Labyrinth Quality Experiences
by A. B. Champion, Philo, California, USA
29 January 2001
I have been working with labyrinths since 1987, and the reason I do is, of course, for the experience. I was a scientist before I worked with labyrinths, so it was natural for me to ask 'why should anyone have an interesting experience just walking a design painted on the ground'? Now as a scientist I see this question having two parts. There is the walking the labyrinth part, and there is the experiencing part (Fig. 1). One way to approach this problem is to vary the labyrinth part and see what happens to the experience. Change the symbol one walks and observe the outcome.
The hard part of this is what happens? Is there such a thing as the labyrinth experience? When I observed what happens when I and others walked a labyrinth, I saw very quickly that each experience was unique. Many times nothing happens. This is particularly troubling for a scientist, because scientists love repeatability. If one does an experiment and something happens, before they can suggest their observations as scientifically valid, it has to be repeatable by anybody. The labyrinth experience does not fall in this category.
Recording Experiences. So what to do? I saw very early that I needed to document experiences, reporting what happens as honestly as possible. This resulted in my collecting many accountings of many different people walking many different designs. I wrote about my experiences while making 6 earthworks, and two temporary designs in my first book, Earth Mazes, which came out at the end of 1990 (1). I continued to take notes while making another 15 earthworks, keeping extensive notes of what happened each day, to record what I accomplished so I could gauge how long it took to do things. To capture the flavor on the job I talked about the people who helped me and our interactions. I also recorded any interesting experience that happened.
I give about half a dozen talks year, and have been doing so for about a dozen years. I am always changing my talks, and I always write out before hand new speeches, so the written speeches became a good source of information of experiences.
The Daily Diary. My best source of information came before I started thinking about the labyrinth experience, which started seriously in 1990. Before I became interested in labyrinths in 1987, I had been exploring all kinds of alternative spiritual practices like rebirthing, homeopathy, crystals, past life regressions, and seeing many different spiritual healers. When I begin in 1986, I kept a daily diary to record what happened during these practices and also my impressions of lectures and workshops I attended or metaphysical books I read, or sacred sites I visited. I continued with the diary until the fall of 1989. During the first half of 89 I made three earthworks in a row, so I had an accounting of what happened while making them. What makes this dairy important is that this was before I had done my first survey in the summer of 1989, and at a time when I wasnÕt thinking serious about defining the labyrinth experience. I was a naive subject with no preconceive notions. I did the experiment the best way I could, and that is before I thought about it.
Surveys. I also started doing surveys to find out what happened with other people. I put up a design, ask people to walk it, and then find out what happened. I started in June of1989 at the West Coast Conference of the American Society of Dowsers, which is held each July at the UC Santa Cruz campus on the west coast, and did seven surveys over a dozen year period (Fig. 2). The survey form has evolved over time. The latest is shown in the Figure 3. In this survey people typically circled three or four words, with every person selecting a different set. The ŅotherÓ comments were all unique, and unpredictable.
From the surveys I recorded 829 comments from 274 people. Although all comments were unique and unpredictable, but I also learned that many people had similar sorts of experiences.
Feeling Subtle Energy. The most common similar experience is feeling subtle or universal energy. A commonly held belief is that this energy is from the spiritual world but it interacts with the physical world and is experienced as subtle sensations or feelings. I experience it as a tingling or strong sensation usually at fairly specific places like the top of my head, between the eyebrows, in the middle of the chest, or sometimes on places in my body where there was injury, like my lower back. Sometimes I feel it as a general tingling throughout my body. Others feel it as a warmth or a sensation in the palm of their hand. My hand starts pulsing when I put my palm over a mound energy line that I have dowsed.
In one survey 12 people out of 21 reported feeling energy while in the design (The Figure 8 design in Figure 2). In a second survey with a different design, 29 out of 68 people reported feeling energy (The viking-age-horse-trappings maze in Figure 2). In each study, people said they felt energy, but their experience was generally unique.
Unpleasant experiences. A. dizziness. Sometimes people had unpleasant experiences. These manifested in feeling dizzy, or spacy, or even nauseous. IÕve had this type of experience quite a few times while in labyrinths or in other special spots. While visiting a stone circle in England I felt dizzy, almost nauseous. At an ancient site on the Point Reyes Peninsula just north of San Francisco, I felt strange and tired, and started having depressing thoughts. In both places I returned to normal a short while after I left.
When I make labyrinths as earthworks, which requires many days of all day working at the site, it happens in a unique fashion (see below). It has happened to many dowsers more than once. The interpretation is that youÕve received an overdose of energy, literally too much of a good thing. The remedy is to leave and stay away for at least a half an hour, sometimes longer.
Most of the unpleasant experiences I had when I first started out, and didnÕt know what was going on. Nowadays, I dowse before going into any design, asking if it would be beneficial for me to walk it. I havenÕt had an unpleasant experience in years.
Self-Hypnosis Influence? The unpleasant experience is evidence for the idea that there is really something there, that we are not just hypnotizing ourselves to have these experiences. People could have the following thought ŅI am going to walk this ancient sacred symbol, so I am going to have a mystical experience.Ó Then one goes there and has a spiritual experience. I remember distinctly during one survey a lady said to me ŅOh I so wanted to have a wonderful experience, but I feel so dizzy and nauseous.Ó She did a lousy job of hypnotizing herself.
