Drummond Marais
Gary Pitt
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LABYRINTHS have been created by humans on Earth since Ancient Roman times, and possibly long before that too. As opposed to the 'maze', which was originally designed to challenge the mental faculties of mankind, the design of any LABYRINTH contains a spiritual intent. Through the ages, people have somehow managed to confuse these two contrasting concepts. All too often, as is even the case with the Oxford Dictionary, the words 'labyrinth' and 'maze' are closely associated. A misguidedly common reference to both words invariably implies 'a manmade structure consisting of many networks of pathways that, although cerebrally challenging, are more often than not bewildering and confusing to the human brain!' And although such a description may be suitable for a 'maze', it does not truly apply to a 'labyrinth'.

Fine examples of ancient LABYRINTHS still exist on Earth today. Alongside the crumbling ruins of awe-inspiring Ancient Grecian and Roman architecture, the labyrinthine concept is more than evident. Apart from the occasional ruined remains of outdoor structures, typical circular pathway-like labyrinthine designs can still be found upon old coinage as well as architectural features such as walls and supportive columns. The Celts of Ancient Britain also left a legacy of many still-walk-able labyrinths that are dotted around the English countryside, some of which may well be a result of Roman influences during their conquest of Britain. Most of these tend towards freestanding rock-walled constructions, occasionally including a central 'mound' of sorts so that the centrifugal point that is finally reached, after a walk, stands upon higher ground than the rest. There is also much evidence of labyrinthine principles having been integrated into the early Christian Church and its subsequent building of the many astounding Medieval Cathedrals of that time. The Cathedral at Chartres, in France, is a prime example of an exquisite LABYRINTH-mosaic set into the floor of its central nave.     

So what then forms the contextual spirituality contained within the labyrinthine principle? Well, simplistically speaking, it is the basic requirement for humans to 'surrender' the Self to the spiritual concept of Soul-embodiment. In other words, before the power of Spirit can be fully exercised, one is required to deny the Ego-Self. And because the human psyche is instinctively dependent upon its cerebral faculties, most humans discover that the concept of 'surrendering' the control of their lives to some invisible, intangible Power is almost impossible! Therefore some form of assistance is needed. Apart from the vast variety of alternative methods available, a LABYRINTH provides one of the most obvious physical and mental routes to successfully achieving the required levels of such 'surrender', for it demands the trustful denial of our instinctive human need to be ever 'in control'.

As one walks along the paths of a LABYRINTH, with Spiritual Intent, one no longer has to think for oneself, for there will be no surprises along the way; no mental challenges; no need to make decisions at all. Of course one remains subliminally aware of the natural surroundings of the environment as one automatically puts one foot in front of the other, slowly moving forwards. Without thought, one follows the given pathway, gradually ascending the gentle incline of the mound. And through this simple action of purposely walking forwards, maintaining a slow even pace, an internal physical rhythm develops within the regularity of one's breathing and the easier flowing of blood through one's veins. This results in a bodily peacefulness that is highly conducive to meditation. Simultaneously, one is clearing the mind of all extraneous distractions. One's continuous forward movement, trusting that an end-position will eventually be reached, becomes the only purpose one needs for that time.

The eventual attainment of the LABYRINTH'S central peak provides one with a stationary resting period, a period of time that will be individually defined by one's personal Soul-needs. For 'meditation' is now a given. And one's Soul will know when it is time to leave that conducive, peaceful, central place. Throughout the gradual physical descent along those winding labyrinthine pathways, one's Soul will abound within Spiritual ease and inner contentment.

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