The Labyrinth: Temple of Many Rooms, Inner state of Peace

A day of retreat, of self-discovery and of meditation.

The Labyrinth in the Garden of Remembrance, Temenos

While many are familiar with the labyrinth as a running pattern of spiraling paths, often associated with medieval churches where pilgrims found their way through the circuitry into a center where they sought to communicate with Divinity, here the Labyrinth harkens to a mysterious structure once described by Herodotus ( circa 450 BC) as an Egyptian temple near the city of Crocodiles considered to surpass the majesty of the pyramids. Herodotus, in Book II of his Histories, describes as a "labyrinth" a building complex in Egypt, with twelve covered courts-( mythologically significant, twelve harkens to the sky, and the zodiac— six in a row facing north, six south — the gates of the one range exactly fronting the gates of the other- portals all! Inside, the building is of two story and contains three thousand rooms, ( the mythical three, the trinity harkening to Mother, Father, Divine Child, to the past, present, and future) of which half are underground, and the other half directly above them ( above and below perhaps representing this world and the Other World). Herodotus speaks of being taken through the rooms in the upper story, speaking from observation on these while talking of the underground ones only from hearsay- Is this because the underground rooms were secret, mysterious like the ancient mystery traditions, places of initiation?

Herdotus states that the Egyptians in charge refused to let him see this, as he was told below contained the tombs of the kings who built the labyrinth, and also the tombs of the sacred crocodiles. In the temple complex of Kom Ombo below the mound is such a place, also thought to contain secret chambers of initiation and of spiritual healing, The upper rooms of Herodotus gigantic labyrinth complex Herodotus explains as fantastic, finding it difficult to believe that they are the work of men; “the baffling and intricate passages from room to room and from court to court were an endless wonder to me, as we passed from a courtyard into rooms, from rooms into galleries, from galleries into more rooms and thence into yet more courtyards. The roof of every chamber, courtyard, and gallery is, like the walls, of stone. The walls are covered with carved figures, and each court is exquisitely built of white marble and surrounded by a colonnade”. -Herodotus in The Histories book II, 160- 161. During the 19th century, the remains of the Labyrinth were discovered and the names of different kings associated with it. It is believed that it was built in stages. Described as one of the largest of all temples in Egypt, today it no longer exists.

Yet does it? Can we not bring forward this temple of twelve courts and three thousand rooms? It is the temple of being, a labyrinth of upper and lower complexes, of the seen and the hidden. There was a saying in the Emerald Tablet “that which is above is below.” Egypt was believed to be built in the image of the above, heavenly realm made manifest on earth. Thus we use this image of the Labyrinth of Egypt, this legendary place described by Herodotus, as a place of unending exploration, a place of many rooms of being, each opening us to better understand the hidden nature that lies within, eternally present and too often elusive, buried deep within our consciousness. With active imagination, waking dream state, we shall approach this massive Temple of Wisdom and ask for entrance. This day of seeking and of entering the Labyrinth shall be a quiet day of retreat, self-discovery, and of healing.

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© 2019, 2020 by Janet Piedilato

New Jersey, USA

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