Walking the Seven-ringed Labyrinth
Ancient and considered to be essentially feminine,
Labyrinths come in many designs, shapes and forms. They are found carved into chalk hills (
The Labyrinth experience, therefore, tends to be personal. What follows is my own personal experience combined with some knowledge of the seven major chakras and the interpretation of these chakras by Caroline Myss from her book, Anatomy of Spirit.
For me, a stretch, a salutation to the sun or the moon, depending whether the walk is done in the day or at night, works. A few deep breaths, even a yogic sun-salutation will help focus the mind on the breath and slow the internal chatter.
The entry to the labyrinth usually leads me into passive contemplation, whereas the return seems to be a chance to make active, intentional choices and begin transformations.
The second outer ring of the Labyrinth corresponds to the Second Chakra. It is a ripe place for meditation about my sexual relationships, how I deal with money and power. I also tend to examine my competitive nature.
The first outer ring, equivalent to the Base Chakra allows time to examine and identify the part of our knowledge and behavior I picked up from my culture as a child. At that time I did not have discretion to know which of these ‘tribal instructions’ is useful, which is not?
The Labyrinth next winds into the central
circuit, the Fourth Chakra, equivalent to the
The seventh, innermost, ring that follows the fourth corresponds to the pituitary, the Seventh or Crown Chakra. Here I glimpse how the universe is ordered and see my role in the Cosmos. As the shortest circuit, it reflects the short time I spend being conscious of my Cosmic role.
The next ring corresponds to the Sixth Chakra. It is the center of my relationship with the essence of all things outside of me. This is the Third Eye. It is the power center of my intentions and the place from which I conduct my relationships through the Heart Chakra.
The last ring of the Labyrinth corresponds is the fifth, or Throat Chakra. With the heart connection open, it is here that I choose the rules I need to live by, it is through my throat that I am able to voice my personal Truth, and show leadership without being carried away by my ego. Intelligence of the Heart means that I harm neither myself nor others.
The center of the Labyrinth is a place of rest for the body, mind and soul. When the Labyrinth is large enough to form a large center, I have seen many people intuitively lie down upon reaching the center. When I tried that, I immediately felt that I had become part of the earth. When I opened my eyes, I felt part of the sky at the same time! It was a good place to contemplate how each chakra affects my life and how we, especially those with whom I shared the Labyrinth Walk, affect one another!
The Labyrinth has transforming power. Leaving the center and unwinding along the circuits of the Labyrinth actually continues this transformation so that by the time I exited, I have proposed changes and actually changed my perceptions of the world I live in and the people with whom I interact.
The Seven Rings Unwinding
The way out from the center, therefore, can be pro-active. The path leads directly from the center into the fifth ring, Throat Chakra: here I can discern what my personal truths are that I am willing to speak publicly, without fear of what other people will think of me.
In the Sixth Chakra, the Third Eye, I can establish the two-way intuitive, heart-centered relationship I wish to have with other people.
In the short inner circuit of the Seventh or Crown Chakra, I ask for divine guidance to be a citizen of the universe in addition to being a member of my community.
On the fourth circuit out, in the Heart Chakra, I can call upon the Intelligence of the Heart to mediate between my lower and upper chakras so that I neither harm myself, nor cause harm to any other people. I ask for the wisdom of knowing that balance.
Walking the longest ring, I have time to specify which First Chakra cultural myths I prefer to hold on to, which ones to discard. Now that I have discernment, I can identify those tribal rules through which I can remain true to myself.
Rounding the Second circuit again, the Second Chakra, I ask for harmonious, win-win interactions in all my relationships, personal, business and sexual. I acknowledge that ambition, competitiveness and pushiness always leave someone a loser.
On the final ring, the third Chakra, it is quite appropriate before exiting the Labyrinth to re-think my personal identity: how do I want to re-present myself to the outside world so that people can see, or at least feel, my soul, not just a projection of a persona?
When I reached the exit, I turned around and gave thanks for the experience. I asked that whatever changes occurred - whether or not I was conscious of any of it during the labyrinth walk - might show up in my everyday life.
The Labyrinth has the shamanic power to change reality for the duration of the walk. If even a tiniest fraction of that changed reality enters our subsequent everyday life, it was well worth it.