Walking the labyrinth

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukFor months it had been on my wish-list to travel the lower part of the Belinus line, another dragon line; perhaps the most significant of all given it forms the “Spine of Albion” (title of the book about it by Gary Bitcliffe & Caroline Hoare), a backbone of dancing yin and yang serpent energy up the central column of the British Isles. Like the Mary and Michael line that I’ve crossed paths with so extensively before, this one weaves and meanders its way through the landscape like a river’s flow, picking up ancient sacred sites, high points and stretches of water like twin strings of beads that occasionally pass through the same pearl only to branch out on their own again; these rhythms influencing the very themes of the landscape where they occur. Picking up this book was an extraordinary moment of revelation for me; my childlike urge to flick ahead through its chapters to trace that route flagging up a lifetime (mine!) spent interacting with some of its most powerful energy nodes at times that made my life what it is today, some of the most potent events of my life ‘story’ having taken place along its route. Seems I’ve been interacting with it for most of my life, along stretches that incorporate key sites from Winchester Catherdral to the Rollright stones and all the way up to the Lake District and Scotland, though never further south than Winchester. Today we planned to address that shortfall; I felt almost like I had been saving it up all these years!

So we headed for its southern-most point…or at least on mainland England given it starts on the Isle of Wight, the female aspect Elen (whose namesake Elen of the Ways I have talked about recently) breathing in through the Nostrils, a pair of caves on the south eastern shore there. That trip was for another day; this time we were heading for Titchfield as a starting point and then heading to Wickham for lunch. We had met the male aspect of the Belinus Line in Wickham on the Mayday weekend, on a trip-out to celebrate my birthday; choosing Wickham because I intuited that the dragon energy of Belinus would follow close to the River Meon there, with its Norman church atop an ancient mount nearby. Turns out I was right but there was something off putting about Wickham… a lovely meal (at the vegan cafe, Offbeet at the old watermill), a good energy in the churchyard (more so than inside the church) but the kind of energy in the town that made me want to hurry through. It left me intrigued enough to want to return; and it was only when the Spine of Albion book arrived afterwards that I discovered the female line also diverts away from Wickham to follow a different course between Titchfield and Twyford. This was why we were starting at Titchfield today.

So we headed straight to Titchfield, notable for having two energy nodes where the male and female lines cross, one at the church and one at the abbey, like twin gateposts as the energy arrives on the mainland. Our plan: to start our day at the abbey cum manor house (now an empty shell) where William Shakespear once practiced his plays in the barn…or at least we tried. Everything on that journey seemed determined to divert us off our most direct route; my GPS kept insisting we needed to travel by motorway, taking us away from the energy line’s route (even though warnings of serious traffic delay on the M3 kept flagging up…) and, in my determination to take the alternate route, we had one or two missed turns or bewildering moments. Direct was not so direct, or so it seemed; the route through villages seemed designed to fox and confuse us at times, with an absence of signage that was sometimes bizarre. Even signs for Titchfield Abbey eluded us as we drew close to the village; as though it was hiding…in fact, the very first one that we saw was as we left the village some time later, by which time we no longer had time to visit. I began to feel there was method in the unexpected way things were turning out today though, at ground level, things were feeling a tadge frustrating.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukBy the time we got to Titchfield itself, I was desperate for the toilet and we now had less time than was ideal before our lunch booking in Wickham. The marketplace of this typical Georgian market town seemed the most likely place to find one…a pub as the hub of all hospitality…but no, a big sign on the door announced “Toilets for guest use only!” J had seen a sign for a WC up by one of the carparks on the way in so we doubled back there…only there was no evidence of the promised loo for all we walked round and around the block twice, asking locals who shook their heads. By now it was urgent and, in desperation, I approached one more person, a silver-haired guy putting walking gear into the boot of his car. He had no more idea than anyone else as to where these elusive toilets were but then, just as we were about to leave, he came rushing up to suggest I follow him to the community centre where he was meeting fellow walkers; that certainly had a loo. In so much gratitude that he hadn’t been prepared to just abandon us to our predicament, as he could so easily have done, I followed him the short drive around the town only to find that the community centre was all locked-up for the weekend. The best this helpful guy could now do was tell us how to get to the abbey in the hope (though it sounded unlikely) that we might find something near there but his description sounded long-winded and I decided to head back into the town, to the very same pub as before. This time I was prepared to go in and insist that they let me use their toilet if necessary; I was on my desperate high-horse and would call on the humanity of anyone who denied me my basic need for access to an essential “facility” in this town that seemed not to have one.

