The labyrinth is an old structure of varying construction and complexity, but generally is circular in shape, with meandering paths that resemble, roughly, a spiral. Unlike a maze, which has dead-ends or false paths, a labyrinth has a single path to enter which ends in the center, with the same path traveled in reverse to exit. The term “labyrinth” dates back as early as 5th century BC, when the Greek writer and traveler Herodotus described an Egyptian labyrinth situated across from the City of Crocodiles. It has also appeared prominently in Greek Mythology via the poet Homer, when Daedalus and his son Icarus “invented” a labyrinth to trap and hold the Minotaur. Later, it was appropriated by Christians and used as a symbolic journey for those that could not travel to complete the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Even today, many churches still host labyrinths on their grounds.

The motif of the labyrinth has a long history. Depictions in rock art may date back as far as 10,500-4800 BCE, and can be found from Nevada to Cornwall, from Lancashire to Spain.


Today, labyrinths are primarily used as a spiritual tool, whether as a walking meditation or for prayer. Symbolically, the labyrinth is said to represent the journey to the inner self, and the subsequent return to the outer world. My first real introduction to them was via my friend Anna, who had a long-held fascination with them and later built one on her land. When she came to visit me for my first wedding anniversary after my husband’s death, I wanted something different for us to do, something that held meaning. I found a list of local labyrinths and we chose a few to walk.

“The point of a maze it to find its centre. The point of a Labyrinth is to find YOUR centre.”

Author Unknown

I remember that the first labyrinth we walked had a cardinal, which my family associates with “visits” from my husband, sitting on a tree right at the edge, singing loudly. Perhaps that, as well as my wedding anniversary, opened me up to a very particular lesson. As my friend and I walked the labyrinth together, I noticed that it held so many messages related to my journey with my husband, and relationships in general. As we walked the paths, I found that my friend and I were occasionally very close to one another, and then a moment later at opposite ends of labyrinth. Sometimes we walked on adjacent paths going in the same direction, other times we were walking in opposite. And no matter how closely we walked one behind the other, it was impossible for us to both arrive at the center at the exact same moment, although we could choose to wait for the other in that sacred center.

Later that night, we decided on the spur of a moment, after a large dinner with friends at my husband’s and my favorite restaurant, to return to the labyrinth, all five friends walking the paths together. The lessons above were reflected in an even deeper sense, namely that it’s impossible for us to walk the same paths at the exact same time. Occasionally we walked in tandem, sometimes in opposition, sometimes close together in the labyrinth, sometimes far apart on opposite ends. Sometimes someone stopped for a moment to reflect and another would have to scoot around them on the narrow path. One friend insisted on walking across the paths rather than following them, which drove another friend to distraction. Mostly we alternated moments of quiet reflection with uproarious laughter, and finally we gathered in the center together, arriving singly, but waiting there together in beautiful unity.

Copyright Sheila Rumble / Rowan Holistic Health & Wellness
“Friends Walking the Labyrinth”
“Coming Together at the Center of the Labyrinth”

In the almost year since that day we walked together, I’ve only visited any of the local labyrinths perhaps a handful of times, but they are often on my mind. I’ve walked an approximation of the them on my land in ceremony, and my friend and I talk often about me constructing one here on my land, and then linking ours together energetically (as hers is linked energetically to another friend’s.) We envision a network of labyrinths, linked together in harmony and power, and in which we can meditate in synch. Recently, in working with someone on a shamanic journey, the labyrinth came into play as a wonderfully powerful initiatory and closing location, inside which the journeyer felt safe, empowered, energized and psychically clear.

For me, the impetus to construct my own labyrinth has become stronger and more imperative. There are many considerations including pattern (of which there are many), location, and materials that allow for easy maintenance. I decided, because it’s been awhile since I last walked a labyrinth, to visit one of the local labyrinths, new to me, to see if I might gain some clarity. Below are the notes and insights from my visit.

