Cycles Within Cycles of Healing / A Long and Winding Road

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth Chemin Neuf

Chartres Cathedral  Labyrinth  Chemin Neuf

©jillkhgeoffrion www.jillgeoffrion.com, www.praywithjillatchartres.com

I’d like to add a postscript to my Sunday post last week about Walking the Labyrinth: A Healing Path. Part of the healing nature of walking a labyrinth, for me, and about invoking the Inner Healer Archetype while walking a labyrinth, is the very physical fact of TURNING, with 180 degree turns, throughout the pathway. You walk a segment of the path, pause, then turn around and go back over an adjacent segment until that comes to a turning point too. An online site I have read says there are some 112 such turnabouts or Turning Points within the Chartres Rose Labyrinth (shown above with gratitude to the photographer cited). This process of walking and turning about is a physical manifestation of the principle of Cycles within Cycles.

Isn’t any PROCESS, certainly including a Healing Process, a sometimes long and winding path with many turns, with many cycles within cycles of the WHOLE process over space-time? I leave it to each of you to ponder or contemplate the significance of this observation with regard to your own PROCESS situations.

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A PROCESS brings one from position A to some destination, say X.  The pathway leading from A to X is the process itself, at least outwardly. So, what are the many turns along the way about?

Stepping back two steps to go forward three? That could be one sort of Process. How might that be helpful?

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images except otherwise cited are from pixabay.com

For fun, select and click:  to listen to Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s beautiful song: “The Long and Winding Road”. Here are their lyrics:

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here
Let me know the way

Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Any way you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me waiting here
A long long time ago
Don’t leave me standing here
Lead me to your door

Songwriters
JOHN LENNON, PAUL MCCARTNEY

http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-long-and-winding-road-lyrics-beatles.html

I invite your Comments and Stories!

Walking the Labyrinth: A Healing Journey

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Lately I have been taken to Walk the Labyrinth, often. I find it to be a superb physical template for the spiritual journey of supplication and immersion that can lead to greater Clarity and Wholeness.

Wholeness is one of the key motifs of the labyrinth path. It is thus a healing journey, a winding, twisting, road that leads one into the Center for a period of contemplative repose, then back out to bring one’s awareness from the inner guidance there received back to one’s daily life.

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When I walk a labyrinth I experience an unwinding and a rewinding of newly harvested potentials.  On the way in, I am winnowing through the concerns of the present, sorting to extract the essential core of the questions or situations I wish to draw attention to spiritually. I am preparing the ground, planting the seeds for deep contemplation at the Center. I am also opening myself to the Presence of Spirit in my own way.

Having arrived at the Center, I feel fully exposed to Spirit and the Divine. I surrender my cares and am the supplicant, asking for inner guidance or resolve, but mainly seeking clarity about the situation being reflected upon. How shall I manage or approach the situation? How can I improve my relationship with all of life inwardly and outwardly in relation to this? I become silent, I go within and actively contemplate, in a state of utter repose and surrender.

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When I feel ready to leave the Center, I re-emerge from the inner focus. I gather my insights, look to see if there is any one idea I am bringing back from the contemplation that can help me to advance with the situation I have been focusing upon. Sometimes there is a new sense of alignment with Spirit in relation to this situation, other times I just feel more integrated, supported, and ready to return to my daily life knowing I will know what to do when the situation calls for action or further reflection.

Walking out from the labyrinth I am “stepping down” with the awareness received, bringing the clarity or sense of love and resolve within me, carrying this like a newborn babe.

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After walking the labyrinth three times over the past week and a half, yesterday I was walking in a shopping mall, partly for a necessary purpose and partly just to walk for exercise. I realized I could still walk a labyrinth there; anywhere you go if you go mindfully and with deep intention to focus your attention in a grounded, holistic way, you are essentially walking Your labyrinth, your path of life, winding and unwinding, attaining a Center and opening, surrendering, accepting with gratitude the vision or lesson received, and bringing that back into your outer, daily life.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

Welcome to A New Year of Better Endings — with “The Descent and Re-emergence of Theseus”

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Welcome to a new year at Better Endings for Your Life Path! This year I will modify the process by returning to the principle of Better Endings, which was the focus for Year 1 of this blog. This time I will be pairing this principle with astrologically appropriate monthly archetype characters. The process will be as follows, from week to week each month:

Week One: A popular or fictional story that reflects a Better Ending involving the monthly archetype as a protagonist;

Week Two: Inspirational quotes or positive postulates pertaining to the monthly theme;

Week Three:  A Life Mapping self-discovery ‘better endings’ technique relating to the monthly archetype;

Week Four: A personal story or stories (yours are invited!) applying the monthly archetype in a ‘better ending’ scenario.