As it happened, I needn’t have got myself so worked-up; a giant rough-diamond of a man, the landlord, came straight over as I stepped into the already crowded lunchtime pub and asked if he could help me. Yes, of course I could use the toilet (he even walked me most chivalrously to the threshold); that rather unwelcoming sign on the door was only there to put off kids who had been trashing the place, he said. In fact he couldn’t have been more welcoming and didn’t even insist I bought a drink in return, as so often happens in these places so I was relieved in more ways than one!

So, it turned out that none of the signs in Titchfield had been all they had seemed on the black-and-white surface of things; the one that announced “WC” in the car park referred to something that had long-ago been demolished as part of a new development whereas the one that said we weren’t welcome was more roar than intention. The gentlest, most helpful and hospitable of all people on this adventure had all shown up in the male form (yes indeed, the male aspect of the Belinus line follows straight down the market place of Titchfield where all of this had unfolded) and all the signs, signals and clues given off by this male aspect were blunt yet lacking in accuracy or diplomacy, though the feeling behind the place was far better intentioned if somewhat misunderstood – maleness to a tee. As my daughter pointed out, our day came back together in front of those oh-so-familiar “male” and “female” symbols outside the toilets in the pub; yin and yang side by side. With a laugh, we felt we were, finally, getting close to our spot!

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukAnd we were right; with our time until lunch now cut very short, we had to give up all thoughts of finding the abbey today (the landlord of the pub said he’s never heard of it!) so we headed directly to St Peter’s Church, that other crossing point of the Belinus and Elen energies. No surprise, this was just around the corner from the pub…in fact, just behind it (as the crow flies, remarkably close to those loos I’d just been to). As soon as I saw the church, I noticed I was almost running to it, my feet quickening as though pulled along by an invisible thread, leaving the others dawdling along behind me. I couldn’t wait to see the Green Man, promised to me by the book, at the threshold but the feeling of anticipation was much more than that; the sight of its short square tower, its mellow stones and something in its energy seemed to be calling me to it; it was even wearing its summer bunting and the light was cascading sparkles around the porch as we got to it. As I wrote about the exceptional church we visited in Stockholm last month, some churches seem heavy with an energy that turns me away at the door; others feel so light I can’t wait to enter them and, just like St Katerina’s, this was one of those.