The Labyrinth @ The Oratory in Rock Hill, SC
Approximate Pattern of the Labyrinth
Labyrinth, as seen from the Outer Circle on the Back Side (Opposite the Entrance)

“…It makes me cry, I want to talk about something I am not sure I can talk about, I want to talk about the inside from the inside, I do not want to leave it. I am so happy in the silky damp dark of the labyrinth and there is no thread”

― Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea

When I arrived, I said a small prayer before entering, “Let the wisdom of the labyrinth be known to me. May I be clear and open enough to receive it. May I be humble enough to understand it. May I be strong enough to integrate it and then pass it on.” On my first entrance onto the path, I noticed immediately that I entered on an intermediate circle, which wound progressively outwards to the outer circle, then back to an intermediate path, then circumventing the center (but not arriving at it), moving outward again, and then arriving, quite unexpectedly, in the center. (I would encourage you to trace with your finger the 2-dimensional depiction above for yourself so that you can actually visualize what’s happening.) I wrote:

We are born, we enter at the mid-point, where the inner and outer worlds are evenly matched. But we are quickly taken outward; the ego grows. Larger, larger. Suddenly there is a contraction to the inner, the essence of the self, of truth. Very close to the center but cannot enter, not yet. Taken back out into expansion, where inner and outward are equal, in balance. Suddenly, we are at the center, at the essence, the TRUTH.

Another similar note:

There is process of constant movement: Balance – Expansion – (Re)Balance – Contraction – (Re)Balance.

Later, there’s a specific point of the labyrinth that seemed to trigger a particular response from me on each pass:

Tight Turn in the Labyrinth (as seen in relation to the whole)

In regards to this particularly tight turn, I wrote this:

You are so close to the center, so close to the truth. But then there’s an uncomfortable, painful turn, and you are carried away from the center, sent further out than you care to be. You can’t help but to be lost in your thoughts during that circuit; distracted. How did it get away? It was so close. And then without warning, you’re there. One turn and you’re in the center, in the core of your ESSENCE, and TRUTH.

I made a total of seven passes through the labyrinth, often sitting in the center for some moments to seek guidance and messages. On one, I was told, “Remember who you are. Your strength, your wisdom, your gentleness, your wholeness.” On another, I was instructed to pick up a rock while in the center. I, without deliberately choosing, picked up the white rock on the left in the picture below. I exited the labyrinth and was instructed to pick up another rock from the entrance area. I, again without deliberate thought, “happened” to choose the rough, dirty, oddly shaped rock on the right. If we consider that the labyrinth represents the self, with the outer rings representing our human soul, the inner circle representing our spirit, or innate essence, it’s fantastic to see how the rocks appear to reflect or symbolize this: our human selves are often rougher, dirty, and somewhat oddly cumbersome. Our inner selves, however, are beautiful, smooth and polished. Both, however, are sturdy, useful objects, both made of the same materials.

Some other interesting insights from my day. Time in the labyrinth seemed to pass slowly. I noticed several times that my thinking, time-driven mind, kept getting impatient, saying, “This is taking soooo long, for me to get to the center, and then back out.” Because you never seem to be in the labyrinth where it seems like you should be! Rather resembling, for me at least, the passing of time, and events, during life. Another thing I noticed is that, because the paths were gravel, the faster I walked, the more I seemed to struggle because the rocks kept shifting beneath my feet. My journey was much simpler and more stable, the slower and more deliberately I walked. For me, the lesson reflected in these thoughts is this: the less we rush in life, the less we focus on where we think we should be, and focus instead on the next step, taken with consciousness, the more pleasant, productive, and stable our lives become.

Some other interesting things that happened; about halfway through, sometime during my 3rd or 4th trips, beautiful bells started sounding somewhere on the church grounds. During my fifth pass, an event must have started at the church. Suddenly, what had up to that point been quiet, started to build with car doors slamming, people walking past, in ones and twos to start, but later a large progression as the group moved from one building to another. A very private, introvert by nature, I had the inclination to stop and leave. But, feeling strongly that seven was the number of cycles I needed to complete, I ignored the distraction of all the people and continued walking the path. We must walk our path even when others are observing, even if uncomfortable in being witnessed.