A labyrinth experience should be unexpected. To counter against the self hypnosis argument, one of my criteria for noting and recording an experience as authentically labyrinthine, is that it is unexpected. A labyrinth experience should be unanticipated otherwise one can argue with good reason that you might be hypnotizing yourself. And indeed all my experiences are unexpected.
B. Pain in body. Other times people will feel a pain somewhere in their body. During one survey I asked a young man, who had finished walking the design, about his experience. He said his walk had not been pleasant, that heÕd developed tension in the back of his head and his vision became blurred. I did some dowsing and suggested that he should walk some more, preferably the longer the better. He left and I didnÕt really expect him to follow my suggestion, but later the same day I saw him walking it again. When he finished, I again asked him what happened. He said that the tension in his head and the blurred vision returned but went away as he kept walking and he came out of the maze feeling fine.
I have had similar experiences myself. A pain will appear in my body while walking. I will dowse to see if I should continue to walk. I usually get a yes, and when I continue walking the pain goes away. Others have experienced the same thing.
Making labyrinths as earthworks. From a personal viewpoint, I have learned the most from my experiences while making labyrinths as earthworks. The earthworks take between 2 to 3 days to a week or more to make, or when I first started making them, many weeks to several months. While on the job, I am in their energy for six to eight hours a day. This is quite different from taking a 5 or 10 minute walk through a labyrinth. It was here where I really learned about getting too much energy.
The shut down sequence. In the early jobs, some days I would get an achy feeling in my upper right back. If I did nothing, the achy feeling would move upward to my neck and I would get a headache. If I still did nothing I would get suddenly very tired and weird, and the headache would get worse. I would leave and go take a nap. I called this the shut down sequence. I interpret my experience now as getting an overload of energy.
The sobbing release technique. In 1989, I learn to short circuit the shut down sequence using a technique I call the sobbing release. I developed this technique from several observations. While working with a psychic healer doing past life regressions, one time I was a cave woman who had lost several children to wild animals. She was very angry, yet unable to express grief. Both the healer and I mentally comforted her and sent her love. She finally accepted the comfort and begin to cry, not just a few tears but a prolonged weeping. Then I did the same thing. Afterwards I felt lighter, as though something had been lifted from my body. Another observation: when the full effect of my fatherÕs dying hit me, there was a distinct heaviness in my chest. I had a heavy heart. After a prolonged cry it was gone. It seemed to me that body movements during the intense crying aided in the release of ŅenergyÓ that had built up because of some situation. I postulated that the anger of the cave woman was held in her energy fields as an energy pattern. The therapy we gave to the woman was an energy attunement, which resulted in energy leaving my fields. The sobbing completed that process at the physical level.
I first used the sobbing release technique while taking a homeopathic remedy. One time I noticed an unpleasant aching developing in my body. I discovered that I could relieve the aching with the body movements used during sobbing. While sobbing without crying, I contract and release my abdominal muscles at the same time I am repelling air from my mouth, using muscles in my throat. As the abdomen muscles contract, air is expelled. The technique has evolved with time. Nowadays, as I am sob without crying, I use the forefinger of my right hand, and make a CCW spiraling motion away from the place in my body where I feel something. My intent is that I am pulling out energy. Since I assume the energy IÕm releasing is non-beneficial, I ask my guardian angel to recycle it. I then ask my higher self to restore and balance my energy fields. It is a strange and awkward technique, but it works.
Later I found that the sobbing release short circuited the shutdown sequence. In the first jobs I did a lot of releasing. When the aching feeling appeared, it was a real nuisance, because it meant that I had to have to leave the job. My focus was making earthworks, and I didnÕt want to stop for any reason. So the sobbing release saved me time, because, if I did the releasing when I first noticed the symptoms, they were relieved.
Sobbing releases as an indicator of spiritual healing. The picture I began to develop in my mind was that there was energy present in the designs I was making that was somehow causing changes in my energy fields which resulted in energy leaving. The effects were experienced in the body as rather unpleasant sensations that I found I could alleviate by sobbing without the tears.
Energy Work. This process is energy work, an energy attunement. There are many forms of energy work, for example: rebirthing, homeopathy, past life work, meditation, prayer, and psychic healers. Now it appeared that labyrinths were also capable of energy attunement. On three separate occasions, different women dowsers, who can see subtle energy, saw energy in the area where I was using the sobbing release. One lady even called it past life stuff. So these days when I am using the releasing technique I am experiencing an energy attunement.
Connection between experiences in labyrinths with experiences in other healing modalities. Other observations supported my hypothesis. I made my first earthwork in the late 80s, a right hand Cretan. During one spring, the bay area dowserÕs chapter came up to our place for to visit my labyrinths. So I decided, beforehand, to water the mounds to get the grass growing. I had a primitive water system so I had to water by hand. When I had dowsed the grass maze I had found that there was a power spot in the center of the design. I also knew about overstaying in a place with energy, so I was purposedly avoiding the central power spot. I had been in the maze for an hour or so, when I noticed that an aching pain appeared in my upper back region. It was not due to any muscle strain, watering is not that difficult. I left for lunch, and the pain subsided. When I returned after lunch the pain reappeared, and stayed until I left.