Yet, as though saving the feeling to luxuriate in a little longer, I chose to walk around the churchyard first, enjoying the roses and the view over open fields, a feeling of absolute tranquility that urged me to slow my pace. There was an enormous yew around the corner that I found myself going straight up to and the feeling of it, the sheer energy I felt coursing through me after I had spent a few moments hugging one of its huge boughs, left me tingling and spinning with light-headedness as I circled the rest of the churchyard back to the front door.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukThat green man at the door was just something else; barefacedly spewing two flows of telluric energy from his mouth, to me his inclusion in the left pillar of the doorway speaks as a clear and deliberate reminder, to anyone open to seeing it, of what flows through this spot. When I entered the church, J was at the top of the aisle, excitedly beckoning me to come and see something and, as he turned and held out his hand, smilingly waiting for me to walk up the aisle to him, I also smiled at the unwitting wedding ceremony we had apparently set-up for ourselves in a place where Elen and Belinus meet. The thing he wanted to show me was the most astonishing marble tomb; very grandiose for a small parish church and there’s a story behind its, notably female, inhabitant. There was also a substantial memorial to a young woman, her father and brother, who had died within three years of each other – the carving of a woman asleep – and it struck me for being such a strong allusion to the sacred feminine (also asleep for the longest time) so my focus went to that more than the grand tomb in the centre. Then, above all of this, the very George and Dragon window I was looking for, from the book…although, while we were there, we www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukjust couldn’t seem to find this window at all, for all we were scrutinising ever pane. Now I have the photos in front of me, I have no idea why…it was patently obvious which window included a dragon, the male triumphantly standing with it coiled around his legs, his sword apparently keeping it in check, and yet it was as though our eyes couldn’t see for looking (how telling is that) while we were there in front of it. Perhaps what threw me so was that the armour-wearing male is partnered equally with a female counterpart, another very typical depiction of the sacred feminine…in this case, bearing a sprig of leaves instead of a sword and getting her way (no doubt) here through the employ of musical instruments, a soft smile, flowing fabrics. Was this a reminder that there are always two ways to tame a serpent; that, when the male and female aspects come together, a full-spectrum of options are available for achieving the energetic outcome we have in mind. Perhaps, this place is reminding us, we get to work with the serpent energies the most effectively of all whenever we bring so-called opposing sides or opposites together in collaboration – male and female, yin and yang, left and right…etc etc.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukSo we headed off  to Wickham, at last passing the sign for Titchfield Abbey on the way as we left for our next destination. Over a lovely vegan lunch at Offbeet, the most notable turn of events was that my dog refused to sit down in the shade by our table because – we eventually worked out – he could sense the fast moving waters of the Meon right beneath the tightly laid wooden slats of the decking we were on and so he stood spread-toed and shaking, a great lion-hunter of a dog (a ridgeback) reduced to a quivering mass by the energetically charged current that he couldn’t see, but could sense, beneath his feet. Yet we later walked down to the water’s natural edge beside the woods and he bathed happily enough in one of the emerald-hued shallows under the trees; it was just that feeling of being stood over the narrow, focused and highly-charged impulse of the millstream (water redirected from its natural course through a narrow space to create a powerful force for industrial purpose…male impulse to a tee) that he really didn’t like. In fact he was so unnerved by it that it made him jumpy as hell…paranoid, actually… which was quite fascinating to behold (if not conducive to a relaxing lunch). Perhaps this was something of what I felt last time I was here…

The next part of our plan was to rejoin the female aspect of the line and trace it back to our ultimate stop, St Catherine’s Hill just outside of Winchester, where the male and female energies cross again to form an incredibly powerful node, perhaps the most powerful in all England based on how significant Winchester is in the energetic power grid. On the way, I was hoping to find one or two other nodes on the Belinus Line, the first being the tiny “old” church (later replaced by a new one in a different location) at Botley, so ancient and presumably pagan in its origins that it is apparently aligned with the summer solstice sunrise. The book was clear that this was well tucked-away down a lane still called Church Lane and behind some farm buildings yet, as slow as we took it along the long single-track route past hoards of wedding guests, walkers and sunbathers, we didn’t manage to spot anything that looked like a sign of the old church and would have had to park up and delve further to find it. Given our timings, we decided to leave that one for another day and continued on to Twyford, where I clearly saw the Victorian splendour of St Mary’s on its high-up spot (this one rebuilt by my old www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukfriend Waterhouse – famous for London’s Natural History Museum – with whom I’ve crossed paths many times, not least by lived in one of his buildings as my university accommodation for two years and then getting married, the first time around, in one of the two local town halls that he designed). Though a Victorian re-build, St Mary’s still has Elen passing through and the wall incorporates an original stone carved with an early cross within a circle. However, St Mary’s (or perhaps Elen…) was teasingly elusive and her spire disappeared off the horizon until we had been swept past her on the main road so, again, given the time we decided to press on. Then the Hospital of St Cross looked spectacular as we drove past and even more so from the top of the hill; this is where Elen is said to meander through the water meadows…lured off her most direct path, the book speculates, by Henry de Bois who established it there; and he is one very intriguing character, someone who certainly had connections with Chartres with it famous labyrinth. However, this only makes St Cross so intriguing that I really want to do it justice so we decided to make it the focus of another trip. By now, I was very eager to get to St Catherine’s Hill, which felt like a late afternoon rendezvous not to be argued with.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukAt St Catherine’s Hill, we just missed the last car park spot as so many people were using it as a base for their walks along the river but this circumstance came bearing gifts a little later. We walked the short distance from where we left the car in the road and set about the steep climb up steps and slopes to the top; and I’m not sure who was struggling most, me or our dog who dislikes hill walking until he gets there and goes mad with the exuberance of reaching a summit. Half way up, a shriek came from my daughter, up ahead, as a sizeable slow worm (she thought, a snake) slithered beneath what would have been her natural footfall had she not swiftly turned her next step into a leap and I smiled at the serpent emissary who thought it necessary to come out in daylight to remind us whose hill this was and that we were here for more than just the splendid view. At the summit, my husband signalled to me to stop talking and tread softly…and there, in the most perfect woodland glade against a high earthwork bank that made the trees into a ‘v’-shaped valley with light pouring in from the far side, we were blessed by the presence of a red deer who stood and locked eyes with us for the longest time; such gentleness of spirit wrapped up in a form built for beauty, grace and agility. I felt so blessed by this encounter and bowed my thanks, knowing with everything in me that I had that just been welcomed in at the “doorway” of the hilltop by Elen.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukAs well as being a double meeting-point of the Elen and Belinus lines this hill, with its expansive views, is known for having a rare turf-cut labyrinth at its summit, its origins and antiquity lost in the mists of time but certainly dowsed by Gary Bitcliffe to indicate that it is a meeting place of the male and female energies at its very centre. It surprised me just how quickly we were upon the labyrinth once we were out of the trees but then, also, how indistinct it had become compared to images I had seen of it online and even on the information point at the base of the hill, being now covered in all its summer vegetation to the point of almost not being there at all. I laughed at the obvious parallel with our morning’s journey; the lack of clear signage that had, at once, put us off yet made the journey feel so much more meaningful when we got there.

