"If we really wished, if we actually dared to devise a style of architecture which corresponded to the state of our souls, a labyrinth would be the building we should erect. But we are too cowardly to construct anything which would be such a complete revelation of our hearts." Nietzsche
I guess I'm taking the dare.
A gardening friend of mine, Diana Goings sent me a picture of the beautiful labyrinth at the Shrine of Saint Therese outside of Juneau, Alaska. The paths are lined with stones gathered from the beach, encircled by a lush border of sheltering shrubs.
|The Labyrinth at the Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau, Alaska Photo by Diana Goings|
It gives a visual history of labyrinths from many parts of the world created over a span of thousands of years. I've been fantasizing about having some of the petroglyphs shown in this video carved in to the granite boulders that mark the cardinal points.
I went home for 4 days to rest my body, a 4 1/2 hour drive. I traded massage with two friends an hour after I arrived home. Its something I have been doing for 28 years with my dear friend Evelyn and a number of third persons, who at present is a recent devotee named Holcombe. 2 on 1 massage is the best massage ever. We pull and twist and roll your body in to a variety of positions to expose muscles and lengthen the spine and limbs. I got another one two days later from my friend Mikey who has recently completed his certification as a massage therapist. Both massages were brutal and deep and reparative. I love the waves of endorphins that kick in after a painful grinding with an elbow under my scapulas. Massage basically heals you proactively and immediately. Most people rarely or never get them. This baffles me because it is always the highlight of my week. Because we trade it is free, and we have developed a pantheon of wonderful techniques derived directly from experience. All three of us get a great massage. Mikey said he put his foot on the wall for leverage as he ground in to my back. If I could get one of these every day I would. If I didn't do it weekly I doubt I would be able to continue to be a stone mason.
I lead what many believe to be a very good life, in large part because I make a point of traveling every winter. With miles I earned buying materials I've gotten round trips to Rome, Istanbul, and Barcelona for a couple hundred dollars each. This fall I got one to Athens, stopping in Paris again for a week. Yippee!
|Graffiti in Paris|
|Visting the Acropolis in Athens 4 years ago|
|Seattle across the water, with a Monet sky|
When I got up in the morning it was pouring rain, monsoon style. I wanted to go back to bed, but by the time I was finished with breakfast the rain had stopped and I was blessed with a dry day. Whenever the sun broke through the clouds the temperature went up a little and my mood elevated. The skies have been so beautiful.
|A break in the weather|
|The Rest and Cleansing Moon|
|The Big Winds Moon|
|I started just past the boulder in the middle today...good progress|
|The 11th Circuit is nearly complete|
I had an hour of light left so I ran over to Rockaway Beach and filled four buckets of stones. I am starting to look for larger oval stones to make a 108 stone mandala in the 10th ring. That is 27 stones in each quarter, nine stones for each moon. The paths will make their first turns to link to the 10th circuit.
|Sunset on Rockaway Beach|
I later worked until dark setting the eastern 'Budding Trees Moon', where the outer ring path turns towards the center. The color for this moon is yellow, which took a lot of searching to come up with enough stones in this color range to do the work. The mineral for this moon is the Fire Opal, the animal is the Red-tailed Hawk, and the plant, the dandelion. This is the Aries Moon of the Spring Equinox.
My project manager Gregory came by for a visit, and afterwards he went to use the prayer wheel to send a much needed intention out in to the world. I made a big yellow flower for him in the turn in the path, the first of the 108 large stones that will be set in the 10th circuit.
|Gregory's flower, the first or last Mala stone|
I unloaded and washed and sorted the rock to the various color piles. The site is getting a little messy as I bring in more and more rock, but I need to spread them out to see what I have. I finished setting up the forms for the entry and a 180 degree turn in the outer ring.
|The Budding Trees Moon at a turn in the path|
|A friend comes to visit|
I slept in the next morning and did a lot of stretching and self massage to get the body rolling for another day. There was a blanket of fog obscuring the view of Seattle, but the most romantic dream like image of a schooner with white sails was just visible like a ghost in the mists offshore.
|The morning view|
|Chip blessing the flower made for his cousin|
The diameter of this labyrinth is 36 feet, which when multiplied by 3 is 108. There are 9 Mala stones between each of the 12 moons and 27 in each quarter of the circuit. The individual digits of 108 represent 1, an individual thing or self, 0, nothing, and 8, the symbol for infinity. 54 stones will be set on each side of the axis to the right of the entrance. This for me represents the force of duality in constant flux to maintain the balance that regulates the cosmos.
