Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter labyrinth

Easter in the southern hemisphere is a time for turning within, and going into darkness. Once again, St Matthews in the City has created a labyrinth out of river stones, and has opened it to the public.
Walking the labyrinth has become an annual pilgrimage for me. The cathedral was quiet this afternoon, with Gregorian chanting playing. The pillars have been decorated with palm leaves, and the afternoon sun was illuminating the stained glass windows.
'The labyrinth acts like a mirror or teacher,' says the pamphlet. I took time to form my question, and to write it down. Then, removing my shoes and socks, I entered the labyrinth bare-footed, walking slowly, and flowing into the rhythm of the journey.
The stones were beautiful, and reminded me of river beds where I had sat, or crossed, or camped.
'Enjoy the turns as they can help you to accept change in your life and support you with moving on,' says the pamphlet.
'Turns on the labyrinth can show us many things . . . it is important to trust and move forward'. As I make my turns, the answer to my question emerges. It is not what I expected. That's the nature of the labyrinth; it reveals what has been hidden.
I light a candle after emerging. I have shed some tears. I give thanks for what has been revealed.
In the northern hemisphere, Easter is about resurrection and the joy of spring.
Here in the southern hemisphere, Easter is about the journey into darkness.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never thought about this idea of Easter being about a journey into darkness....seems very foreign and not right, though I do understand that fall is approaching in the southern hemisphere. By definition Easter is about resurrection and new life. It is good that I live in the northern hemisphere I guess.
The labyrinth is a beautiful one...thanks for sharing.
Virginia, USA

lifeonthecutoff said...

You have no idea how I needed to read this just now, Juliet. I'm at one of those curves at the moment and it is good to read those words 'Enjoy the turns as they can help you to accept change in your life and support you with moving on,'. They seem to be written just for me right now.

Thank you for sharing this labyrinth. It is beautiful with the use of stones and candles. The amount of time and thought that went into putting it together must have been great and a work of love.

juliet said...

Hi Virginia (or is that where you live and not your name?), & thanks for visiting. Yes, in the southern hemisphere we've had to get used to the fact that things are a little topsy turvey. Spring equinox in September is when we have those lovely energies of resurrection.
Penny, I'm so glad that you have been able to come into the labyrinth with me, & that those words spoke to you, as they certainly did to me. So much love and care goes into creating this each year, just for 4 or 5 days. The atmosphere in the church is very special.

Christine said...

I love labyrinths too, Juliet.
Did you know there is one behind St Columba church in Surrey Crescent in Grey Lynn?
It is painted on concrete,
so is not as beautiful in itself as the one at St Matthew's, but it is set in a lovely garden which makes it a good contemplative space.

Whenever I walk one, about halfway through these words come to me spontaneously -
'Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to be' -
and that feels very liberating.

Ruth G said...

That's a beautiful labyrinth! What a wonderful way to begin Easter and the journey into the darker time.

juliet said...

Christine, thank you for the reminder about the St Columba labyrinth. I love the words you give - just perfect for how it is in the labyrinth.
Ruth, yes it felt like perfect timing to walk the labyrinth just as the nights are darkening. The river stones are very beautiful.

Hotly Spiced said...

That cathedral is so beautiful. I love the stained glass windows. What an interesting thing to do with all those river stones. That must have taken so long to do!

juliet said...

Charlie, yes I think it must have taken ages, and then they have different helpers to attend to the candles. The windows are beautiful, I agree.

cecilia g said...

Fabulous shots and such an ancient thing this tradition, it would be almost as though you walked with the shadows of hundreds of years of walkers, hundreds of years of questions and hundreds of years of answers. All that silence. All that knowledge sitting in the silence. Thank you for pointing me to this post! You are very wise! c

juliet said...

Hi Cecilia, thanks for visiting. You are right about the hundreds of years behind the labyrinth. Quite awe-inspiring, the way you put it.

Lynley said...

I am finding it difficult to find words with which to comment on your post Juliet.

I felt very drawn into the beauty and stillness portrayed in your photos.

There is tremendous energy in labyrinths. Thank you for this moving post.

juliet said...

Thank you Lynley, for visiting and responding. It was certainly a very deep experience for me.