I was forced to dredge my mind’s eye for the “map” of it that I had so recently scanned in my book back in the car and then took a punt at where the entry point was, veering to the left (as I seemed to think the layout had suggested…and also mindful that my impression of it was that it corresponds with the left and right hemispheres of the brain on an, I assumed, “opposites” basis…and I felt wanted to “do” the right hemisphere first). The grooves seemed to be the path rather than the raised turf and these were surprisingly hard to follow, taking great concentration not to wedge the foot in so hard that it stuck or twisting your ankle on uneven ground made lumpy by clumps of wild flowers. Its sharp 180 degree turns became mesmerizing as we got into the rhythm of them and yet there was none of the reverent silence that I expected to do this in; all three of us chatted as we followed our path, turning into one of the most powerful metaphorical conversations I can recall us having as a family as we each  noticed the life-parallels of what we were being taken through the experience of by these hypnotically turning and twisting paths.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukSome of the most obvious metaphors that surfaced related to how, though we started off separately and at different paces, we ended up converging as we got closer to source, finishing off as a sort of human train and those at the “back” not so much choosing where to go as following the back of the person in front…as humans are wont to do. Then there came the point where my daughter found me too slow and wanted to be ahead of me but felt, she admitted, really awkward asserting that desire…so I had to reassure her “that’s fine, overtaking me is what you are meant to do at some point…its just the way of things” (with a glance at each other, this was when we knew we had gone a level deeper, in our conversation, than we originally thought). “But what if I end up very far ahead, I’ll feel like I’m all alone; I might look around and you might not be there anymore”. “That’s also meant to happen…but its alright, I’m never very far away”. I also noticed how, at the times we were actually furthest away from each other as measured by the route of the path, we were often very close to each other, almost touching even, in terms of actual proximity…as though parallels, or portals, connecting different stages of the journey had grown stronger than the timeline itself…a truism I have come to know in this life and across the many lives that I experience as touching across these portals. Through it all there was this one constant, drawing you forwards, that you knew you were heading for the centre and that we would all meet up there in the end.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukWe were really touching upon some universal themes as we put one foot in front of another (this is a mere sample from the tip of the iceburg) and, while we were part-joking as we had this dialogue full of double entendres, we also knew we were discussing some of life’s fundamentals and it was an oddly affecting conversation to be having as we walked the mesmerizing route. There was a distinct sense of something altering, that things wouldn’t ever be quite be the same again; I almost felt a little panicked at what this would mean for me and our relationships with each other (the kind of panic-wave that so often proceeds an expansion beyond what we have become accustomed to, which represents safety). Certainly, there was a sense of performing a rite of passage and I feel strongly that this is what the labyrinth was intended for; that the turns and twists of it, as they so-rapidly alternate your direction, are intended to assist you in transcending the hemispherical barriers in the brain, softening the rift between left and right to where the divisiveness dissolves completely, taking you towards an experience – however temporary – beyond duality. I was reminded of a passage in Barbara Hand Clow’s “The Alchemy of Nine Dimensions”:

Often symbols precipitate in the mind’s eye that awaken cellular memory of the geometry that holds our bodies in form. These symbols vibtrate with very complex geometry, and as your body moves along the paths, the geometry also vibrates with sound waves. You can feel the land sing, which melts you into an ethereal knowing.

