Casting a labyrinth

An out of the box ceremony, right in the dirt and leaves

Trying to come up with a seriously good piece of symbolic ceremony can be a hard task these days, when your auspicious date is just around the corner. Some of us might want to hurl some blame at chaos magick for making it so fashionable to construct your own 21st century rite, which can lead to all sorts of intensive design-thinking and crafting appropriate sensory triggers. The planning can wind up greater than the actual event and some wiser folks are truly well-wise in sticking with the time-honoured traditions and the artistry that goes with them. Unfortunately I’m not a traditional type and coupling that with every attempt to be innovative with little time to do so, I find myself in the awkward position of reaching an equinox or a solstice with not much heed for the celestial patterns of the great hour, the appropriate egregores and/or materials of note. Suddenly one winds up with quickfire traditions of their own to compensate, conscripted piecemeal and repeated like a favourite TV season.

My go-to in marking out these special times or in a simple case of boosting life along (I’ll get to this later) is to working with something the late Vincent Bridges presented in his discourse The Unified Field of Gnosis. The transcript of this which is available online covers the pattern of the 9-point labyrinth and it’s wiring into a whole seemingly disparate templates of meaning, so I won’t try and restate it in my own ways as it’s rather worth reading. But with a whole glossy world of occult and new age practices built around flimsy correlations of anything to everything, Bridge’s particular research work here is surprising in doing exactly that and presenting a perfectly reasonable pattern to work with in terms of traversing a microcosm of self through macrocosms of life and reality.

Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral

Labyrinth walking has a long history and has been often used to help build connections with the soul or with god. The Cretans based a labyrinth around the seven sacred planets of that time as well as other correspondences of seven, as well as the parable of Theseus going to the centre of the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur, leading him to take his father’s throne albeit tragically. Cathedrals would also have labyrinths for the devout to perform an inner pilgrimage, if the journey to Jerusalem was not possible for them. Sometimes you will even see these in the grounds of churches today. Here, this version of the labyrinth deals with ancient geometries as well as deftly weaving in Leary’s 8-circuit model which is a favourite of ours.

The whole pattern is easy enough to cast in terms of material, with there being just a need for marking out the nine points with rocks and drawing the pattern in the dirt. The spot I typically use is a power sport charged by people before my subsequent use of the location with drawing in the dirt through the leaves & pine needles with my shoe, the points secured by pine cones. The only other things, which I insist on always, is a brass incense burner which is doing exactly that and a good soundtrack from decent portable speakers. I typically rely on simple banishing measures which is a glowing white-gold light clearing meditation in “the crown” often augmented by qigong training I’ve had, these being at the beginning and end of the actual walking of the labyrinth itself. The walking itself is a simple procedure, unless you haven’t marked your lines properly by being slack. Attention is required for the moment and that goes as much as for getting ready as it does for the doing, every time a dollar I say. The reaching of the centre is typically met by raising your palms upward and focussing on something worth manifesting; if you’ve gone for something self-serving then you’ve missed a few points and will miss some of the full benefit. There’s even a WikiHow that covers the basic premise.

It’s very important to have a proper heartfelt licence to depart ready to declare after the final “banishing” portion of the rite. All sorts of things can be attracted to ceremonies like these. One night time ceremony we had our only significant torch blow its bulb as soon as we finished after a possibly lazy rendition of a licence to depart, leaving two of us relying on the LED lights on a city council-supplied “rape whistle” to get down the worn dirt track of large forested hill. I now really think the city council should provide synapse-suppressing anti-rapist strobe lights instead. So I stick with this and if you do too, take note of the birdsong (if there are birds) of when you’ve done this.

The labyrinth I created for the autumnal equinox
The labyrinth I created for the autumnal equinox
The entrance of the labyrinth for participants
The entrance of the labyrinth for participants

The effects of this I can only put to words as a sense of “harmonisation” in the days following such a rite, with degrees of effortlessness and fluidity in one’s day-to-day life. This is distinct from outright synchronicity when performing actual, intensive ceremonial symbolic rites which may or may not involve a labyrinth walking as this can be combined for further effect in whatever you’re doing. But all I can say is give it a go and see what you make of it.