I have travelled thousands of miles and walked hundreds of pre-existing labyrinths but one of my favourite types continues to be one that I have drawn on the beach.
Once you know the seed pattern for a labyrinth you can draw it anywhere. One of the simplest, and my ongoing preferred one, is the classical 7 circuit. You can find the seen pattern and a graphic for drawing it, and other types of labyrinths on the Labyrinth Society website.
Once I had this pattern in my hot little hand 17 years ago I drew labyrinths on cushions, the paving stones in my back garden, on a large canvas for other people to walk and on the red dirt of the Central Australian desert. I have drawn it countless number of times on Australian beaches. There’s no experience quite like arriving at the water’s edge in the pre-dawn and drawing and walking a labyrinth as the sun rises. The whole process is an invitation to mindfulness: finding a wide enough palette of wet sand (tide tables help with timing), locating an implement to draw with , setting out the seed pattern then drawing the sweeping lines that connect the whole thing up to create this mysterious path to walk. The feel of the breeze off the water (or a southerly buster gale after a heatwave), the cry of the gulls, the wet cool sand underfoot are a constant call to return to the current time and place. It doesn’t matter how many times I do it I get a visceral thrill every time a labyrinth emerges from those dots and dashes.
If I wake and am anxious in the mornings I find that slowly drawing a series of small labyrinths in my journal can be settling and reassuring. From personal experience, I can also attest to their value as a doodle pattern in boring meetings.
In choosing to travel slowly down the majestic NSW south coast I was stopping over in places that didn’t have preexisting labyrinths so I took the opportunity to create (very) temporary ones at Surfbeach Bateman’s Bay, Mystery Bay and Tathra. The white sand and turquoise water made them exquisite locations. Only one was marred by a dickhead flying a drone immediately above me while I walked. I think it’s the only time I’ve uttered expletives from the centre of the labyrinth as this overgrown mosquito buzzed above me. If I’d had a gun I would have shot it down and put paid to his Christmas toy! You could say the meditative effect of that walk was sadly dissipated.