Certainly, as I approached the centre, my mind felt like it was exponentially expanding and its substance unpeeling like one of those apple spiralisers uncoils the substance of an apple and then, was I tricking myself, as I made the return trip it felt more like it was coming back together again, returning to its human version…if somewhat altered by the experience. We sat down in the centre and regrouped…with each other and ourselves…and there was certainly something about this spot, a sense of a meeting place, or was it now reflecting back something about me? Yet I was also surprised at how briefly I decided to hang around there; at how quickly I desired to be back on the pathway again and this told me something important about the active desire for all the twists and turns of life; to be in the current of it, having the variable experience of the journey.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukMy mind tried to tell me I was now favouring the left hemisphere as I made that return journey and I seemed to find the path more difficult to follow (or was I being more exactling…thinking about it too hard), like when I try to dance, draw or even cycle leading from the left; all clumsiness because I try to make the inherently instinctive into a cerebral thing . Again, circumstances played out as a metaphor of this very thing as a surprise jogger came right across the labyrinth as though it wasn’t there at all (for him, it wasn’t) and my dog started chasing and jumping up at him, all teeth but no bad intention; another male misunderstanding delivered with too much vigour. As I suddenly had to “wake up” out of my reverie to be the responsible dog-owner and call him off, half expecting the jogger to be angry (he wasn’t), I felt all rattled and shaken out of my zone, just as I do when something “happens” in real life to wake me up out of my meditative bliss-zone, to drag me from sleep or my painting or even the gentle way I prefer to live my life. I felt like I had to re-enter my body way too quickly and I didn’t like it at all; I never like it when that happens and always prefer to be more out of my body than in it, if I’m honest (which tells me a lot about my health challenges). When re-entry happens too abruptly, it always feels like I crash land straight into a defensive mode, expecting to have to protect myself, to take up arms (how many lifetimes have conditioned me to be this way?); as though I am Doctor Who landing in a hostile place and having to think on my feet. I knew this was a timely demonstration of something important for me to witness about myself; that I was being given an opportunity to soften my response to landing back into my human focus, to see it is just another version of the same labyrinthine route, only in reverse. I was treading the paths of both Elen and Belinus here  (they both enter and leave the labyrinth from different angles yet both lead to the same central spot) and that they cross over again and again on the Belinus line; I could emulate this in my own life-journey if I could only remember the feeling of it in my cells.

On the return journey, my daughter was no longer waiting for me but streaked ahead (she was getting nimble-footed at this) and, at times, was in a completely different place to me whereas, lightheaded from the first half and having stumbled once or twice, I slowed myself right down to what suited me better…yet this felt like a timely readjustment of our roles. The degree to which I was now having to think about where to place my footing was tell-tale about how I struggle with those aspects of life where I have to engage with a more rational world; its true, I don’t find myself so comfortable there…but by taking it at my own pace, enjoying the experience of it, I got there without any desire to take the shortcut and just walk away from the path. In fact, I found I really wanted the whole journey of it, every twist and twiddle of it to the end, breathing in the memorable experience of it for the ride; which was telling beyond words at this point in my own life-journey and how I feel about all the years up ahead. I had come to realise that this aspect of the journey (you could say, the journey of fully embodied humanness) was now just as important to me as the spiritual journey “back to source” that had so long been a priority to me.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukYes, life is a labyrinth…I know I mentioned that recently in another post. Just like the twists and turns, the unexpected corners of our walks around Copenhagen and Stockholm, I came to realise the true magic and the alchemy taking place in my world happened because of the blind and unexpected corners, the surrender to the unknown instead of demanding that life have a plan. In walking St Catherine’s labyrinth, I saw that, however overgrown and confusing that route had become at ground level, there was always a higher design to everything and, really, no room for accidents or mishaps when taken one step at a time following the clue right in front of you. As in my own life, the more bends and unexpected twists or turns I encountered, the more my overall perspective softened, returning me towards a wholeness that welcomed me in and delivered a reunion with all the fragmented parts of everything, including of myself. Around some of those sharpest of corners, we find all the multidimensional aspects of ourselves come together and stack up one above the other, like stepping on an axis point between our many layers that explodes us into a broader reality that holds the potential to blast us out of the most pervasive cul-de-sacs of our experience as seen at ground level. These heightened moments…the kinds you can never plan to have…shift us through walls that may once have seemed impenetrable and show us a completely new landscape on the other side. This was what St Catherine’s Hill walked us through.

