Random Musings of a Woman with Too Many Cats

And a field of study that few people know much about...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thoughts While Walking the Labyrinth

Yesterday morning, I went over to St Brigit's and walked the labyrinth.  I was all alone, the sun was shining, and I found myself thinking about what Joseph Campbell called the Hero's Journey.
We have a Chartres labyrinth, which is simply a winding path.  There are no branches, and as long as you stay on the path, you will find your way to the center, and then find your way out again.  The path folds, and turns, and when one is on the outer edge and feels farthest away from the center (God-- or the Heavenly Jerusalem), one is actually quite close to the end of the journey.  Conversely, when one is closest to the center, one still has a long way to go.

This made me think of Odysseus' travels.  When he has been trapped on Calypso's island for years and years, and has nearly given up on ever returning home, he is actually quite close to the end of his journey.  When he has come within sight of Ithaca, his men accidentally let the winds out of Aeolus' bag, and send him far, far away again.

The original Chartres Labyrinth is found at the beginning of one of the pilgrim's paths to Santiago de Compostela.  For some, it was probably all they could do of the pilgrim's journey because of infirmity, or obligations at home.  It signifies a sacred journey, and a journey of discovery, just as Odysseus' journey was for him.


Joanna said...

Lovely and thoughtful, as usual.

Metella said...

Thank you, Joanna!