Check out the Weekly Topics tab or see below for a list of astrologically appropriate Archetypes. (The Archeypes are arranged in this wheel according to their energetic stages as I: Origination, II: Maintenance, III: Dissolving; as described by Dr. Charles Bebeau).

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Better Endings is a positive personal growth and development principle by which you may either find the lesson, value, or opportunity within any life situation or by which you can constructively “re-vision”  a story or plotline that leads to a different, positive outcome as a result of your imaginative reframing. You can apply this principle to fictional stories and films, but you can also apply this constructive approach to your own life situations and choices.

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For the remainder of November then, let’s get started. As we have but two weeks, for this month I will truncate the process with two different topics per week according to the sequence described above.

November’s persona Archetype, related to Scorpio, is that of the DESCENDER. A well known mythic story that expresses a ‘better ending’ scenario involving a DESCENDER protagonist is that of Theseus and the Minotaur. Allow me here a Better Endings summary of this classic tale:

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Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens, sailed to Crete, the domain of King Minos, who kept within a deep labyrinth a monstrous half-man/half-bull Minotaur.  King Minos, whose own son had been assassinated at the Athenian games, demanded of Aegeus that seven men and seven women would be sent every seventh year to be fed to and devoured by the Minotaur, in order to spare Athens itself from Minos’s wrath. Theseus’s quest on the third of these sacrificial voyages was to kill the Minotaur and rescue his compatriots.

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Before entering the labyrinth, from which noone who entered had ever emerged, Theseus encountered King  Minos’s daughter Ariadne, who was immediately attracted to the young hero. Ariadne gifted Theseus with a skein of golden thread she had woven, by which he would be able to find his way out of the labyrinth with his compatriots after defeating the monster, asking only for Theseus to take her with him back to Athens.

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Theseus entered and descended into the depths of the dark, winding labyrinth, unwinding the skein of thread as he proceeded.  At the core in the deepest recess of the maze, Theseus engaged the Minotaur, manos a manos. After a terrible battle, Theseus succeeded in killing and beheading the beast, grasping the Minotaur’s bull head in his hand.

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Theseus rescued the Athenians and led them back to the surface, out of the labyrinthian maze. Not as taken by Ariadne as she was with him, Theseus and his men boarded the boat without her and sailed to Athens, victorious. Yet Theseus erred; he had told his father he would change a black flag on the boat to white had he succeeded.  King Aegeus, seeing the black flag instead, assumed his son had been killed and attacked, but Theseus’ own forces defeated Aegeus, killing him such that on Theseus’s return to the shores of Athens, he was crowned King earlier than would have otherwise occurred, succeeding his father. Theseus ruled as a just and heroic King, remembered by many as the heroic founder of Athens, for many generations.

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all images from pixabay.com

Many archetypal-psychological interpreters of this phase of Theseus’s mythic adventures see in the Labyrinth the deep recesses of the Unconscious. They note that the Minotaur was born to Minos’s wife, Queen Pasiphae, after she had coupled with a Bull sent by Poseidon when Minos vainly requested the Bull in order to claim his own godly pretensions; but he had failed to sacrifice the Bull as Poseidon had demanded. The Minotaur thus was the embarassing consequence of Minos’s indiscretion to the gods. He is the product of human hubris and guilt, lodged deeply in the Unconscious.

Do you have a Minotaur lodged between your own higher nature and archetypal ‘crew’ members of your archetypal cast? Do you have the courage to confront the Beast and rescue your Allies as a strong and responsible Self? Meeting this challenge allows you to reintegrate and strengthen your Self through your descent and re-emergence from the Labyrinth.

Walking the Labyrinth Path

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Last weekend a friend came to visit. We reconnected by visiting an area where we once shared a home, and near there we walked an outdoor labyrinth on monastery grounds near our old home. While we sat on a bench waiting for another pair to complete their walk, first my friend found a beautiful red and white spotted feather from a bird (flicker?) that flew overhead; the bird then joined several others in the nearby trees. Then I looked to  the North and watched an amazing, unusual being walk stealthily past: what appeared to me to be a coyote/wolf mix  (or perhaps a stray Russian wolfhound or hybrid)! He turned his head to watch us as he continued along with his own quest.