When my daughter’s description of the route we had travelled turned out to be completely different to mine – we literally pointed to the same path and described the route it had taken us in a completely different way – that was fine too; that is just how life is, no two perspectives are meant to be identical. Surrendering the need for everyone to agree, to be on the same page or see things in identical ways is something I gave up long ago and this path seemed to restate it for me; I doubt anyone ever has quite the same experience there as someone else or even nearly!

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukMy labyrinth experience felt complete and we headed for the inner sanctum within trees in the centre of the complex where the male and female lines cross again to form a vesica pisces with the centre of the labyrinth; the classic vulval shape that seems to suggest the rebirth held in potential that is ours for the taking wherever polarities come close enough to reflect each other back and forth, cancelling out as they merge (I suspect the one-time temple on this site might have been somewhere in that vicinity). At least, I found my special spot and held it long enough to enjoy the magical light beneath the trees. The later Norman chapel on this hill was dedicated to St Catherine; was this because this site was once considered to be the centre of a spider’s web or a wheel of energy, sending its energetic spokes out across the land? Seen far down below from the place I next walked to beyond the trees, I could see Winchester where the Belinus route travels through Winchester Castle, with its King Arthur Round Table (another spoked wheel) hung on the wall; a place I recently visited when I met with a treasured old friend that I hadn’t seen for many years and also a place I first went to on the same summer trip that I made the momentous decision to go to a university in the south of England (to a building designed by Waterhouse) all those many years ago. Then, Winchester Cathedral where Elen and Belinus meet once again; a place that has played a key part in some of the most significant and long-reaching (if not always great feeling…at the time) twists of my life. I felt some of my own “spokes” meeting here as all the synchroncities came together across the meaningful landscape of my life and nodded my acknowledgement over the edge of the hill in Elen’s wake before taking one last circumnavigation of the hilltop and sitting down to enjoy the summer view.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukWay way down below, on the opposite side to the labyrinth but where Belinus first joins the hilltop, a thickly coiling snake cutting through chalk hillsides was made up of near-stationary traffic still stuck on the M3 motorway; the multi-coloured cobra that I had refused to allow squeeze the joy out of my journey here that morning. Ninety degrees or so around, from St Cross Hospital below, Elen arrives up here on the western side from the glistening river that resembles a long silver ribbon woven between trees and green pasture; a vision of summer time’s best landscape. From up high, both motorway and river have their serpent-like qualities and, equally, their part to play in our modern world as versions of “pathway” and “life source”; and my vision is for a world where we make ample space for both and neither at the expense of the other.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukThe walk back through the wooded glade on the hill-edge was no less magical than before, although “Elen” didn’t appear this time; she didn’t have to, we wore her inside of us. When we reached the foot of the hill, that river was like the good friend that greeted us with much back-patting and twinkling eyes from all our thirsty exertions; it was looking wonderful and was a replenishing sight. In the golden mellowness tinged with silver lights as the sun started to descend over the watermeadows, we watched a family with giggling children climb into a silver boat and start their wending journey between summertime’s lush banks, so low and slow they could drag their hands in the water and clutch at the reeds. We took a small diversion into that meadow to enjoy the play of sunlight through thick summer foliage and then walked the route along the road to where we had left the car. As we almost reached it, a pair of butterflies came right to us and wouldn’t leave us alone; seemed quite determined to dive bomb our faces and hair, to brush past our cheeks and then circle and www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukcome down to us over and over again. They were clearly playing with us and, I suspect, very newly out of the chrysalis with all that reborn zest for life that comes with discovering you now have wings. We felt a little like that too; felt just so blessed by the whole experience, even by the motorway that, now miraculously clear of its heavy buildup of Sunday traffic, allowed us to take ourselves so swiftly home again.

