I love to travel. Perhaps it is the spirit of my maternal grandmother who, at 14 years of age, traveled alone to America from her homeland in Sweden, leaving her family behind. Mor Mor Ragnhild is a young child in this family photo.
Or my father, also a Swedish native, who left his family and homeland after college and traveled to the USA to find employment in the big world outside of Scandinavia. Both traveled by ship across the Atlantic. Both entered through Ellis Island. Both traveled alone with few possessions. Both were here for many years before returning to visit their homeland. Both communicated primarily by written word with their loved ones thousands of miles away.
In today’s world we can communicate instantaneously with email and Skype. We don’t wait weeks or months for news to arrive. Letter writing, especially handwritten correspondence, is no longer the norm, but an artform. Only the imagination and fleeting memory recalls those times. I keep a cache of beloved correspondence, handwritten and yellowed on thin, almost transparent airmail stationery, written mostly in Swedish, that formed the lifeline, the umbilical cord of communication with the extended family, now mostly deceased. I can’t read the letters, but I can hold them and feel the love that was longingly tendered therein.
My inherited love for exploration of new places, communities and ways of life fuels my fascination with the ancient labyrinth symbol. Thousands of years old, embraced by widely diverse societies, this ancient symbol holds such mystery and intrigue. Traveling to and setting my feet or tracing my fingers along paths that have been traversed by people hundreds or thousands of years before me is awe inspiring. The mystical question remains open to theory and speculation, “Why?” Why were the ancient ones drawn to this form and why are we now returning, drawn once more to this ancient form? Is it an umbilical cord of Spirit? These are meander paths that bring us to our deepest wisdom, self-awareness and insight, if we allow ourselves to tread there.
Whether sliding my feet along the worn-smooth stones of the medieval cathedral labyrinths, or
tracing my fingers in circular labyrinth paths carved on boulders four thousand years ago, my breath is taken away. Perhaps it is this vacuum-like action that also opens my heart and inspires my soul.
Ancient wisdom still resides, be it in physical structures or in our very cells and DNA.
All are spiral in nature, stirring the whirlpool of consciousness.
Tread lightly, tread deeply, but tread nonetheless.