Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Labyrinth Dance

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a giveaway on Art Jewelry Elements blog. They were giving away one of these labyrinth charm/pendant/components from Jenny Davies Reazor. How could I resist? Of course I entered.

Ceramic labyrinth components

Ceramic labyrinth components

If you are a beader, you can find these in her Etsy shop!

Totally COOL! Plus, she had lots of information about labyrinths. Do you know they are not the same as mazes? Mazes have dead ends and you can get lost or wander around incircles. Labyrinths have one path to the center. Thy are an ancient tool used even by European churches in the middle ages. The one at Chartres Cathedral was used for walks of repentance and penance. The one at Chartres was built around 1200, but other labyrinths were used from ancient times. Their origins are lost.

People walk them for lots of reasons:   to relax, as a sort of meditation, for fun. Apparently, walking a labyrinth can help you attain a meditative state. In modern times, you can find them at churches and retreats. They are a path to the center….YOUR center.

So, Jenny said: ”

With New Year’s being a time where we all feel resolved to start fresh- I found this an appropriate symbol for the Component of the Month!

Where will your path take you in 2013? There may be twists and turns, you may lose sight of the destination at times, but if you have faith and stay on your path, all will be well.

Very inspiring!  Yes?

Once I knew I had won this, I also knew I would have to do a blog about labyrinths and show how I used this component so I surfed the net and got lost in cyber labyrinths. You know how THAT goes!!! I found lots of cool photos of labyrinths.



I still wasn’t inspired to make anything. Like a dog after an old bone, I kept digging. And guess what! I found something that I thought was unusual.

There is a pole dance that is considered a moving labyrinth. It’s used to mark points on the solar year. The most famous of these is the Maypole Dance, performed in Northern Europe on Beltane for you pagan folks or May 1st for the mundane world. Any number of dancers can be involved. Each carries a long ribbon that is attached to the top of the pole which is set into the ground at the goal of the labyrinth. The spiral pattern and inward movement of the dancers creates the path. It also makes an interesting ribbon pattern on the pole which can be undone by walking outward. This is particularly fitting for Beltane which is a solar festival of fertility and new growth. Your mind is cleared by dancing the labyrinth, the joyous movement and bright colors can fill your mind instead with clarity and joy.

Now, I’m getting inspired! Pole dances! Ribbons! Color! Joy! Yep! So I watched a lot of videos on YouTube hoping to get a sense of what I wanted to make. I watched a Beltane dance with no music, just clapping in Scotland. I watched a dance performed on stage with an orchestra. I watched young kids. I even found one that is done in Jamiaca on JA Day. Who would have thought it? Just shows you that those labyrinths got around in many cultures.



I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I was having fun. Then I found this picture of a “woven Maypole dress”. Is this not gorgeous? I went to the blog about this dress and thought I might do a sort of collar, weaving ribbons on a wire collar and somehow attaching the component. I’m thinking Sari ribbon at this point.

woven Maypole dress

woven Maypole dress

I just happen to know zilch about weaving. So I figure I’ll work with 4 cords/ribbons and I better learn how to braid with four cords instead of three. Finally, I had a plan. I also thought about adding flowers to the piece to celebrate May Day. Flowers are always involved. I discarded that idea. After all, the labyrinth idea is all about simplicity and clearing your mind. I didn’t want a lot of distractions. Then I hit the books, well, one book and found a Chinese knot that looked about perfect for what I wanted.

One problem. Ribbon, in any shape or form, looks really crappy when tied in Chinese knots. Even Sari ribbon, which is okay to braid, did not look right for the knots. Plus, I wanted to cords to look open and flowing like they did around the Maypole. So, I settled for rattail cord in spring colors and here is my Beltane Necklace.

Beltane Necklace

Beltane Necklace


labyrinth pendant with knots and "ribbon"

labyrinth pendant with knots and “ribbon”

I know it isnm’t fancy but I love the simplicity.  I love no beads to detract from the simple beauty of the pendant.  To me, it symbolizes the essence of walking a labyrinth, clear your mind, no distractions.  Joy, love, color! 

So, let’s take a hop over and see what the others have made.   some of us were winners of pendants ….we seem to be the “guests of honor”, LOL……..and the others are regulars from Art Jewelry Elements

This months guests of honor:
Emma Todd
Lee Koopman
Jess Green

And participating AJE team members:
Jen Cameron
Kristi Bowman
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Lesley Watt
Francesca Watson
Melissa Meman
Jo Tinley
Linda Landig
Sue Kennedy
Jenny Davies-Reazor, your hostess

December 31, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. What a facinating blog post, Lee. I too researched labyrinths, but didn’t discover the same things you did. I’m intrigued that Maypoles and labyrinths are related. I can see it now, but I never in a million years would have made that connection without this info. I really love your necklace. It is the perfect embodiment of the celebration. So cool! Great job!


    Comment by Linda Landig | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  2. What a lovely original design Lee and a really interesting post – brought back memories of the may festivals we used to have at school and the maypole dancing we did.


    Comment by Lesley Watt | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  3. So fabulous! I had never made the labyrinth/maypole connection. But it makes good sense… I love what you have done – visually and symbolically. Its great! And the Maypole dress – wow.

    Thank you for joining us! I am so glad you had a rewarding and inspirational time with my lil ole clay piece!


    Comment by Jenny | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  4. Wow, you did a lot of research, and the result is this gorgeous necklace! The colors are beautiful, and like you, I love simplicity–especailly in this lovely piece. I would have never connected the May Pole and labrynths.


    Comment by Alice | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  5. I did my own little research and I have to tell you I did not see the maypole connection either! I love your design. Simple is sometimes the way the bead tells us to go and you made a gorgeous necklace! Thank you so much for joining us!!!!


    Comment by Kristen | December 31, 2012 | Reply

    • I am so glad that I found that maypole connection. Once I read about it, the dance made perfect sense to me! I am secretly (well, no secret now) ecstatic that I was the only one who found it out! tee hee…….. I was hoping that this would be a really different kind of piece and I am planning on making at least two more to sell at Pagan Pride Day.


      Comment by stregajewellry | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  6. Wow! What interesting research your found. And I love how you tied it all together in your gorgeous design. I also usually prefer simple designs.


    Comment by Jennifer Cameron | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  7. Love the maypole inspiration! Reminds me of the maypole at the renaissance faire!


    Comment by Diana P. | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  8. Lee, This is such a lovely piece for Beltane!
    Brightest Blessings,


    Comment by Holly | January 1, 2013 | Reply

  9. I love how much you researched about labyrinths and what you found! So cool to know that stuff! Your necklace is perfect in it’s simplicity!


    Comment by Susan Kennedy | January 1, 2013 | Reply

  10. I love it Lee! So joyful, you did a beautiful job guiding us through the labyrinth of your inspiration and the end point sure made me smile.


    Comment by apolymerpenchant | January 1, 2013 | Reply

  11. I love it! The pendant is perfect with the silks, and I never would have realised the link between labyrinths and maypole! I remember doing maypole dances at school years ago.


    Comment by Jo Tinley | January 4, 2013 | Reply

  12. I’m so happy that you won this particular component and you could be inspired to write this particular post! I’m fairly familiar with Labyrinths and I do find myself automatically attracted to anything that has to do with them, like that gorgeous component you won 🙂

    I love, love, LOVE how you incorporated the maypole into your design and I think it came out amazingly ^.^


    Comment by Kayla Potega | January 27, 2013 | Reply

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