Another interesting event rather resembling the tight, uncomfortable turn I talked about above; on my sixth (next to last) trip through, a neighbor to the church let their dog outside. It heard me walking the path and went absolutely bonkers. The entire trip through was loud with the dog barking and it felt chaotic and decidedly UN-meditative, as the dog was obviously upset by my near presence. This lasted the entire 6th pass. As I exited the labyrinth, the owner took the dog back inside and suddenly all was quiet and peaceful once again. I found it so curious that another example manifested of the “chaos before arrival;” just as with the turn above, just as I was so close to the end, it all seemed to become uncomfortable. But on that final lap, as I arrived at the conclusion, it settled back into place.

Finally, on that last trip, as I was exiting and on the very outer ring, I suddenly heard, for just a few moments, loud and extremely beautiful Gregorian Chanting. It was so sudden and unexpected that I literally stood stock still on the path listening, even after it stopped, hoping that it would resume again. (It didn’t.) What a magical note (no pun intended) to end on!

Very tiny flower at the entrance of the labyrinth

If you have a labyrinth near you, I encourage you to check it out sometime. It’s a wonderfully peaceful, enlightening experience. If you’ve already had the experience, I’d love to hear more (via comments below)!


What apologies are you still waiting for?

It’s an easy thing to say we need to practice forgiveness, but it can be a hard thing to execute. Sometimes just getting the apology we’ve been wanting is the pivot point to moving forward into resolving and releasing the resentment. Desired apologies can be easy to identify when we consider ourselves to be the victim. But if the event exists in the shadow layer of our psyche, we may not even be consciously aware that we’re waiting for an apology. What happens when we have resentments that we’re not even conscious of? And how do we get apologies from people that are unaware, unwilling, or just not around to apologize to us?

Forgiveness and a subsequent letting go is critical to our health and wellbeing. Every time we hold on to a resentment, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we create an energetic sinkhole in our biology. This means that a substantial portion of the energy we have coming into our being gets diverted into our resentments. This leaves our physical body depleted of the energy it needs to stay strong, focused, and primed for repair. Over time, we may find our sleep disrupted or excessive; we may begin to eat foods that are calming (comfort foods) or quick energy boosts (sugar, caffeine) but that lack nutritional value; we may turn to substances, such as alcohol, that give the illusion of “all is well;” or we may begin to act in compulsive ways that ultimately sabotage our longterm wellbeing (excessive shopping, engaging in relationships that we know are not in our best interests, and other risky behavior).

Forgiveness, quite frankly, is the most SELFISH thing you can do. Because it is the GREATEST thing you can do for yourself.

Caroline Myss

Just a reminder, please do not dive into any event that still triggers you in extreme ways without the assistance of someone qualified to provide you with support.

Forgiveness does NOT mean you condone what’s been done. What it DOES mean is that you have released the energetic charge of the event. This often only happens once you’ve attempted to change your perspective in such a way that you might be able to understand what might have compelled the events that occurred. Most often, people get really hung up on the why and how of the event. How could someone do that to me? Why could they do something so hurtful or horrible? Those answers are often impossible to obtain. Even if we can ask those answers, the answers we get often do not make sense to us. In order to get around this “hook,” we can switch the questions slightly. Could you imagine ANY circumstances, no matter how unrealistic or repulsive, in which you MIGHT have acted in such a way? Obviously, this can become difficult the more damaging and violating the precipitating event was, so by no means is this exercise easy to do. More generally, you might reflect on times where you yourself were hurting or in pain, and in turn, inflicted pain on another, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Just changing the focus of the why and how questions often allows the hook to release in such as way that we can move towards release and healing. The most humbling of truths is that we are ALL, at one time or another, capable of inflicting pain or hurt on another human being. (!! Please note, this is NOT in any way encouraging one to take on responsibility, guilt, or shame for the event. This exercise isn’t implying in any way that someone deserves or “got what was coming to them” for past or potential actions.)

In some circumstances, the above exercise may be impractical or impossible to imagine. It may not serve you to dive into the event in detail, but rather to adopt a generalized stance that in some way, this trial provided an opportunity for you to understand forgiveness and healing at a whole new level. Can you identify any good that came from the event? Whether it’s awareness and understanding, the potential of emotional growth through forgiveness and healing, or the ability to offer empathy and support to others going through painful events themselves; all are positive outcomes that deserve to be identified. Again, this exercise can help release the “hook” that is preventing us from moving forward.

