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Locating & Building Your Permanent Labyrinth

Get Flash If you cannot see the animated dowser to the right, you will need to install Adobe's Flash player to be able to see a number of illustrations in the rest of this section.

Location, Location, Location

Now that you know how you might use one, how do you go about locating and building one in your back yard (or anywhere you might have the space)? While I would hasten to add, there is no correct way to do this, here is how I would go about it. (If you do not yet dowse, please check out our Dowsing Section. You will need this skill.)

Begin by going to the place where you actually have enough room to build one. You will need your dowsing rods, a tape measure and some sticks to mark various places, plus all of the various tools you will need to make the labyrinth of your choice - you might want to make the walls with rocks or cut a turf labyrinth for example.

For the purposes of this exercise, let's say that you want to build a Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth. Mine in Vermont is about twenty-two feet (approx. 6.5 meters) across. This is absolutely as small as you should make one, and if a number of people will be using it at once, I'd make it closer to thirty feet (approx. 9 meters) in diameter, or bigger still if you have the space.

 

Sig's labyrinthin winter
Sig's Turf Labyrinth in Vermont in Winter
  Sig's labyrinth in summer
Sig's Labyrinth in the Summer


Let's quickly review the basic terms we are going to use.

The first thing I would do, would be to speak through my pendulum to the Spirit of that Place - every place on Earth has its local genius loci, or spirit. Tell it what you have in mind, ask if it is ok to build a labyrinth there, and I would offer the spirit something - pennies in a holy well are a remnant of this idea - offer what feels right - a penny, a flower, some of your spit - your essence -so the Spirit will know how to find you if the space is misused.

The process of locating a labyrinth requires both left and right brain activity. When you have permission, next thing to do is to gain a clear understanding of exactly how much room you have. Here is a plan of a back yard that we will use for this exercise:

Garden
 

Let's say you want to make your turf labyrinth with a diameter of twenty-five feet (8 meters +/-). This would give a radius of twelve and a half feet - let's call it thirteen feet (4 meters +/-).

This means that within the space you have chosen, the goal of the labyrinth can not be closer than thirteen feet (4 meters) to the edge of the space. Mark this more limited space with sticks (in the illustration, with a dotted line.

Garden sticks
  The labyrinth must have its goal (middle) somewhere within this smaller area. Otherwise, the entire labyrinth wouldn't fit in the space available. Of course, the goal of the labyrinth can be closer to the centre of your lawn - just not further out.


In Mid-Atlantic Geomancy (MAG), we talk about energy leys and underground water as being found at the center of any sacred space. The probabilities are that while there might be a vein or two of primary water under your available space; very possibly there will be no energy ley. If there is such a power center within your smaller area you have defined, by all means, locate the goal there; however, as you very well might not have these Earth Energies in your back yard, you need to dowse for the best place in that space *for you* to have the goal of this labyrinth. Unless you are already skilled at working with them, don't worry about the Earth Energies.

The important thing is what's the best place for you!


This is done by dowsing and triangulation. Stand anywhere within the smaller space you have defined with one L rod out in the search position. (We'll call this "Point A.") Say to your rod, "I want you to point to the best spot for me to locate the goal of my labyrinth." Note that line.
 
Now go to any other point on the lawn within the allowable space for your labyrinth, (Point "B") and do the same thing again. Say to your rod, "I want you to again point to the best spot for me to locate the goal of my labyrinth." Turn around slowly. The L rod will seem to stick in one direction. Note that line.

Triangulation

Where the two lines cross is the point where you need to locate the goal of your labyrinth.



Dowsing for the goal from Point A

Garden

Go to that point with two L rods, and they will cross over the exact spot. (Point C) This is where you should locate the goal of your labyrinth.



Dowsing for the goal from Point B

Orientation:
Locating the Mouth/Entrance Of Your Labyrinth

There is no right way of doing this. One thing to be clear about, although it could, you don't necessarily want to put the mouth of the labyrinth so that it is oriented to the back door of your house - i.e. the shortest distance from the house! That's your left brain speaking. The only group of labyrinths that I know of that have a specific location is that many Viking age labyrinths are oriented to the Summer Solstice Sunset, but really, you have a number of different choices.

Horizon


You can choose to orient the mouth in the direction of a significant horizonal feature like a round barrow on a nearby hill, a mountain peak, or a church spire. You can orient it in one of the Cardinal Directions using a compass and correcting for magnetic deviation. You can orient it towards the Summer or Winter Solstice Sunrise or Set. If you want to do this, check out MAG's Orthographic Projection section. Or, you can let your intuition find the best orientation. Stand in the goal and say, "I want the best orientation for the mouth of this labyrinth." Just as with triangulation, turn around slowly with one L rod in the search position.

The L rod will seem to stick in one direction. Have a friend mark that direction with another stick. You now have the information to locate and orient your labyrinth.

  Yard
Starting at point C, the dowser seeks the most appropriate direction for the mouth of the labyrinth.   The labyrinth in the garden.

Building your labyrinth

Seed patternNow to build it. Let's say that you happen to have a lot of fist to head-sized rocks, so you're going to mark the walls with them. First lay out the center cross of the seed pattern so that it aligns with the major axis, or orientation that you have already chosen.

CubitYou then need to figure out how wide your paths will be and how much space your walls (the rocks will take). Find a stick with a branch that goes off at roughly a 90 degree angle, and make one length what ever width you want. You might consider using a cubit - the length from your elbow to the tip of your extended middle finger for the width.

Holding the stick like a golf club, you can then use it to measure the width of all of the paths. Using your "cubit club," lay out the "L's" in each of the four quadrants, and then the four dots. I think it's easiest to go this far using yarn and sticks.

7 path

 When I've gotten this far, cover lines, angles and dots in the yarn seed pattern with rock walls.

Again, using your "cubit club," to measure the width, build all of the other walls just as you would do with pencil and paper. You can use this same technique to dig out a turf labyrinth. You can choose to dig the paths or the walls and leave the other grass/turf. I dug the path out with mine, and have filled it with bark chips. Nice on the feet, keeps down the weeds, and most important, by raising your blade a notch or two, you can mow it with your lawn mower!

Maintenence

No matter what kind of materials you use to make your labyrinth - up to and including paving stones - it will need maintenance. Rock walled labyrinths need weed whacking, turf labyrinths need weeding and mowing, paved ones will shift, and weeds will grow up between the stones, etc. Know this before you begin. Maintenance is built in part of the obligation you incur when building a sacred space like this - otherwise, unlike a stone circle, dolmen or temple, it will very quickly disappear.But used regularly with love, a permanent outdoor labyrinth will bring you a lifetime of growth. If you have any questions or if you encounter any difficulties, please contact Sig.

Enjoy!

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