2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 27--in which we ask a question no one has asked: what do labyrinths, dragons, witches, Equinoxes, and the number 7 have in common?
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
I’ve spent the last week trying to write an outline for a video to introduce an unusual—radical even—prayer intensive that opens in August. I’ve been creating prayer intensives for six years, so I’ve recorded over 30 of these videos, and the content has always come easily. Most of the time I don’t even write a script.
Not this time. I struggled all week with what to say and how to say it. Why?
Offering an unusual intensive isn’t the problem.
All my prayer intensives are unusual. As in not usual. Not standard issue self-improvement, for sure. I got off that train years ago. And I know you did, too. But my prayer intensives don’t fall easily into any spiritual categories either. I’ve struggled for a long time to describe what a prayer intensive even is.
I resonate with the musician who, when asked what “genre” they play, sighs, “I don’t play to fit a genre. In fact, music doesn’t fit genres.” All my favorite musicians say this.
So, is the problem that the upcoming intensive is radical?
Hardly. I love that word. It means “going to the root, the origin, the fundamental.” In the current climate, radical gets twisted to mean “extreme changes from accepted or traditional forms.” Well, I’m not complaining about that definition. As someone who radically redefined prayer to pull it out from under the dreary definition in the dictionary, I’m all in on walking away from what is accepted or traditional about prayer. Or witch. Or any other topics dear to my mystical heart.
So what was the problem? What made describing THIS intensive so hard? Was it that it has so many parts? It is an entire world. And that world is based on the most ancient symbol we have: the original 7-circuit labyrinth.
I’ve been intrigued by labyrinths for over a decade. Lauren Artress, author of Walking a Sacred Path, the book that reintroduced the 11-circuit medieval labyrinth to the modern world, was one of my first guests on The Soul-Directed Life radio show when it opened in 2013. That fall, I had a mystical encounter at the center of an 11-circuit outdoor labyrinth at a Franciscan retreat center in Iowa.
But it was a different labyrinth that grabbed my attention this year and demanded I open my eyes—my mystical eyes—and see the living presence and power of a far more ancient labyrinth, the labyrinth that preceded all others. This image grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go.
I found this image in Labyrinths: Ancient myths and Modern Uses by Sig Lonegren. Jeff Saward drew this forty years ago from a photo taken in the temple at Kom Ombo in Egypt. I sense this symbol grabbed Jeff, too. Over the last forty years, Jeff and his wife Kimberly have become world leaders on labyrinths.
As I stared at this labyrinth symbol, it entered my body and started leading me where I needed to go.
Have you had this experience? You notice something—a symbol, a color, a painting, a photograph—something and you cannot forget it. You return over and over again. That’s how a tiny black and white drawing of a three-headed dragon in Max Dashu’s Witches and Pagans, with the words France Circa 600 CE grabbed me until I realized it’s the symbol of the female trinity. I now wear that symbol, converted to a gold amulet, every day.
The same thing was happening as I was staring at Jeff’s drawing. That pinpoint sketch sent me and Her Sacred Image artist, Cathy Pratt, down an ancient and oh-so-beautiful path into the heart of the original labyrinths.
The oldest labyrinths humans have found so far were pecked out on rock face in Spain four thousand years ago. I had to look that up. And stare at it. And then look for more and more and more. As I stare at these ancient paths, I try to imagine who created them and why.
This is play. Sacred play. Mystical play. And it’s wildly evocative because it’s play in the morphic fields. When you touch or walk or stare at these ancient labyrinths, the people who created them step into the present. Everyone who ever walked them is present.
These are not dead stones; they are living stories.
Stories of the past coming into the present to speak to us of a time that was, giving us the guidance we need to create a new kind of future. A future that remembers a past before patriarchy when women and witches were revered. A future we are hungry to remember.
Would you like a little story to demonstrate that the morphic memory of labyrinths is alive?
Cathy and I were meeting one morning and she said she had a weird dream the night before in which she was in Sardinia, in a dark place, near a labyrinth. I said, what? You dreamt you were in Sardinia? Who dreams something so specific! She said, I know, isn’t it strange! I don’t even know where Sardinia is.
While she was talking, I googled “labyrinth Sardinia.” And guess what. There was her dream labyrinth. In a tomb. In Sardinia. And ten guesses who went there to photograph it in 2005? Jeff and Kimberly Saward.
They wrote a lovely, deeply researched article about “The Tomba del Labirinto in Luzzanas Sardinia” for Labyrinthos. Archeologists think this labyrinth was created by Neolithic herders and hunters who worked in copper and other materials between 3400-2500BCE. In those five thousand years, I wonder how many women touched it. How many pre-patriarchal witches prayed there. Or led ceremonies for the dead. Or prophesied there. (I’m compiling a treasure trove of labyrinth information as a bonus for the upcoming intensive.)
With this image, Cathy and I knew that the original labyrinth wants us to walk these seven circuits to awaken, remember, and trust our seven original sacramental gifts. That we might become the whole and holy witch we came here to be.
As the labyrinth began to take form, I realized that:
I knew next to nothing about the Equinoxes so I began to dig into the mystical meaning of these two sacred times of the year—times that were holy to the witches and to the labyrinth. The 7-circuit labyrinth actually holds the energy of the descent at the Libra Equinox and the rise at the Aries. Did you know that? I sure didn’t.
So, as I was struggling to prepare a video for this radical new intensive I was awakened in morning theta with a simple instruction: tell a story.
Tell the story of the labyrinth, of the dragons, of the gifts of the witches, and of the Equinoxes. Because it’s all one story.
And so I did.
It was easy. And oh so much fun. It's waiting for you now on the page for
The A.R.T. of Becoming a Witch
2nd Mystica Inner-Versity intensive
Then, on Friday, which was 7-7-7. I opened my journal to express my gratitude and out of my hand popped a question. A question I had never asked myself. And, I dare say, a question no one has asked:
What do labyrinths, dragons, witches, Equinoxes and the number 7 have in common?
Well, they have everything in common. But I didn't see the whole story until I asked that question. This is the magic of deep soul writing, which we’ll be exploring in depth in this theta-drenched intensive.
Here's what poured out of my hand:
7 is the mysterious hidden magic that makes the radical transformation of The Witch Sequence happen. Everything in The Witch Sequence comes in sevens.
In the end I had a fabulous time recording the video at the top of the ART 2 (my shorthand for the 2nd gift in The Witch Sequence). I did as instructed and tell a story.
to the ancient voice of the labyrinth helping us remember our ability to dance across the threshold between worlds
PS: if I needed any more confirmation, it turns out that Friday was also the 567th anniversary of Joan of Arc's second trial when she was fully exonerated. 7-7-1456 was also a 7-7-7. I dare say we have Joan's blessing and she is going to walk the path with us!
PSS: one more fun confirmation. This is the 27th newsletter and week in our 7 year. 27 is the mystical vibration of the word witch!
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