Lavender and the Labyrinth
I was blessed this month to be asked to lead yoga and walking meditation sessions at a beautiful Lavender Farm just north of Port Hope. It brought together two incredibly powerful creations: lavender and the labyrinth. I have to say, lavender entered my life, in my early days as a doula. Known for it’s ability to induce calm and tranquility by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, a precious bottle of lavender essential oil followed me to every birth.
The Labrynth followed shortly after, through the wonderful workshops of Pam England, as a metaphor for our journey through birth and the first year of our babies life. I was so moved by this offering and reminder of the labyrinth as an archetype and ancient symbol representing our walk through life and how well it describes the experience of moving through transitions (births) of all kinds.
At a time when we are yearning for new ways and perspectives on how to prepare for birth and be in parenthood I invite you into the sacred space of the labyrinth, placing one foot in front of the other towards the very centre of your deepest self, to emerge back out into the world re-born and connected to a greater understanding of who you are.
The labyrinth (unlike a maze) has only one path. The way in to the centre, is also the way out. You don’t need to problem solve or plan your way through. There is nothing to figure out or way to get lost. Where mazes demand left brain activity; analytical, logical decision making to find your way through all the twists and dead ends, a labyrinth simply requires that you place one foot in front of the other. This winding, unicursal pathway represents the physical, psychological, spiritual journey of birth.
The opening of the labyrinth, represents stepping through the threshold from the known into the unknown. A place that is in-between two worlds. It asks us to let go of old ways of being, of habitual thinking, comfort, old identities, ego and to step into the Mystery, the unfolding of the new and that which has never been.
As we step through and forward, the labyrinth asks us to Trust the process, all of it, every last dark and light corner of it. Trust the optimism with which you begin your journey, trust the feeling of how close the centre feels, trust the disorientation that might set in as you turn a corner and feel like you are going backwards to where you began, trust the potential doubt or feeling of being lost, the fear, the impatience, the unexpected, the surprises. Expand around ALL of it and place the next foot forward.
The labyrinth in the photo above has seven circuits. Seven-circuit labyrinths seem to be the most commonly used and found across the globe.
Seven is the symbol of mystery, it carries the vibration of learning, wisdom, completion, balance, stoicism, determination, enduring hardship and fighting without faltering.
Pam identifies seven thresholds or gates that we pass through during labour that correspond to the seven thresholds all initiates journeying through a rite of passage move through; The Gate of Great Doubt, Great Faith, Great Love, Great Determination, Mother Intuition, of Holy Terror, and of Deep Surrender.
The Centre of the labyrinth is a place of deep reflection and gathering of wisdom before turning to journey out and back into the world. As an analogy for birth, it is the place that we meet our baby. Now with babe in arms, we wind our way back through the labyrinth, returning to the world, transformed by our journey in. According to Pam, the journey back out of the labyrinth represents the year or two following the birth of our babies. The winding pathway represents the complex emotional, psychological, spiritual journey we are on as new parents.
When you exit your Laborinth, when you cross the Threshold and return to ‘your life’ you will bring something new into your life that will serve you and everyone you touch. (from When the Labyrinth become a Laborinth by Pam England)
If you are interested in joining me for an exploration of The Labyrinth as a tool for preparing for birth and parenting or as a tool for meditation and connection to your deeper self, send me an email. I would love to explore this ancient symbol and all the rich teachings and breakthroughs it can bring, with you more!
P.S. For those of you itching for more history and meaning of the labyrinth, here is a great link.