True forgiveness is breaking the emotional charge and energetic bond to our painful past, whatever that might be. What you’re left with instead is a memory, and a memory without emotional charge is called wisdom.

Joe Dispenza

I’ll outline below an iterative process to release resentments. Again, please use discernment in how deeply you go into an event. You can release at a higher level of of consciousness without diving into the details of the event; this process is NOT about reliving trauma.

  1. Keep a running list of people and/or events that have hurt you. As you work through the process below, if you feel an improvement in your emotional response, you will cross through the name/event. If it comes up again, even if it’s reduced in intensity, you’ll add the name back. The purpose of the list is simply to help you understand how much energy you have tied up in past events. It also helps you uncover events or people that are more subconscious. Don’t be surprised to find YOUR OWN NAME on the list several times. (When a name or event comes up multiple times, be sure to add both so you’re clear on what you’re working on.) This list is intended to be EMPOWERING, not defeatist. The goal here is AWARENESS.
  2. When you feel relatively calm, find a quiet place to meditate or reflect inwardly. A good time for many people may be first thing in the morning before events of the day add to your emotional state, or after a session of exercise in which you’ve been able to disperse excess/disruptive energy. (If you’ve had a night of poor rest or intense dreams, first thing in the morning may not be ideal.)
  3. For a few minutes, breathe deeply and slowly. Feel your body sink into the floor, and down through into the earth. Begin to slowly repeat the manta, “I am safe.” If, at any time during this process you find yourself feeling emotionally triggered, you can come back to this step.
  4. Set an intention that you will attempt embody and sit within your “highest self.” This highest self has a greater capacity for perspective, compassion, and forgiveness. This is a good time to call in any spiritual support you feel you need; angels, ancestors, guides, ascended masters, or others.
  5. When you feel ready, call up in your mind a single* person involved. Imagine them only at the level you’re comfortable. If their image feels triggering, you can picture them only as a vague form, or envision only their name. Remember through this process to breath and state “I am safe” if it feels necessary to do so. Also reach out and feel the loving support surrounding you anytime you feel alone, vulnerable, or unprotected. (*If there was a group of people, you CAN work with the collective group at once, but it’s often easier to work one to one.)

    Once you’ve called the person/event into consciousness, you may talk to them just as you would face to face. Express what you need to express, and ask questions you need answers to. If you don’t receive a response, respect that the answer is ultimately unhelpful and not in your highest good, and attempt to move on without it. Once you’ve said what you need to say, ask them to apologize. You will get an apology.

    An even more empowering exercise can be your awareness of any involvement you may have had in the event. Few events are solely ALL one person’s fault; often we act in ways that contributed to the event in some way, even if small. Perhaps we just regret that we didn’t see the signs sooner and disengage or walk away. This is about seeing clearly what role you may or may NOT have played in an event; this is NOT about accepting blame that isn’t yours to accept. If you played any part, then it’s empowering to acknowledge this with your own returned apology back to the person. This is less about claiming responsibility and more about saying, “I’m sorry that you and I, at a soul level, had to struggle through this event.” Perhaps you’re upset with yourself in some way, for not seeing the warning signs, or not responding in the way you wish you could have. Again, you can add a compassionate apology to yourself as well.
  6. See that there’s an energetic connection, or cord, between you and the person standing with you. This energetic connection fuels a pattern that you may see positioned somewhere along the energetic cord. This pattern can be considered a memory, but might also be something more substantial, like an ancestral or generational pattern. Take a moment to observe the cord, particularly where it’s attached to your body, the characteristics of the cord such as its diameter, color, etc., and observe the pattern that exists. How robust does the pattern appear to be?
  7. State the intention that you would like this cord to be unplugged and removed from your body. You may choose to the cut the cord yourself or ask for one of your spiritual support team to do it for you. Recite the following:

    – [Name or Event] – At this time, I choose to sever/cut/release this energetic cord that exists between us. I am reclaiming my energy and my power. I withdrawal energetic support of any patterns that existed between us. I am now energetically and spiritually free of [person] and/or [event].

    Watch what happens to the cord and pattern now that they are unplugged or released from your energetic field. As your energy is released/withdrawn, the cord and pattern should lose their vibrancy. You may see them disintegrate and break apart, falling to the earth to transmuted, transformed, and recycled.