In Native American “power animal” symbology, sometimes a flicker (woodpecker) can mean a move/ relocation; a coyote/wolf hybrid could mean something that “helps you see your own mistake” (coyote) and “being a Pathfinder” (wolf).

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So then we walked the Labyrinth (a Chartres modelled rose path). The slow winding pathway is so liberating to the mind and heart; with every turn your contemplation deepens. At times when you seem very close to the Center you are actually far away, and when you feel most far away you are but around the bend to Home, the Center that represents Self-Realization or God-Awareness.

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At the Center of this labyrinth someone had created a heart shape made of small reddish rocks, and both my friend and I deposited something meaningful into the heart. Then we walked back out, for myself I would say feeling less encumbered than on the way in.

As if this labyrinth walk were not enough, the very next day my friend took her son and his girlfriend back to that same labyrinth, and I took my dog Sophie on a walk at a Franciscan Retreat Center where—guess what?—I fairly stumbled upon yet another Chartres style outdoor Labyrinth!

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(I found this on Zillow today while surfing online for homes for sale near where I will retire in 3 years.  I actually do intend to have a labyrinth there, so this was such a strong sign of confirmation!)

So again I was able to walk the Labyrinthine path. This is a great way to “center”; to examine and release your thoughts about any situation and symbolically to reconnect with your own inner divinity. At a time in my life when I am facing a difficult ordeal at the workplace, the Labyrinth helps me to “unwind” the  complex weave.

In the Labyrinth nothing external seems too heavy or important.

The Labyrinth Path leads Home!

 

 

Dig Deeply for the Gold

 Gold Prospector Miner Pan Retro

The underworld is a realm of only psyche, a purely psychical World. What one meets there is soul, as the figures Ulysses meets—Ajax,Anticlea, Agamemnon—are called psyches, and the way they move is compared with dreams; or to say this in another way, underworld is the mythological style of describing a psychological cosmos. – James Hillman, The Dream and the Underworld

As we have begun this new annual cycle in mid-November, this month’s process is a shorter version of a full monthly cycle. Let’s complete this month by considering how you might combine the Better Endings Life Metaphor of LIFE IS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY with the DESCENDER Archetype Ally. How might your Descender traits help you to manifest your golden aspirations?

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First we can look for some parallels to this pairing of metaphor and archetype, in popular or mythic tales, or in your own life and dreams. An excellent mythic parallel is Theseus and the Minotaur.  In his life adventure en route to assuming his father’s throne in Thebes, Theseus goes to rescue a group of his compatriots who have been captured by the King of Minos to be fed to the monstrous half-bull/half-man Minotaur. The Minotaur and the sacrificial prisoners are hidden deeply within a labyrinth; a maze nearly impossible for one to escape from.

Maze concept.

Theseus receives a special gift from King Minos’s daughter, Ariadne, who is taken with the handsome lad. She gives him a skein of golden thread that Theseus can unwind as he enters the labyrinth, so he can escape by following this thread out again after defeating the Minotaur, manos a manos.

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Theseus, as fate would decree, does kill the monstrous foe, freeing his compatriots, who all escape with him by following the golden thread. Theseus and his men depart Minos (without Ariadne). As they approach Thebes, accidentally a wrong colored flag is displayed on the boat, leading Theseus’s father to believe Theseus has died. The King attacks and is killed in the ensuing battle, resulting in Theseus assuming the throne sooner than otherwise.

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Entering the mysterious Labyrinth is a classic image of Descent, as walking a religious labyrinth likewise can guide you pensively to a heartful core or Center from which you may then re-emerge. So, how can your Descender help you to achieve a golden opportunity in your life? What does the golden thread of Ariadne represent to you? What is it in your own life?

For me, for example, I would say it is spirituality. This is a thread I have followed for as long as I remember in this life, and I continue to follow its winding Song.

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One flake from the wall of a gold mine does not give much idea what it is like when the sun shines down inside and turns the air and the workers golden.

 – (Rumi: “Word Fog”, The Big Red Book, pg. 149-150)

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I welcome your Comments and Stories!

 

 

Your Yellow Brick Road

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The more clearly you can envision your Life Dream or a future goal, the more you can collapse the space-time, so to speak, between yourself Here and your goal Now. That is, the better you can visualize and embrace the reality of your worthy end achieved, the more evident will become the path that connects you to the place or set of conditions your goal represents to you.

Honeymoon villa in Maldives and typical boat

Last week I invited you to imagine a set of Alternate Future Scapes as a mode of “Future Casting”.  If you established two or more of these Alter-Future visions, choose one now. (If not, go ahead and cast an alternate future scape; nothing is cast in stone so feel free to imagine a desirable set of future conditions that feels good to you Now.)

