What is a Labyrinth?
The labyrinth has long been considered a place of magic and introspection. Labyrinthine designs have been found in nearly every major religion, and are an integral part of many ancient cultures. Labyrinths have been found all over the world. They are, in essence, a magical geometric shape which helps define sacred space. A labyrinth is not the same as a maze -- there is only one path in, and one path out.
During the period of the Crusades, wealthy families often built a labyrinth as a way to represent the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Today, they can be built and used by anyone as a tool of reflection and prayer. You can make a labyrinth out of just about anything -- planted flowers, shrubs, or stones for a permanent structure, string or sand or cornmeal for a more temporary one.
When walking through a labyrinth, your body tends to turn back and forth - first you're moving right, next you're going to the left, with a 180 degree turn each time. This causes you to shift your awareness from the right side of the brain to the left, and then back again. It is believed that this is one of the reasons why a labyrinth walk can induce varied states of consciousness.
The Labyrinth as Problem-Solving Tool
To do this meditation, if you don't have access to a labyrinth, you'll need to construct a simple one of your own. You can mark out your labyrinth with tape, string, or paint on the ground. If you're doing it outside, consider using a trail of birdseed -- it doesn't damage the grass, and the local wildlife cleans up for you afterwards.
Once you've marked out your path, take a moment to meditate on what sort of issues you would like to resolve in your life. Ostara is a time of balance, so one of the great uses for this meditation is that of finding polarity and solving problems. Consider for a moment what problems -- either physical, spiritual, external, or emotional -- you would like to find a resolution for at this time. As you walk towards the center, you will begin working out solutions for your problem.
Take your first step into the labyrinth, walking slowly. Stop after each step, and think. Become aware of your surroundings, and what lies before you, and what lies behind you. Begin by thinking about not only your problem, but what you think of it on an intellectual level. Explore how the problem has come to exist, from a non-emotional standpoint.
As you continue to walk, move on to how the problem makes you feel. What emotions does it bring about in you? Do you find yourself unable to make rational decisions when you're dealing with your problem? What is it about this problem that brings about such an emotional response within you, and WHY does it effect you so much?
As you begin the third part of the journey, move on to how your problem effects you in your physical world. Are you running out of money because of a bad job? Do you have someone in your life who is hurting you? Have you become ill because of your problem?
Continue walking slowly, and examine how the problem has effected your spiritual needs. Do you feel as though you are at a loss in your spiritual path? Does it inhibit your growth as a spiritual person?
As you approach the center of the labyrinth, it is time to begin looking for solutions. If you have a patron deity, you can ask them to take the problem into their hands. You can ask the universe to help with a solution. You can ask for a vision to guide you -- whatever choice works best with you and your faith. As you reach the center, ideas will begin to come to you that will help resolve your issue at hand. When these visions arrive, accept them without questioning or judgment -- even if they don't make sense right now, you can analyze them later on. Meanwhile, accept that a solution has been given to you by a higher power.
Stand in the center of the labyrinth. Ask yourself, "What is the first step? How may I make this solution come to be?" Take some time to just stand -- or sit -- there, and let your solution sink in. You have completed the first part of your journey -- the reaching of a resolution. When you are ready, start making your way back out of the labyrinth.
The Return Path
As you take your first few steps from the center, consider the solution you were given. Look at it in a non-judgmental way, and think of it logically. Is it something you can make happen? Even if it seems difficult or hard to achieve, if you set yourself a goal, it IS obtainable.
Continue walking towards the exit, and keep thinking about the answer to your problem. Consider the deities or other higher power which provided you with this answer. Do you believe they have your best interest in mind? Of course they do -- so be sure to thank them for taking the time to pay attention to you and your needs, and for helping you reach this state of awareness.
As you continue to walk, consider once more your spiritual life. Will this solution allow you to grow or learn spiritually? Will you feel more whole spiritually after the solution has been implemented? What about physically? Will your body and health be affected in a positive way once you begin working towards this resolution? How does the solution make you feel on an emotional level, and how will it effect the negative emotions you felt about your problem in the first place?
As you approach the end of your journey, try to look at your solution from a logical, non-emotional perspective. If you work towards this solution, will it resolve your problem? While it may create more work for you, and be difficult to obtain, will the end result ultimately be worth the effort of making it happen?
Once you step out of your labyrinth's path, take a moment to once again thank the deities or higher power that assisted you. Think, as well, about how you feel as you emerge from the labyrinth. Do you feel lighter, as though you have truly found a way to resolve your issue? Take a deep breath, recognize the new power that you have, and get to work on making the necessary changes in your life!