    As an extra step, you may ask your spiritual team to come and ensure there are no lingering remnants of either the cord or the pattern.

I encourage you to keep notes of any messages or insights received during these sessions. You may need to repeat the exercise multiple times for highly charged events. Please remember that your safety and sense of well-being is of highest importance. Highly charged or traumatic events may call for a neutral, supportive person to help you work through these or similar exercises.

Stay tuned; a You Tube meditation walking through the steps above is being recorded and will be available soon!


We are inundated daily with multiple messages about who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to do. The messages can overlap and contradict, but mostly it’s the sheer VOLUME of them that can really become overwhelming and confusing. In this time of profound change, it’s vitally important that we be able to sort and sift through these messages and to identify those that are true messages for us and those that we need to discard. We need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The first step is to bring awareness to all the messages we are receiving unconsciously. We receive feedback constantly from our society, culture, and tribe. These messages are often programming us to conform. When we’re operating at a “tribal” level, we unconsciously believe our survival depends on our tribe, and uniformity within that tribe. This cohesiveness ensures the tribe is working together towards a common goal in mutual interest of all members. This is the inherent nature whenever there are groups of people, and happens even in enlightened, or otherwise spiritual groups. Television, movies, advertising, social media, and more all attempt to sway us to think and act in defined, narrow ways that ensure group/social/cultural cohesion. This approach is predicated on fear, as those that are central in the group attempt to influence the outliers, threatening with ostracization if they refuse to get in line. For the outliers, it takes one becoming aware of this sometimes almost imperceptible influence, and then trusting that the individual can, indeed, survive, even thrive, outside of the group. The individual must learn that all this unconscious influence has likely created “perception filters” that practically block all decisions before they actually reach our consciousness. You know these exist when you find yourself making snap judgements*, particularly when they are definitive (such as either/or – right/wrong). These snap judgements are often predicated on assumptions and pre-formed opinions and do not allow space for additional facts or individual circumstances to be taken into account. The easiest example is any social issue in which there are TWO dominant sides. Whenever you consider yourself to be on the “right” side and anyone who disagrees with you on the “wrong” side, be aware that you have these filters strongly in place.

(*A note: sometimes rash decisions are actually a survival mechanism in times of impending danger. If you get a spontaneous read on a person that feels uncomfortable or dangerous, I encourage you to immediately act upon it and remove yourself. Once safely away, you can determine whether the threat was real or not. Discernment works in multiple ways, one of the most crucial of which is getting us away from danger.)

As we watch the process in which the soul becomes thought or speech, we notice that many a time we ease ourselves into convenient clichés that have little of the new insight in them. Once more we are trapped by habits that are the dunghills upon which the creeds feed. It takes vigilance and humble courage to make acts of faith. After all, where faith is weak, there is an abundance of beliefs. With this in mind we may be more humble about our tradition and our sureness, yet also a bit more proud of the holy process in our inner being that keeps teaching and guiding us.

~ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

These filters often exist in layers, and commonly, one mistakenly believes they’ve all been removed when in fact, only the most superficial have been identified. The trickiest circumstance is when one has already opted out of one or a few group thought forms (usually parentally introduced or influenced), thinking ALL filters now dissolved. This is actually when we are MOST susceptible to programming, because we believe ourselves to be free and independent thinkers when in fact we’ve usually just identified with a new group. Conscious decision making is a life-long process that requires pause, evaluation, and usually involves some degree of “gray area,” i.e. recognition that few things are conclusive and definitive. This process is known as discernment. We can be part of groups, and in fact, our psychology has a strong need for this type of belonging and connection. But when we choose a group (used here to broadly identify mental, emotional, and psychological collectives based on thought forms, not just physical groups), we must still commit to constant examination of facts, circumstances, etc., and be first and foremost loyal to our own internal guidance system.

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.

~ Alan Keightley

Once we learn discernment, then we are in a position to really bring in authentic, powerful spiritual guidance. It’s not that we haven’t been receiving this all along, but these messages are by nature subtle and often get blocked by perception filters. Where things get tricky is when we still have some filters still in place, but guidance is trying to get through. How do we discern which is which?

