Sarah Beth Hunt

writer on a journey in search of oracles, alchemists and hidden doors to wisdom

I love old maps. There is a part of me, a person inside who longs for adventure, a soul searcher who yearns to break free from the mundane reality of laundry and bills and find the path that leads to wisdom… So when I see an old map showing a world still to be discovered, a world where unknown lands still exist and magical beings, both good and ferocious, still walk the earth, that person inside does a little leap of excitement.

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One of oldest Christian world maps, the Saint-Sever Beatus 1050AD

These maps beckon.  They invite me into world that may have more dangers but also has more magic. They bring me back into a world where people still acknowledge that there is more to life than meets the eye. And underneath the crumbling edges and fading colours, these old maps depict a kind of bravery and determination to find a path through this world.  They speak of adventure.  They were drawn with a person’s hope of discovering greater meaning and purpose in life.

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‘A Marine Map and Description of the Northern Lands and their Marvels’, Olaus Magnus, 1539AD

And then there are the labyrinths.  Spiritual maps, they show the path not across oceans or through jungles, not to ancient cities of gold or fountains of eternal youth, but through the treacherous pathways of the mind and the soul.  These are maps which chart mankind’s search for sacred wisdom.

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Map of Jericho in 14th C Farhi Bible

I love labyrinths in particular because, while they make no pretences about the journey being arduous, full of twists and turns and even ferocious beasts, the path itself eventually leads to wisdom.  There is A WAY.  And as long as the traveller keeps walking there is a promise that a truer treasure, the jewel in the lotus so to speak, awaits them.

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Labyrinth

I need these maps. I need their inspiration. Their imagination.  Because for me, it’s too easy to get lost in the piles of laundry.  It’s WAY too easy to forget amidst planning meals and organising kids and paying bills and trying to spend time with my husband and family and friends, that there is something more to it all.  That there is something magical and sacred about this life.  Quite honestly, when you’re pushing two kids, a scooter, a push trolley, a picnic lunch, a ball and usually more…even with the best intentions in the world it’s hard to get anywhere fast!

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A metaphor for life (with some cute passengers!), summer 2014

But then I can look at these maps and they give me some reassurance, because they remind me that other people needed help navigating their lives too.  That seekers who came before me also lost their way in the swampy waters of everyday life and needed to be reminded to get moving again, to keep on keeping on…

I may be able to look back over the days and years of my life so far and see the path I took and the reasons for it, but looking ahead what I feel like I see is this:

GRASSYWATERS

Grassy Waters, photo courtesy of Sara Dynan

…various paths to take, grasses and swamplands to wade through, and a Vast Horizon…

What does your Map for Life look like?

One thought on “Maps for Life

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