In Hindu mythology, the creation of the cosmos is sometimes described as a story called the Churning of the Sea of Milk. This is a cosmic tug of war between the two opposites of all things pushing and pulling on each other to create motion. Devas (demi Gods) and Asuras (Demons) pull back and forth on Vasuki, a seven headed Naga Cobra and the king of serpents. Vasuki is wrapped around the holy Mount Meru, which is used to churn the Sea or Ocean of Milk to create Amrit, the elixir of immortality that had been lost to the Gods. The God Vishnu directs the proceedings in two incarnations, one as a turtle, Kurma, who supports the mountain to prevent it from sinking. In the other he sits on top of the mountain and inspires the churning. In the duality of the process, a powerful poison is produced, perhaps to balance the Amrita. Lord Shiva is said to have drank the poison in order to save the universe, turning his neck blue. One of the gifts produced in the churning was the Moon.
|Angkor Wat in the 1990's|
|Bas relief of the Churning of the Sea of Milk at Angkor Wat|
|My first attempt at a turn in the path from the 11th to the 10th circuit|
|An embroidered depiction of the Rasa Lila|
|Larger stones create a Mala bead bracelet of 108 stones in the 10th circuit of the labyrinth|
|Brian and Shelly|
|Bryan and Shelly's flower|
|In perspective the half farther away looks so much smaller than the closer half|
Today, October 6th was my Mother's 80th birthday, and she had asked me if I would make a flower for her. I want it to be very special, and so I decided I would make the last moon in the 11th circuit, the Ducks Fly Moon that lies in the gap between the turns on the western side of the labyrinth, the point of the autumnal equinox, in her honor. We were both born under this Libra Moon. I had to return to the beach to collect more purple stones and find more Mala stones. There are 9 between each moon passing through the range of colors in the Medicine Wheel. Large oval purple stones are hard to find. I also need brown, orange, black, white, silver, blue green, and yellow Mala stones to finish this circuit. I have about 60 more to set before the paths turn to the 9th circuit. I worked until dark and wasn't able to make a suitable flower for my Mother, or reach the point where I could create the moon, which was frustrating. When I called her that night I promised that I would do the work soon. Her favorite color is turquoise blue, so I would like to make her a splendid flower when I get to the blue green part of the color wheel around the big winds moon. But I will make a sprinkling of flowers thinking of her throughout the entire project.
|My Mother feeding a peacock at Peterson's Rock Garden in the early 50's|
After I rolled the buckets of stone down the hill in my wheel barrow, and washed and sorted them to the areas they will be set, I sat and did a series of chants to clear my mind and ground myself. I feel like a mosaic machine when I am working in full mode and need to reclaim the joy of the work. I love seeing the progress but the exhaustion dampens my mood. So I went down the to Prayer Wheel, which I haven't done since I started and sent out three different intentions, including the wish that I survive the process of manifesting this project. The circuits get considerably smaller as I move inward. The first two are a substantial percentage of the entire project (I'm saying that to comfort myself).
It was getting dark, but I sat on the swinging bench for a while and stared at the bay. This is such a beautiful place.
|The view from the swing|
|Laying out orange Mani Stones in the 10th circuit|
|Luke stopping by for a visit|
|A gorgeous late afternoon sky|
|Two white flowers dedicated to Jadin and Joe Bell, on either side of the 79th Mala Stones|
The sign was delivered today that describes the project so that people who visit will have a better understanding of what it is that I am building here. Gregory will mount it on posts to the side of the entrance to the labyrinth.
|A sign describing the Halls Hill Labyrinth Project|
When selecting stones it is good to look at them from the side, turning them to find the plane that would be the top, ones that don't have bumps on the sides that would make them difficult to fit tightly together with other stones.
|An ideally shaped stone, with a nice flat top and square sides|
A good way to test them is to put two possibilities together to see how they look. They can be small or large but should be at least 2 inches thick in the direction that will be imbedded in to the mortar so they wont pop out later. Thin pancake like stones have the tendency to become dislodged over time, which I really don't want to have happen. I'll use the stones you bring me in the mosaic if they pass those requirements. These will probably go in to the 3rd circuit from the center, which will represent the planet Earth orbiting the Sun. I will be building this circuit next Spring. If you do bring stones to the site and I am not there you can leave them next to the sign.
I also finished the 12th moon in the outer circuit, the 'Ducks Fly Moon' which is the moon for the sign of Libra which my Mother and I were born under. It lies in the western direction between the two turns in the outer ring. I dedicated this moon to my Mother and I call it the Mary Lou Moon.
|The Ducks Fly Moon, dedicated to my Mother Mary Louise in honor of her 80th birthday|
I didn't sleep well again, probably because I my body is so sore and my mind if full of rocks, but I had a very productive day. As the project progresses and I meet more people, the Labyrinth seems to become more meaningful and profound with each passing day. There is a strong sense of gratitude from the people who visit this park as it is a place of beauty, solace and peace. When I describe the meaning of various parts of the design and how the labyrinth could be used it resonates with the richness of possibility and generates a lot of excitement for visitors.
Gregory was at the site when I arrived today, installing the sign for the project. It is perfectly placed. I love how conscious every element of this project is. It is a pleasure to work on such a level.
|Gregory installs the sign|
Nancy and Dave came along just as the Terryi's were leaving. Dan is blind and Nancy brought him over to feel some of the stones I am working with, and the texture of the mosaics. I made them each a flower on either side of a gorgeous piece that looks like a blue heart, with dark blue veins.
|Nancy and Dan's flowers and the 'Blue Heart' Mala stone|
|Dave and Nancy visiting the site|
|The Planets in our Solar System|
|Reaching the turn at the end of the 10th circuit|
|Forms for the 9th circuit|
|Rocks on the beach at Point White Pier|
|It took 2 1/2 hours to collect these stones|
|The Element of Water|
|Beginning the 9th circuit|
|Two lovely visitors|
|A flower dedicated to Peter|
|The stopping point until the next installment|
Thanks for reading, Jeffrey