Discoving Our First Labyrinths

Do you doodle? I do.spiral doodle

I am not sure when it began for me. Maybe the first time I held a crayon, or when I was so bored in Mrs.Gardener’s class…. Or maybe it’s because I am a frustrated artist and doodling seemed like such an easy free-flowing form of expression. Could it be that doodling comes from an ancient and archetypal calling? Maybe its just all about foolishness and fun! (I did google “doodling” and found a wealth of information.– all of the above being true possibilities!)

Most of my doodles start with a simple dot. It doesn’t take long before the pencil turns the dot into wavy lines, circular and spiral shapes, which then form ever increasing, elaborate, swirling patterns! I am always surprised by the results.

Then one day, I noticed that these unfocused, unconscious scribbles of organic shapes left the paper and began showing up in my world. My Grandmother Lucy would take me for long walks in the meadows and woods near her home. It seemed like all sorts of circles and spirals and wavy lines appeared everywhere in nature —the unfolding tips of ferns, the round symmetry of a field daisy, the ripples in a pond, the little whirlpools of leafy debris at my feet, and overhead. the swallows swirling and swooping in formation.

Later in college, as an Art History major, these same shapes appeared in decorative art forms as far back as 5000 BCE. Slide after slide showed spirals and circle designs in Celtic art, imprinted on ancient Cretan coins, woven into primitive peoples’ baskets, painted on pottery or chiseled into stones at sacred places

Then in 1999, I went alone to Chartres, France as part of a sabbatical leave from the church I was serving. Feeling lost and lonely, I entered the Chartres Cathedral to pray. I couldn’t believe my eyes for there on the floor of the nave was the most unusual circular, spiral shaped pattern I had ever seen. It had an entrance to a very convoluted path made out of inlaid stones that wound around and around until it came to a large round center with petals like a flower. It was truly beautiful and I had to smile in recognition; for it was the most magnificent doodle imaginable!Chartres Labyrinth

People were walking it; some slowly, some quickly, some with shawls, some with scarves, some with heads bowed and others with outstretched arms. I felt drawn to step onto the path and walk. Slowly and steadily I turned the corners and circled my way around 11 times before I reached the center. Images of ancient peoples seemed to be accompanying me, praying for me, protecting my journey. My grandmother Lucy was holding my hand, guiding me, encouraging my steps. I no longer felt lost and all alone, in fact I felt strangely found. As I walked out the same way I had walked in, I said to a stranger who was about to enter, “Excuse me, sir, but what exactly is this that I have just walked?” And he smiled and said “Ah Madame, C’est une Labyrinthe! (it is a labyrinth!

 

To be continued…
And I would love to know:  Do you doodle?  What kinds of doodles do you do? 

Blessings,
Anne

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