The Labyrinth

It’s no secret that I have a great love for travel which has been handed down to me by my mother, and her mother before her. As I dive into each culture, I have the blessing of new perspectives as well as discovering similarities to my own heritage and traditions.  What a gift! The diversity and oneness bring me home to myself again and again.

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I truly have a fondness for visiting sacred sites. I often experience a heightened sense of awareness as I step into a sacred location that has long been visited by pilgrims for centuries, or even thousands of years. I would also say that I have an unexplained longing for ritual.  Maybe that’s because the gift of engaging in ritual is transformation.  It is said that ceremony is a living symbol, and our focused intention is what brings it power.

In my preparation for travel to Mexico, I came across a profound ritual used within the Toltec tradition—the labyrinth.  Don Miguel Ruiz Jr, in the book The Five Levels of Attachment, explains how the Toltec tradition uses the labyrinth as a method for forgiveness.  The ritual allows for a letting go of egoic conditioning, limiting beliefs and associated emotional wounds.  One becomes aware of the pain that one has taken on and takes responsibility for absorbing and believing the words and actions of others. The exercise is an opportunity to see how one has contributed to one’s own pain, as well as a process to reclaim one’s own power through the simple but powerful practice of forgiveness.

Come walk the labyrinth as maybe you never have before…

Imagine yourself standing at the opening of a life-size labyrinth. 

A guardian ceremonially smudges you with copal.  The aromatic resin seems somehow familiar.

The maze calls to you. You note the carefully placed stones forming a single pathway.  It loops back and forth creating mesmerizing circuits surrounding the center. 

As you place your foot upon the path, it’s as though you step back in time.

The tradition comes alive. You are present, aware, and ready!

The Labyrinth


It’s no secret that I have a great love for travel which has been handed down to me by my mother, and her mother before her. As I dive into each culture, I have the blessing of new perspectives as well as discovering similarities to my own heritage and traditions.  What a gift! The diversity and oneness bring me home to myself again and again.

I truly have a fondness for visiting sacred sites. I often experience a heightened sense of awareness as I step into a sacred location that has long been visited by pilgrims for centuries, or even thousands of years. I would also say that I have an unexplained longing for ritual.  Maybe that’s because the gift of engaging in ritual is transformation.  It is said that ceremony is a living symbol, and our focused intention is what brings it power.

In my preparation for travel to Mexico, I have come across a profound ritual used within the Toltec tradition—the labyrinth.  Don Miguel Ruiz Jr, in the book The Five Levels of Attachment, explains how the Toltec tradition uses the labyrinth as a method for forgiveness.  The ritual allows for a letting go of egoic conditioning, limiting beliefs and associated emotional wounds.  One becomes aware of the pain that one has taken on and takes responsibility for absorbing and believing the words and actions of others. The exercise is an opportunity to see how one has contributed to one’s own pain, as well as a process to reclaim one’s own power through the simple but powerful practice of forgiveness.

Come walk the labyrinth as maybe you never have before…

Imagine yourself standing at the opening of a life-size labyrinth.  A guardian ceremonially smudges you with copal.  The aromatic resin seems somehow familiar. The maze calls to you. You note the carefully placed stones forming a single pathway.  It loops back and forth creating mesmerizing circuits surrounding the center.  As you place your foot upon the path, it’s as though you step back in time. The tradition comes alive. You are present, aware, and ready!

With best wishes,
Julianne and John

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Allow Miguel’s own words to carry you through your journey. This is an exceptionally beautiful forgiveness ceremony that goes beyond any one tradition.  May this ancient Toltec ritual of the labyrinth bring you home to yourself again and again.  If it nurtures you, please share it.

This is a condensed excerpt from his book:
 
As you enter the labyrinth, imagine it is a road map of your past that leads to your present moment in life. With every turn, envision a person, a moment, or a belief that you have used in some way to [limit] yourself. What or whom have you used to subjugate your own will in order to be accepted by yourself or others?
 
When you hold that vision in your mind – a person for example – stop, envision him or her, and become aware of how their words have contributed to your [limiting beliefs] and say, “Forgive me. I have used your words to go against myself.” Although that person might have used his or her words and actions to [limit] you, or to cause you harm or pain, you are the one who ultimately said yes to the belief and allowed it to blossom in your mind.
 
Forgiveness happens the moment you say no to carrying this pain, this weight, this hurt, and let go of it all…Forgiveness is the action that allows us to move forward in the labyrinth.
 
Continue through the labyrinth, repeating the same action of forgiveness as new people and situations come to mind – whatever person or wound hooks your attention at that moment. That is the next one you are ready to face and forgive.
 
As you reach the end… you will find yourself at the entrance to the center of the labyrinth. Stop here. Look at the entrance to the center point and envision a mirror. Walk up to that mirror and see your own reflection. When you are ready, repeat these words: “Forgive me, I have used your words most of all to go against myself, and I will no longer use them to hurt myself again.”
 
The action of entering the center point of the labyrinth represents the moment you forgive yourself. This is the action of your own forgiveness and of reclaiming the power, or the impeccability, of your own word – of your own intent. You are worthy of your own forgiveness, as much as you are worthy of your own love.
 
At this point in the exercise, you have let go of the past by recognizing that the only thing that exists is this present moment. The labyrinth itself is now the past, and you can let it go as you forgive yourself. With awareness, you can now draw the knowledge from your past to make choices in the present moment.
 
The labyrinth expands as you live your life, but the only truth is in that center, that present moment where you are alive. The labyrinth ceremony ends when you recognize that you are worthy of your own love because you are alive in this very moment.