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Symbolic Meaning of Labyrinth

Thursday, January 24th, 2008



The symbolic meaning of labyrinth is also associated with the various symbolic meanings of the spiral  in that we can trace our footsteps (both metaphorical and literal) back to and from the Source (center or core).

Labyrinths have been used for ages.  Native Americans used the labyrinth as a symbol that represents birth, rebirth and/or transition from one world to the next.  Specifically, as a Hopi symbol,  labyrinths are depicted with a cross near the center which represents the four cardinal directions and their attributes.  The spirals encircling this compass are symbolic of the waves or cycles of creation all of life experiences.

 On a philosophical level, the symbolic meaning of labyrinth is as complex as the symbol itself.  With many twists and turns, the labyrinth does not share its secrets easily

On the surface the symbolic meaning of the labyrinth deals with:

  • passage of time
  • spiritual growth
  • enlightenment
  • connection to source
  • rebirth
  • resurrection
  • emergence
  • evolution
  • progress
  • spiritual path
  • initiation

The labyrinth can be a powerful tool for inner enhancement and development.  It is designed specifically for this purpose.  When walking the labyrinth, we find our perspective constantly changing.  Our vision and physical bodies are never facing the same direction for long.  This is a technique to coax our inner knowing out from within.  

Further, the spiraling inward motion is a physical replication of our spiritual tendency to seek within the highest truths in order to find eternal freedom.  When we are moving outward from the source, it is an action that we have made the divine connection and now we are expressing our completeness outwardly – essentially sharing our highest good with all around us.

It is important to note that walking the labyrinth (mentally or physically) is not intended to be overly challenging.  There are no dead-ends with the labyrinth, only meandering waves of smooth lines designed to gently nudge us back to our destination. 

This is where labyrinths are often confused with mazes.  Big difference.  Mazes are designed to challenge intellect and strategic skills.  Whereas the labyrinth is an exercise in soul development.

Just thoughts.

There are plenty of labyrinths in Nature we can observe as an effort to encounter a richer understanding of the complexity of our consciousness.  Animals have helped me a great deal in meandering through personal cycles.  Here are a few animals associated with the labyrinth…maybe they’ll guide you too:

Further reference:

Symbolism of Spiral

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Symbolism of the Compass – Meaning of the Four Directions

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Symbolism of the Compass. Meaning of Cardinal Directions


One of my readers asked me about the deeper meaning of the four directions (north, south, east, west).  Specifically, she was given a powerful mandala, and wanted to know in which direction would be most auspicious to hang the mandala in his home.  My response follows…

Dear Coordinated Coordinates: 

Excellent observation.

We can honor and enhance the attributes of something (such as your mandala gift) by placing it in an area that is aligned with appropriate energy.

Different cultures have assigned different meanings of cardinal directions.  Here are a few brief samples of directional energies and what they represent to various cultures:

In Chinese Feng Shui, each direction correlates to the Chinese zodiac animals:

  • North =  Rat: Adaptability, charm, creativity, sociability, wit.
  • East = Rabbit: Trust, sincerity, love, compassion.
  • South = Horse: Physical strength, health, adventure, loyalty.
  • West = Rooster: Confidence, business, energy, persistence.

In ancient Celtic symbolism and tradition, the cardinal directions were acknowledged in several ceremonies and festivals.  Handfasting ceremonies and other earth-based belief systems (pagan) still honor the directions today.  Here is a brief outline of these directional representations:

  • East = air, communication, new beginnings, new growth
  • South = fire, energy, passion, creativity
  • West = water, emotion, psyche, movement
  • North = earth, home, security, fertility

In certain divinatory practices the directions represent time phases:

  • North = Infinite Possibility (no-time)
  • South = Present – Now
  • West = Past
  • East = Future

Native Americans have their own meanings of cardinal directions.  The Lakota, for example hold to the following guideline:

  • North = wisdom/thought
  • East = salvation/spirit
  • South = beginnings/purity
  • West = conclusions/fullness

I’ve written a feature post on Navajo and their meaning of the four directions here:
ative-american-symbol/http://avenefica.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/navajo-medicine-wheel-a-powerful-n

The astrological zodiac provides yet another aspect of the four directions and their symbolism:

  • East = Earth corresponding with Taurus
  • South = Fire corresponding with Leo
  • West = Water corresponding with Scorpio
  • North = Air corresponding with Aquarius

In conclusion, I would encourage you to meditate upon your purpose with the placement of your special gift.  Ask yourself “what are my intentions?”  Invest the time to determine what you truly wish to accomplish.

I’ve only given you a brief background on multiple resources here.  Ultimately only you can decide what is meaningful in directional symbolism.  Trust in your ability to soul-navigate effectively and you will know where to put your mandala in order to achieve the results you are wanting.

I trust this information helps you on your path.

Brightly,
Avia

“There is only one guaranteed, no-risk, high-yield investment and that is SELF-investment.” ~Anguis

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