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Have you played the board game LIFE recently? My favorite recent version is the Wizard of OZ rendition. Dorothy and other characters wend their way from Auntie Em’s farm into the Land of the Munchkins, the Land of OZ, the Witch’s castle, and ultimately back Home, to Kansas. The image of a Life Path as a winding spiral, with bridges to cross, rewards to collect and obstacles or setbacks to overcome along the Way–like Dorothy and her Archetype Allies’ adventure along the Yellow Brick Road–is a classic mythical image of an Epic Journey or of a labyrinth pathway of self-discovery.

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Below is a rather rough sketch of a Winding Path motif.   I invite you to fill this in (or draw your own and fill that in) with incremental steps or phases that lead to the realization of your Alternate Future!  Use your creativity and your mindful awareness of your Goal to represent time frames or the processual stages you anticipate experiencing along the Yellow Brick Road of your own exciting Adventure to the manifestation of your Life Dream. You can share this with a loved one, friend, or children, too. Then you can each talk about what you have projected about your own Life Path.

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Have fun with this. You can create as many of these Life Path pictures as you like, to one or to several alternate futures. But take your time with each one, too. Focus inwardly on recreating–as it were, from the ‘end achieved’–the actual steps you CAN take to bring your Life Dream to fruition.

When I have filled in my own envisioned Pathway to a meaningful Life Dream, I have later been amazed to look back at this mapping some several months or even years later to find that I have been actualizing these stages pretty much in the sequence envisioned.

I invite your Comments and your Stories!

P.S.: Thank you for reading and for your Likes!!! Stay tuned for Friday’s post : Your Next Step

 

Life Path Stories

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“What, to you, are the typical stages or phases — if any — of a normal human lifetime, whether or not they are typical of yours?”

When you review your response to this week’s prompt (above), what is your “go to” Life Course Schema—Is it mainly Linear, Cyclic, or Seamless? More importantly, in what ways might this model influence your perception of life events or your decisions and behavior, either with regard to your own life, or others? Allow me to share a few stories from some life mappers today.

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When I began studying Life Paths by conducting interview research, I placed an ad in a local paper that simply stated: “Mid-life Crisis?” followed by my contact information. I interviewed eleven people who responded to that ad. Each of them expressed a LINEAR Life Course Schema.  John, for example, had lost a series of jobs to downsizing in the airline industry. He felt debilitated because he had trained for that career and felt, in his early 40’s, that his career was a failure. This is so common that people who believe in a LINEAR stage model of life may have difficulty dealing with change, which may feel like a disruption of the one-education, one-career, one-relationship life progression they hope or might have grown up expecting to maintain. That is why a LINEAR model is less appropriate or a bit dicey, at least, in today’s world of flux. We need a flexible model that allows for change and adaptation.

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I found in my interviews  that people who had experienced an early family disruption like their parents’ divorce or a natural disaster often adapted by developing a CYCLIC Life Course Schema instead of a LINEAR one. Sandi, for example, who has been a globe trotter most of her adventuresome life, said she feels she has been living several lifetimes in this one; and she means that literally, as she holds a strong belief in reincarnation. Hers is a CYCLIC adaptation that allows for a great deal of creativity and flexibility.

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Then there was Esther, also a person who has lived in several countries in her life. Her big move from a Nordic country as a child to the US for an athletic opportunity and then to marry and raise her family in the US was possible because her philosophy of life—her SEAMLESS Life Course Schema—allowed her to take major leaps when the opportunities arose. Esther described life as like a chain with links that form unpredictably; they fit together in retrospect but until a new experience ‘happens,’ you won’t really know what is around the bend, and this is good.  Esther eschews setting goals; she much prefers to welcome change and the rich opportunities they manifest in her life.

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   One note: You might find that you hold one Life Course Schema with respect to one ‘angle’ of your life experience and another for a different dimension of your life. You might then be able to “borrow” from one side (read, archetypal orientation or role perspective) to aid another side of you to help make a decision or deal with a change. Please put this idea on the back burner for now; it will resurface when we talk in two weeks about your recurring Life Themes, and then later, when I invite you to Meet & Greet your own ‘ensemble cast of mythic archetypal characters”!

I welcome all of your insights and stories!

(Dear fellow bloggers, Tweeters and readers: I am traveling for the next 18 days. I will continue to put up posts but it might take longer than usual to respond to your cherished and welcome comments. – Linda)