So let’s talk about guidance and what constitutes AUTHENTIC guidance. Spiritual guidance comes to us directly via two sources; 1.) our own soul/spirit, and 2.) our spiritual “team.” Our team is comprised of the two main guides we chose before we incarnated. These two guides are with us the entirety of our lives. Often, we will have one that will present as more strongly feminine and the other as more strongly masculine; these presentations help us balance our own masculine/feminine aspects. Additionally, one often presents as celestial in origin, the other more “earthly.” These forms help us come to terms with our celestial origins while being incarnated in a physical form. (Note: I say “appear” and “present” because it can be challenging to know definitively if these forms are indeed absolute, or rather that which has been deemed to be most conducive to helping us. Additionally, know that distinctions are fluid; what you deem celestial or earthly can be different for you than for another.) In addition to these two main guides, you can have a plethora of other helping spirits. These can include angels and other celestial beings, God/desses, spirit animals/plants, Ascended Masters, ancestors, and more. These other guides may be permanent (through this lifetime), long-term, or temporary. Aside from our two main guides, it is common that once we integrate what a particular guide has to teach us, they may leave and another comes in. Thus our team shifts often according to what we most need at any given time.

Do not assume that divine guidance flows only when you are in need of help. Guidance continues to flow whether or not you have problems. It transcends problems, heartbreaks, and traumas, flowing through dreams and illuminations. Whether guidance comes during times of tranquility or trauma, however, it is up to you to have the courage to acknowledge it.

~ Caroline Myss

ONLY advice from these sources – our own spirit and our divine team of guides – can be considered authentic and true. The caveat, however, is that it takes a great deal of self-belief, trust, and calm in order to hear this guidance clearly. Any fear, doubt, etc., drowns it out rather effectively. Our guides are understanding of this, however, and will often repeat messages via many different avenues and sources, much of it non-verbal. This means that we must commit to remain open during our times of trial. We might get repeat visitations from specific animals, see particular number combinations, have vivid dreams, or have certain word phrases practically jump out at us. For me, I find that certain messages come through prominently when reading or listening to podcasts. All of a sudden, it’s as if the volume (or font) gets turned up to max, while the everything else (ambient noise and other inputs) dials down to zero. Although my rational mind understands this is impossible, I have the sense that the person is speaking directly to me. These are the avenues through which our own divine self and our team of guides speak to us.

So we see, our guides DO, on occasion, use other people to deliver messages to us. However, these are the times we need to be most discerning regarding the divine and authentic nature of this guidance. In my experience, our guides will use almost anyone to deliver a message, and most certainly do not limit themselves to someone we might deem to be a “spiritual authority.” There will often be a different quality to these statements; they will stand out in some way to us, emphasized above and outside of the surrounding “noise.” Even so, you must always pass any statement through your own internal discernment to determine its authenticity. This is why it is vitally important to develop, refine, and utilize our discernment skills continuously throughout our lives. Remember that people frequently have filters in place that they are unaware of, and this can influence the message, particular when the message is being delivered “deliberately.” Gurus and spiritual advisors are not exempt from having these filters and thus care must be taken no matter how enlightened the person appears or claims to be.

You push the TRUTH off a cliff, but it will always fly. You can submerge the TRUTH under water, but it will not drown. You can place the TRUTH in the fire, but it will survive. You can bury the TRUTH beneath the ground, but it will arise. TRUTH always prevails!

~ Amaka Imani Nkosazana

Implementation of spiritual guidance is not a task that is without courage. We must be willing to be our own authority, and we must trust that our guidance, while not always easy, is always in our highest, ultimate good. This is a difficult, often uncomfortable position to stand in, but it is critical if we are to grow into our greatest potential and purpose. It’s an ongoing process that allows for mistakes, but always requires that we recognize our inherent strength and honor our own inner truth even in the face of overwhelming outside influence. True guidance is ALWAYS delivered internally, first and foremost.

At every step, she paused, withdrew to the inner sanctuary, and asked herself, Does this feel right? Her answer came in the form of peace or tension. If she felt tension, she stepped a different way. If she felt peace, she kept going forward.

~ Donna Goddard