The labyrinth, thousands of years old, is a one-pathway puzzle. It has been used in the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe for ceremonial purposes, including spiritual and rites of passage rituals. It is a primal, pagan pattern and represents our journey to own center and back again into the world.
Right here in beautiful Santa Cruz at Seabright Beach on March 20, you will find Dean Pollard digging his quarterly labyrinth, celebrating the spring equinox. It takes him between 9 and 12 hours, with a little help.
PdeG: What is the meaning of a labyrinth?
PD: Birth, re-birth, transitions, healing, beauty, passage of time, spiritual growth, enlightenment, connection to source, rebirth, resurrection, emergence, evolution, progress, spiritual path, initiation.
The labyrinth can be a powerful tool for inner enhancement and development. It is designed specifically for this purpose. When walking the labyrinth, we find our perspective constantly changing. Our vision and physical bodies are never facing the same direction for long. Our inner knowing can come out.
PdeG: When were you first interested in labyrinths?
DP: I was a teacher of eurythmy at the SC Waldorf School. As a Halloween activity in my lessons, I drew out the Cretan labyrinth with chalk on the floor of the classroom. I experimented with many variations of walking the labyrinth and incorporated teachings about the body, ritual and spirit. A labyrinth had historical and contemporary value and seemed a good way for the children to learn.
PdeG: What is eurythmy?
DP: A movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools.
PdG: What led you to dig your first labyrinth?
DP: After the Halloween classes, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and decided to dig a labyrinth on the property of the Waldorf School.
PdeG: How did you decide to create a labyrinth at Seabright Beach?
DP: The idea came upon me one day as I looked over the seawall to Seabright Beach and saw a perfect natural amphitheatre. The mouth of the San Lorenzo River at Seabright is also the birthplace of surfing. With my love of surfing, ocean and labyrinths, I pulled it all together.
PdeG: Why do you continue to dig labyrinths?
DP: I love the process of it for the cathartic nature of the activity, where pleasure and pain are woven into one. Digging labyrinths has served me in my quest for healing and wholeness. Since I was 19, I have struggled with post traumatic stress disorder. I was drawn to the ocean for healing in the form of surfing. Digging the labyrinth next to the ocean allows me to incorporate these two elements: the movement of the ocean and the movement of the body. The movement I feel in my body when I am digging is a catharsis. I can go on for hours and get into the rhythm of my water body. It is an intuitive path for relief from injuries, and has become my rhythmic dance for healing and wholeness.
PdeG: I have read that a labyrinth synthesizes earthly and cosmic influences. What does this mean?
DP: Digging a labyrinth is a form of earth acupuncture or earth acupatterning. I dig and pull out a deep relief in a pattern. This is a primal creation and the deeply dug, uniform pattern opens up a window into the matrix of our earth as a living organism. The acupatterning helps the earth maintain its connection with her mother, the cosmos.
PdeG: What happens after the labyrinth is finished?
DP: First, I walk it as my savasana. Then the people come. Many walk it as their personal ritual. Some people destroy it. People see the labyrinth in different ways. For me, it is time to let go of it all and see what happens. I come down to Seabright each day for the week curious to see how the labyrinth has evolved or devolved. It is a practice in letting go.
PdeG: What do you love most about digging a labyrinth?
DP: It is a cleansing. The hours and hours of work and self-healing keep me in shape and informed about my body and mind. It is a meditation. It is also a great way to communicate with people. I love it when people come down to help. I would love to dig labyrinths across the country. Most of all I love beauty, and a labyrinth is a beautiful thing.
Sunday, March 20th, head down to Seabright Beach and watch Dean in action.
Dean Pollard’s website: appliedeurythmy.com