Friday, January 4, 2008

Labyrinths & Birth Art

Several years ago my mom and I attended a session about labyrinths at the Speaking of Women's Health conference in Columbia. They have a small labyrinth on the grounds of Boone Hospital. Labyrinths are not mazes. There is only one path to the center and the same path back out again (though the route is circuitous). They can be used a walking meditation, a spiritual pilgrimage, a metaphor for life, prayer walks, healing, balance, etc. There are several historic churches with labyrinths on their floors and apparently there is a move to include them on the grounds of hospitals as a tool for healing and renewal. More about labyrinths here and an example of one of the many books on the subject here.

This summer my mom built a labyrinth on their property (in a dry pond bed, which is the perfect recessed nook for a labyrinth--it has a bank around it that separates it from the rest of their place). Special people in her life have contributed rocks for it and she adds them to the "inner circle." This picture was taken shortly after she completed it and it has changed somewhat since then--different bench, etc. Anyway, she has really created something special and it has a palpable sacred energy there. It is also the most effective walking meditation tool I've experienced. Anyway, I hadn't walked it in a while because I'm always "too busy" to take a few moments to do so. Over the Christmas holiday "break" in normal routines, I was able to start taking a daily walk on it again. L made a finger labyrinth using beads and sculpey for my mom for a Christmas present. It turned out so good, I decided to make one for myself!

This picture shows the detail on my little finger labyrinth. It was really fun to make.

All my labyrinth walking and sculpey labyrinth making further inspired me to draw two womb labyrinths. I have long wanted to learn how to draw a labyrinth like this and have found Pam England's LabOrinth concept a really powerful metaphor for the journey of birth. So, my fabulously talented husband figured out how to draw one of that style and then showed me how--he is a much better "visual" learner than me and he just stared and stared at one that Pam drew and then said, "I think it is drawn like this" and drew it--starting with a complicated system of concentric circles bisected by lines in a way that I never would have figured out on my own. My brain doesn't "see" like that. It was cool. I felt like he was a genius to figure it out! :-) After he showed me what to do, I caught on right away and drew this one:

And then, thinking about two pregnant friends of mine and about a song we sang at a blessing way for one of them, I drew this one:

I had SO much fun indulging my creativity a bit that week. I forget how fulfilling it it is make something. I've let a lot of my crafty-energy disappear after having children and sometimes it is so nice to create something pretty that I can hold in my hands. Of course, having children certainly requires the use of creative energy and is also creating "something pretty" to hold in my hands (and hug, and tickle, and snuggle too! What a bonus! ;-), but there is something about just simply making something you like and that you can finish in an hour or so that is just FUN. The thrill of creation AND completion!

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