If you’re suffering from the heavy snow plaguing the country just now and are feeling a bit depressed about the weather, or if your kids are bored with building snowmen and you’re looking for something else to entertain them, why not make a snow labyrinth? They look great, give you a real sense of achievement when you’ve made one; and then of course you have a labyrinth that you can walk again and again – at least until the snow melts.
Constructing a snow labyrinth is a little trickier than normal. Usually when drawing a labyrinth, you construct it from an initial ‘seed pattern’ like this:
But that approach draws the walls of the labyrinth – and that’s not what we want in snow. We’ll be shuffling out the path in the snow with our wellies or boots, so we need to draw just the path on its own – a pattern known as ‘Ariadne’s thread’ after the clew of golden thread given by Ariadne to Theseus as he entered the Cretan labyrinth in search of the Minotaur. To do this, we need to know the order of the different circuits in the labyrinth and the sequence in which they are walked.
If we call the outermost circuit 1 and the goal of the labyrinth 8, the order that the circuits are walked in is, 3-2-1-4, 7-6-5-8. The first part draws the outer section of the labyrinth, the second part the inner. It’s not that difficult to do as long as you remember to leave enough space for the sections that come after. For this example, we’ll work with a left-handed labyrinth, but the instructions apply equally well to a right-handed one (although obviously the directions would be reversed). Let’s take it step by step:
The first circuit you walk is number 3. You need to make the circle diameter a wide enough to accommodate all the inner circuits. For simplicity, let’s assume that the width of the path and the space between each circuit is the same size. So if we say that each section of path or ‘wall’ is one unit wide, that means that dimension a needs to be at least 19 units across (8 path widths, goal area, and 10 walls). It doesn’t matter too much if it’s larger than that as it just means that the goal area will be larger than normal; however if it’s any smaller than that you will have trouble fitting in the rest of the circuits.
The next bit you need to pay attention to is the turn onto circuit number 2. Here you need to leave enough space between the entrance path and this turn to allow another circuit between them – so dimension b needs to be 3 units.
The next section is straightforward; walk circuit number 2 anticlockwise back round the outside until you get to the entrance path again, then turn round and walk circuit number 1 clockwise. This is the outermost circuit.
You can see how the gap we left at b allows the path to pass from the outer to the inner circuits. Now you can walk circuit 4 around anticlockwise, just inside of path 3.
When you get round opposite the entrance path and turn onto circuit 7, you need to assess how much room is left, which will determine the size of the central goal. Circuit number 7 is the one that delineates the goal area, but you need to leave 5 units at dimension c, to accommodate circuits 5 and 6. This is the trickiest bit to get right, but don’t worry if you leave too much space – it’s better to leave too much than not enough.
You might have enough left in the centre to expand the goal area into a circle, or you may choose just to leave it as a line – it’s up to you. If you have a really large space, perhaps you could build a snowman in the centre! It’s also possible to walk this around a central feature like a tree or bench if you plan it correctly.
If you’ve done everything properly, your finished labyrinth should look like the diagram on the right. Here you can see all the numbered circuits – to make it easier to see the sequence, the numbers are placed at the start of each circuit. To reinforce the path in the snow, you can ‘shuffle’ your way back out of the labyrinth and perhaps make the route a little wider on the way.
Why not decorate your labyrinth with some snow sculptures or other offerings – some berry-laden branches, some holly, Christmas decorations, or perhaps candle lanterns so that you can walk it in the dark? You could also make offerings to the genius loci in the goal or, if you are walking it with children, place some goodies like chocolates in the goal for them. Another good place to decorate the labyrinth is at the nodal point where circuits 3,4, 7 and 8 meet. You will pass this four times as you walk the labyrinth, so it’s good to have something here that you can touch as you pass – maybe a pole or sign, or a plinth with some goodies on.
Here’s one I made in my back garden – this is a right-hander:
Walking a labyrinth with intention is a sure-fire way to lift you out of any winter blues and make you feel better. If you have an issue that needs resolving, just think about the various aspects of the problem as you walk the different circuits of the labyrinth. Usually a resolution will come to you as you walk. If you are just feeling down for no particular reason, just let your mind drift as you walk the labyrinth. If nothing else, you will most likely feel much calmer about things after your walk; and after making a snow labyrinth you’ll definitely feel warmer! That’s the magic of the labyrinth, and that’s why they are such wonderful transformational tools.
Grahame Gardner is a professional dowser and geomancer specialising in house-healing work involving geopathic and technopathic stress, and the creation of sacred spaces. He is listed on the Professional Register of the British Society of Dowsers, and served as President of the Society from 2008-2014. He is also a founder member of The Geomancy Group. This article is from his personal blog Western Geomancy.
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