley the mystical and exotic are everyday.
Kathy Doore hosts
a yearly pilgrimage to the ancient Andean sites of the Pachamama.
Fifteen years ago while on a sacred solo-pilgrimage to Machu Picchu,
Kathy experienced a sudden and profound awakening during
a late night visit within the inner sanctum of Machu Picchu,
bringing her into the work she does today. Utilizing the geomantic
elements of the ancients, and sensing the natural telluric flows of
the earth, she has been led to work with the ancient libraries and
doorways of the Divine-- places
rich in Spirit. Both a natural intuitive and an accomplished
facilitator for journeys of the inner and the outer landscape, Kathy
invites you to join
her in Peru.
The Magic of Labyrinths examines
the phenomena of mazes and labyrinths, looking at their historical,
cultural, and spiritual significance. Profiles several pioneers of
the modern labyrinth genre, including Kathy Doore's story entitled,
The Hero's Journey. Highly Recommended.