Wednesday, June 04, 2008

labyrinthine possibilities

This morning I needed some motivation to walk the wheelbarrow down the hill. By the time the wheelbarrow needs dumping, I'm hot and tired and that long walk down the hill is often hard to take.



Up top at the gate, I envisioned a little wooden sign.

to the labyrinth



I had the idea a while back to make an equine labyrinth down at the far edge of our property, and that's what I've been doing with the muck dumping. Making the beginning of the path. Today I realized I can see the pattern forming, and suddenly, the long walk to dump became a much less dreaded part of the day.



It's funny how having a plan, something to look forward to, a way to make progress elevates the mundane to the sacred. Suddenly I'm not dumping the muck, I'm building a labyrinth!



Just that much excitement set my mind racing. There is room for the labyrinth, and also the possibility of extending the woodland trail so that one could walk down the hill through the woods, emerge into the "open" space of the labyrinth, and then come up a different path through the woods.




The ascending path will pass right by the site of the writing studio I want to build:



While standing in the hot sun pondering all this, I realized the labyrinth is the perfect site for the herbal equine garden I've been wanting for many years now. In between the circuits of the labyrinth, I could plant the herbs that horses can graze for healing and wellness.

On the way up the path I noticed a branch forming the rune Algiz:



Algiz illustrates both the antlers of the elk, and the shape of the sedge-grass herb. To some it suggests the spread fingers of a hand raised in a protective gesture. It is a powerful rune of protection and, spiritually, it symbolizes reaching up to the divine.

Algiz also represents success through endeavour in a search, quest, or other enterprise. Like the fast-growing pine tree, schemes will develop quickly. Like sharp sedge, you are protected from attack. Alertness and awareness will be your guide. Wisdom, vision and clarity of mind will aid your cause.

I pranced back up the hill with the empty wheelbarrow, noting two places along the way where benches would enhance the labyrinthine journey. Places to sit and ponder on the way down, on the way back up.



This evening, I did a test run with daughter and Dickens E. Wickens. We walked the proposed path through the enchanted forest and then made the ascent back to the real world.

16 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

The labyrinth sounds like a great idea. Very interesting and very mystical. I like the idea of benches along the way and the medicinal herb gardens are such a good idea. You seem to have found the shining star in the mundane chore of dumping manure. It is always good to look ahead to what will be one day, it does make the daily everyday things take on a brighter scenario.

mamie said...

Winding through this post was a spiritual experience in itself. Thanks for sharing the photos, your writing, and the amazing rune symbol.

billie said...

Arlene, I did some reading on equine labyrinths after coming in today and apparently Linda Tellington-Jones has done research on equine brain waves and how they shift when horses walk the labyrinthine path. I got so excited I could barely stand it.

Like you wrote, this looking ahead and thinking about what will be made today's chores magical instead of work. I love the fact that each wheelbarrow load quite literally forms the next step in the path. It is such a perfect process.

billie said...

Mamie, thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Janet Roper said...

Wowsers - I got the shivers while reading about your equine labyrinth. Between the spiritual power of Horse and the labyrinth itself, riding that could potentially knock your socks off! Just thinking of the potential insights, gifts and teachings that could be experienced there is mind-boggling.

I find it humorous that this significant spiritual tool is being created with muck.

Out of curiosity, are the birds helping and guiding you? What about Hawk?

Way cool! ;-)
Harmony,
Janet

billie said...

Janet, there is definitely a hum of excite around this project.

We have a second nest of baby barn swallows hatched out now in the exact same place in the barn, and every day I'm seeing ONE crow. Often when I walk down the path the one crow will follow me and call from the top of a tree.

I haven't seen any hawks for several weeks. I did have two great blue heron "close encounters" while kayaking this past weekend.

I too am finding it quite whimsical and funny that the path to "enlightenment" (to raise this project to its highest level) is being made with manure and sweat. We have a manure pile that is now resting that I call Manure Mountain, and I have threatened to put a stone Buddha head right on the top. No one here but me seems to think that is appropriate!

I am really really excited about walking this with the horses.

Janet Roper said...

Buddha on Manure Mountain works for me; yup, enlightenment in the ordinary of life.

One crow, fascinating. I'll go out on a limb and say that crow is the sentinel, and is spreading the word about what's happening. I wonder what other animals will be attracted to that spot.

Speaking of Crow, they use the area under one of my trees as a cemetery. Any thoughts on that?

I look forward to reading more about the labyrinth. Good luck!
Harmony,
Janet

Victoria Cummings said...

This is a great idea - I've talked about trying to create an equine labyrinth since we moved to our property. I think your pictures of where yours will be look beautiful. I have also always envisioned a resting spot near the pond where I can get off the horse and we can both stop to relax - maybe with a grazing area and a bench for me to sit. Don't you wish you could just snap your fingers and make it happen? That's where the patience and Buddhist acceptance come in, I guess.

billie said...

Janet, knowing what you do and how you interact with animals, I would guess the crows are creating a sacred burial ground for you - leaving their magic and knowledge for you to draw upon.

What kind of tree is it? If you add the symbolism of the tree it makes this all the more powerful.

billie said...

Victoria, I have more than my share of impatience in general, but interestingly enough, this particular project is not one I am in a hurry to complete.

The very making of this labyrinth is so interconnected with the horses making manure, me mucking it (along with husband and daughter, who absolutely do their share plus some), and wheeling it down the path to dump - it's the daily, not-to-be-rushed quality of the thing that is making it so special.

It's quite wonderful to realize (and thank you for helping me realize this, because I hadn't even considered it until right this moment) that I wouldn't snap my fingers and have this finished for anything in the world.

Your pond spot sounds lovely. Even if you simply stop and sit on the grass by the water, it will be a wonderful place to punctuate the ride and reflect.

Janet Roper said...

Billie,
Thanks for enlightening me ~ sometimes I can't see what's right in front of me!
Harmony,
Janet

billie said...

Janet, I think that's true of ALL of us - which is why it's so great to bounce things off friends. :)

I think it's a high honor that the crows have bestowed on you.

Janet Roper said...

Thanks, Billie, it sure is humbling.
Harmony,
Janet

billie said...

The crows are so very intriguing to me.

You might enjoy Carl Cook's crow page on his photography website. One of his gorgeous crow prints was my birthday gift last year, and his crow lore/fact page is wonderful.

http://www.clcookphoto.com/crows.htm

Janet Roper said...

Thanks for the crow link - it's beautiful. It will be posted on my blog tomorrow!
Harmony,
Janet

billie said...

Oh, good! I posted a blog about Carl awhile back. I was so taken with his photos. The one I have is just gorgeous.