External Tools For Listening to Your Inner Guide
by Sig Lonegren
Why is there so much interest in labyrinths among the dowsing community? In the last five years, this interest in labyrinths has exploded among dowsers on both sides of the Big Pond. In Britain, Feather Anderson's talk to the British Society of Dowsers annual gathering several years ago has ignited an intense interest in these magical single-path mazes in the BSD. I don't think it would be possible to go to any gathering of the American Society of Dowsers without encountering at lEast one, if not two or three, labyrinths. I'm sure that there must be a similar interest in the Canadian Society of Dowsers. In recent years, the consciousness of labyrinths has moved from traditional interests like where are they, what is the math behind their construction, and who might have built them, to much more personal practical implications. As we (re)discovered with the pendulum and other dowsing tools several decades ago, we have now (re)learned practical ways of using labyrinths as problem solving devices for real questions in our own lives. Dowsing and Labyrinths are both tools of divination. There are other connections as well.
The Meander and the Labyrinth
There are several links between labyrinths and water. The word labyrinth comes to us from Caunia in South-Western Turkey. It was a Greek colony, but the words "labyrinth," and "labrys," the double-headed axe much admired by feminists today, both come from a culture that was there before the Greeks arrived. And this was a matrifocal culture. A time, as Merlin Stone put it in the title of her seminal book, "When God was a Woman." It is in Caunia that we also find the Meander River. There is a form of art from the Eastern Mediterranean called the meander. It is also known as the Greek Key:
Meander or Greek Key
As I have shown in my book,
"Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses,"
if you imagine a hinge on one end
of the meander, it fans out into a labyrinth.
The Classical Seven Circuit (left-handed) Labyrinth
Anthropologist, Archaeologist and wise Crone Marija Gimbutas found that this meander pattern goes back to the Bird Goddess of Old Europe, an area that she defined as covering the Balkans down through Albania and Southern Italy and Sicily. Dr Gimbutas traced the Bird Goddess and this meander pattern through the stratigraphy of Old Europe back to at lEast 15,000 BCE! Would it be an understatement to say that that's a long long time ago? That's back when Cro Magnon was painting pictures on cave walls! When God was a woman.
Fourteen-thousand years later, the Greeks colonized the Meander River shortly before the time of Christ. They gave us the meander pattern, which they renamed the Greek Key. They also told us that "to meander" meant "to wander aimlessly." That is not what's going on in a labyrinth. To the left brain, it may look like that, but in addition to being beautiful to the eye, like her sister-in- divination, dowsing, these single-path magical mazes are also excellent tools of divination.
It looks like the Greeks didn't have the key after all. They didn't have a clue. Ariadne convinced Daedalus, designer of the Cretan maze to give her the clew - the ball of yarn. She did have the key. The Meander River
The Meander River is special. All other meandering rivers are named after this one. In the geological cycle of a river, meandering happens at the end. It is something a river does after it has ground out the mountain into a valley, and then carved the valley wide enough so that it can finally snake back and forth on its way to the sea. Meanderings are done by the old ones in Water's cycle. The Element Water is feminine. Perhaps labyrinths are a tool of the Crone, or wise old woman?
Meanders and Water Meandering is actually a very efficient way of traveling when there is not much drop in elevation. Moving from side to side. Theodore Schwenk writes in "Sensitive Chaos" about the work of hydrological genius Victor Schauberger. Schauberger studied flowing water in all of its forms including the meander. Schwenk writes, "A meandering motion lengthens the course of a river and thus slows down the speed at which it flows. In this way the river bed is not hollowed out, the ground water reserves are left intact." (Schwenk. p 18.)
Used as a metaphor for walking a labyrinth, the path slows down the speed at which you walk or flow over a longer distance In this way, your passing is not so abrasive to the path, and you do not draw from the reserves outside yourself. They come from within.
Water and humans meet in sacred space. She is always underneath. Below. Her juvenile waters surface as Holy Wells. Water is our Mother's blessing. (I just can't live without it!) Old, wandering, flowing water carries labyrinth energy. What Wisdom can She bring us?
The Water-Drawing Power of Labyrinths
Recently various dowser/labyrinth builders have been reporting the primary water drawing-power of labyrinths. Marty Cain, John Wayne Blassingame and I have all noticed this. Others are telling me of this as well: After their construction, primary water appears to be drawn to new labyrinths that are being used in a conscious manner. (That last bit is very important - the conscious human interaction is critical.)
I found this primary water connection at a wonderful stone Chartres-type labyrinth at a Norman Castle in South Western Wales. I have written about my work there in previous articles in MAG E-zine To recapitualte, it's builder, Elizabeth Sulivan, is a good dowser, and her work there has been checked by Major General Bill Cooper, President of the British Society of Dowsers. She had found several wells for her farm. When she began her project, Mrs. Sulivan had found no significant veins of underground water at the point where she dowsed that the labyrinth should be located. It took two men two years to build. Mrs. Sullivan dowsed the location of every single stone in the wall. Towards the end of its construction, Bill Cooper found that there was a dome moving under the castle towards the labyrinth. (As far as I understand, this is supposedly a geological impossibility. Yet, "it seemed to be happening.") Several weeks later, when I arrived at Mrs. Sulivan's castle, I dowsed a dome of water under the goal of the labyrinth, and five veins, one of which exited out the mouth of the labyrinth! (See "Endnotes"for more information.) This is the pattern that I have found at older classical-type labyrinths like the ones in Sweden. The important thing here is that it seems that there might be a special attraction between labyrinths that are being consciously used, and primary water.
Dowsing, Labyrinths and Water
Dowsers spend much of their time checking for water anyway. Of course water well dowsers look for it. When most people think of dowsing , that's what they think of - its connection with finding good drinking water. But there are other dowsers who are also interested in primary/juvenile water. Dowsers who are in to healing seek underground veins of water that course under homes and offices. Students of the Earth Mysteries also find this water in certain repeating patterns under sacred sites all over the world. So it should come as no surprise that so many dowsers would also be interested in labyrinths - which also have such strong connections with this very necessary Element.
When we begin our journey on that spiritual path that becomes our pilgrimage, as we seek to know the spiritual realms, certain external tools can provide instructive and safe ways for the spiritual pilgrim to move safely between the realms. Both labyrinths and dowsing tools can provide this protection and support. Ultimately, of course, it becomes necessary to give up the tools entirely; however, I've been dowsing for thirty-five years, and there still are many times when I prefer using my brass pendulum rather than my "inner" pendulum.
As with dowsing, it is possible to walk the labyrinth without actually being in one - to do it in your head. It might be called using your "internal labyrinth." But the power and focus gained from actually walking the path of a real labyrinth are not to be easily dismissed.
Both dowsing and labyrinths are tools that can enhance our intuition when making important decisions. They are tools that we can use today. They are external tools that can help us to begin to hear our Inner Guides on the path.
Labyrinths Drawing Water: I have written my findings in "MAG E-zine," the electronic magazine of Mid-Atlantic Geomancy.
Lonegren, Sig. 1996. " Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses," Glastonbury, Somerset, England: Gothic ImagePublications. ISBN 0-906362-35-0
Schwenk, Theodor. 1976. "Sensitive Chaos: The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air." New York: Schocken Books. The work of Victor Schauberger.
Stone, Merlin. 1976. "When God Was a Woman." New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Seminal work, for me, on this subject.
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