A little over a week later I received a dose of a homeopathic remedy. For the next several days early in the morning, the back ache I had experienced in the labyrinth reappeared and stayed for several hours and then went away. This happened for three or four days and then stopped. I got the impressions that the labyrinth had started loosening up an energy block, that the homeopathic remedy then kicked out.
Later I dowsed that the entire earthwork was a power spot, and that I had been in a power spot for the entire time I was watering.
Then I remembered another incident that had happened a month or so earlier in the same Cretan earthwork. I was at the center (end of the path), when I got an urge to sit in the cross. I did, and while I was contemplating the fact that all barriers of this design came from the center of the cross, a wave of sadness came over me, and I felt like crying. This was totally unexpected. I was feeling perfectly fine that day, so I was surprised and baffled. The next week at a dowser past-life-regression session, the same sad feelings came ¨p in a past life regression, and this time I did cry.
Both these observations suggest that energy work was started in the labyrinth, as indicated by the unpleasant experiences, and completed with another healing modality. Nowadays, I view the unpleasant experiences, the dizziness and pains, as evidence of an interaction between our fields and the energy field of the design. Sometimes the interaction was so extensive as to cause disruptions in the normal functioning of the body. Too much happening too quickly. The solution, leave, and let your body adjust. TOP OF PAGE
Dreams. Another common experience I had while making labyrinths was that I had many vivid dreams. The dreams, in general, were educational. and also promoted an energy attunement. I view my dreams as representing some aspect of myself. A typical dream: a universally despised and feared bad guy is holding up in a building. Bursting with self-righteous anger, I go in and kill him. The dream ends. Using dowsing I discover that the dream is showing me an aspect of myself, the self righteous anger, that is no longer needed and the energy representing that attitude can now be removed. I ask my subconscious mind to show me that energy. I typically feel it as a tingling sensation or a slight ache or sensation somewhere in my body. I then use the releasing technique to pull out the energy. Next I ask my higher self to send down energy to balance my fields, and to recycle the energy that left. Several other people have told me that they often had dreams after being in a labyrinth.
Another indicator experience is to feel noticeably calmer. This usually happens after a certain type of design which brings in a certain type of energy which I found by dowsing, which I will talk about shortly. For meander pattern based designs (like the Chartres and Cretan or 7 circuit classical), I will on occasion feel energized. So feeling unexpectedly calmer or energized are two more indicator experiences.
Falling asleep. I have noticed that sometimes, four or five hours after taking a homeopathic remedy I will feel unexpectedly sleepy, and then take a nap for several hours. My usual day time nap lasts an hour. One time a lady came to my Cretan earthwork and decided to not walk. She then lay down and fall asleep right beside it. After taking a dowser group to three of my sites, I took them to a fourth, where all 10 of us promptly fell asleep. The first two times I watched crop circle videos I fell soundly asleep, and I can assure you that was not my intention. Many times lately on the meander wand canvass I fall asleep when I am not particularly tired. I think it has to do with the adjustment process. Perhaps the body sees right away that a major adjustment is needed, and so it shuts down for a while. This is not as good an indicator experience as the others, as I could be nodding off because I am tired.
Delayed reactions. Many times I will be in a labyrinth and nothing in particular will happen. Then hours later, I start releasing because I feel an unpleasant sensation somewhere in my body. I dowse that the releasing was caused by the labyrinth walk. Other times I will feel an unexpected and usually undesired emotion, for example, getting angry at something that normally would not bother me, or feeling depressed after an undramatic event. The latter are expressions of the energy blocks being challenged by the labyrinth energies. They are probably unnecessary programs that can clog up your energy fields.
Profound Experiences. Labyrinth quality experiences can be very common. A profound experience, for me, is something I donÕt forget easily. My immediate reaction is for my mind to immediately start commenting on the event, and I think about it constantly for several days. One quick example: after finishing a design I call the square root of two cross (Fig. 4), I was headed home when the thought popped into my mind to visualize the design in the center of my chest. When I did, I immediately felt very strong sensations in that area that radiated outward. A feeling of euphoria followed. The first thing I did when I got home was to tell Joan of my experience. Profound experiences are rare, happening maybe once in a hundred or so labyrinth exposures.
Summary. I have collected hundreds of experiences from people walking a wide variety of designs, and noted many of my own experiences over a 14 year period. Every labyrinth experience is unique. But there are experiences that indicate that energy work is being done on the person walking the labyrinth. Many of these experiences appear especially after long exposure to the designs. They include feeling subtle energy or having certain unpleasant experiences including feeling dizzy, achy, strange and tired. My personal indicator experiences include these plus using the sobbing releasing technique, having vivid dreams, falling asleep, and becoming calm or energized after being in certain types of designs. I use these experiences as assays to evaluate new designs, like the Meander wand.
© 2000-2003 Alex & Joan Champion