Recommended reading

  • Spine of Albion – Gary Bitcliffe & Caroline Hoare

This is the book (refered to frequently as “the book” in my post and from which I have taken all information as to where the Elen and Belinus routes are located) that I have used as my guide to this walk and intend to use for many others. It has, more fully, explained some of the reactions I have had to many other points upon the Belinus Line which, it turns out, I had been travelling along and experiencing some of the more bizarre yet often game-changing dramas of my journey, quite unconsciously, for the larger portion of my life. Highly recommended for its detailed maps and descriptions of the entire extent of the line including the six cities that it crosses. Gary Bitcliffe is a researcher and investigator of ancient sites, earth mysteries and lost knowledge who has lectured widely in the UK and led International groups around Britain’s sacred sites as well as writing articles for journals and magazines.

  • The Alchemy of Nine Dimensions – Barbara Hand Clow

This book, which I’m currently reading for the second time, has been a game-changer for me, enabling me to “know” at the intellectual level what I realise I was already experiencing at the super-conscious level yet struggling to make coherent sense of until this fell into my hands. In relation to this post, the chapters that deal with the fifth and sixth dimensions touch upon labyrinths a great deal and help us to understand how these dimensions are bridged into our third dimensional experience in ways that can be acted upon, for instance using a labyrinth to access the higher dimensions, which (as she mentions) has been typically attempted at places where telluric energies are strong. She defines  labyrinths as “advanced topographical knots that we can enter, walk to the centre of, then walk back out, and emerge”; that is, emerge expanded or, perhaps, better connected to our multi-dimensional selves. They are an “ideal pathway through life’s maze” and so, perhaps, they help us to feel our way through our actual day-today maze once we have got the feel of them having “discovered our inner self while rebirthing consciousness”.

  • The Genesis and Geometry of the Labyrinth – Patrick Conty

I confess I haven’t read this one (yet) but this is from the back cover on Amazon: “A groundbreaking look at the phenomenon of the labyrinth, connecting this ancient symbol to modern scientific principles – Illustrated with a multitude of labyrinths throughout human history – Demonstrates why the labyrinth goes beyond the maze and how it is a tool for interpreting ancient myths and religious beliefs – Draws parallels between the labyrinth and quantum physics, showing that through the secrets of the labyrinth we can unlock the mystery of life itself “Patrick Conty’s fascinating study brings us face to face with the enigma of unity and reminds us that its most archaic expression-the labyrinth-begins and ends in ourselves.” The powerful symbol of the labyrinth exists in countless cultures spanning the globe from Africa and ancient Greece to pre-Columbian North and South America. For centuries they have been used for religious meditation and spiritual and physical healing. In the labyrinth humanity finds a model of the quintessential sacred space that depicts the most profound levels of consciousness. For many cultures the center of the labyrinth exists simultaneously in this world and the invisible worlds, providing us with a doorway into other dimensions of reality. Conty explores not only physical labyrinths but also reveals how the same transcendent principles are at work in Celtic knot work, the designs of Pueblo pottery, geometric patterns in Islamic art, and contemporary painting. The author shows how the geometry of the ancient labyrinth corresponds exactly with known geometric principles, illustrating that today’s most recent developments in math and physics parallel the discoveries of ancient civilizations. By looking at how these ancient and modern world views compliment each other, The Genesis and Geometry of the Labyrinth provides an axis for exploring the multidimensional truths of the labyrinth and shows us how the labyrinth is the ultimate map to guide us through the mystical nature of the universe. Patrick Conty is a painter who has been researching labyrinths for more than thirty years. He lives in France”.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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4 Responses to Walking the labyrinth

  1. Pingback: Leading me up the garden path | scattering the light

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  4. Pingback: On track for non-duality: healing the rift by walking its path | spinning the light

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