“The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the centre of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
So, where were we? Where was I? Ah yes. I was telling you what happened a year ago when I went plunging into the labyrinth. About those neat precise steps I took that changed my life. You know, the not eating so much thing. The not drinking alcohol thing. The exercising thing. The meditation thing. The breathing thing. All pretty average really. Pick up any self-help or spiritual development book and it will tell you more or less the same stuff, tell you to do more or less the same things. Thing. Isn’t that a wonderful word?
It comes from the Old English, þing. No, no, not 'ping' – the symbol at the front is a ‘thorn’ pronounced ‘th’ (a soft th). You find the same word in Old Norse and proto-Germanic. Originally it meant a meeting or assembly but later on came to mean a being, an entity or a matter (in other words the thing that was discussed at the thing). Even more interestingly, thorn was originally a rune (there are several which were incorporated into Old English).
There are many various readings of Thorn in a runespread but, amongst other things ;) it can mean a gateway, a place where one becomes ready to contact the numinous, the Divine. A place where you are confronted with the true reflection of what is hidden inside. In one of my rune books it says:
'Visualise yourself standing before a gateway on a hilltop. Your entire life lies out behind you and below. Before you step through, pause and review the past: the learning and the joys, the victories and the sorrows - everything it took to bring you here. Observe it all, bless it all, and release it all. For in letting go of the past, you reclaim your power.
Step through the gateway now.'
(Wow. What a thing! Never underestimate a word, a letter, eh?)
Anyhow. Let’s pull back a bit here. Firstly, you’re assuming this change thing was/is a good thing, right? And yes, as far as I’m concerned, it was, it is, hopefully it will be. But a lot of people, looking in, from other perspectives, would say it was a bloody disaster. *grin* It depends what you want, I suppose. Jung said that the ‘job’ of the first half of one’s life is to find one’s way in the world and the work of the second half is to find meaning; to find oneself, to ‘individuate’ as he put it. Trouble is, if you’re like me, you’ve spent a whole lifetime putting up barriers to who you are. I had so many people, so many personae, so many entity-things rattling round inside my head, it wasn’t so much an orchestra as a horrible cacophony of sound – a string quartet playing music wars with a brace of death metal bands, Brian Eno, The Pogues, Hildegard of Bingen and, um, Donovan.
We find ways of moulding ourselves to the world, to fit in, to belong to our various tribes. We validate ourselves with our positions in life; our friends; our work; our status; our 'brand'; our houses; our cars; our holidays; our hobbies. Some people get it right. They are congruent. Everything fits, more or less neatly. They know who they are and what they’re about. There aren’t too many contradictions; too many paradoxes.
But for me it never really fitted. I love/d spiritual stuff but I hate/d New Age waffle. I love/d nature and ecology and felt hugely strongly (still do) that the environment is THE biggest issue we have (truly, how can it not be?) – yet I wince/d at the worthy hemp bag/ranty leftwing political stuff. I love/d writing and reading but didn’t/don't wanna talk about it all the time; didn’t/don't wanna discuss the nuts and bolts, didn’t/don't want to dissect it. And so on and so forth.
You know how some people have their ‘thing’? (btw, dontcha just love the way language evolves??) I envied that. I wanted a ‘thing’. So so desperately. If I had a thing, I thought, everything would be so clear, so simple. Because once you know what you want you can go after that thing single-mindedly, single-heartedly – and with the right prevailing wind, you can get it. Yeah, pretty much any thing.
But if you don’t…
Anyhow, there I was, not a clue in the world, wanting a thing but neck deep in muck. And I stumbled into the labyrinth. And, as I said in a few posts last year, it really wasn’t a neat walking down an ordered flight of stairs. It was more of a headlong (I typed headless there and really that’s right) stumble, trip and tumble down a rabbit hole.
Did I follow those precise step things I mentioned? Did I hell! I just went mad, pretty much. Something or other in my psyche responded to a trigger. What? I have no idea. The scrolls to the Labyrinth were burned. I can’t pinpoint the exact thing that prodded me in the back and pushed me down the hole. Oh, okay, the trigger that made me jump.
I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. I shook all the time. My mind exploded into a thousand fragments and came back with a totally different formation; then exploded again and again and again.
I scribbled occasional notes in my diary…like this…
‘I can’t sleep again. This time, though, it’s different. I fall into bed at about 1am and crash, only to wake up at 2.30am with my brain fizzing. It’s like my body and mind are recalibrating themselves. I can’t eat either: just don’t feel like it. All in all, I really do think I’m going ever so slightly crazy.
And I’m plunging down astral pathways, frantically searching. It’s a multi-dimensional maze, a crazy labyrinth. It’s like life’s been on hold for years and now I’m suddenly waking up.
I know that sounds crazy; it probably is crazy. It’s scary as hell but it feels horribly right. Even the not sleeping bit. I’m writing this at 4.30am. I’ve been awake for two hours. I’ve read a book already and my eyes are red sore. I’m shaking, as if all my cells were being rearranged, being put back into the right order.
Weirdly, it feels good.’
So. Was that a good thing? Is that a good thing? Is that something you’d want to do? Is that something anyone should do? Even if it meant you lost four stone? *wink*
Have you *got* this thing yet?