Capturing Belle in Labyrinth

Marlborough Maze at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, UK




I just discovered Belle’s mother, Catherine Vandertuin, brought Gamelan music to the UofO. My surrogate daughter studied this music, and played it when she attended the UofO. Her uncle, Ron Ramus taught Tai Chi here. Belle’s father, Jeffrey Burch, introduced a Labyrinth Walk that was accompanied by Belle’s mother.

My autobiography is about making my way into the center of Rosamond’s Labyrinth, where I find her, Mon Belle. Belle Burch is at the epicenter. In Friday she will pose for my rendition of Belle Rosamonde in the Labyrinth.

It is uncanny to discover this Labyrinth Walk conducted by Belle’s mother and father whom she talked about briefly. This post shows two painting of Fair Rosamond being found via the clue of the red thread. The Rosamond cote of arms depicts a weaving needle made into a cross with two roses to the side.

Belle’s mother died nine years ago when my muse was fourteen. There is something being reborn here, are awoken. The Descent of Innana (1997) is like Pan’s Labyrinth. (2005). “There will be signs.”

“Catherine brought Javanese gamelan music to Eugene in 1992 with the founding of Gamelan Nuju Laras, well known for accompanying labyrinth walks created by her partner, Jeff Burch.”



Jon Presco

Copyright 2014

Above we see a genealogy published in 1947, the year Christine Rosamond Benton, was born. It shows the Scarlet Thread Line descending from the royalty of Crete where the great labyrinth was made. The ritual practiced within was conducted by the “mistress of the labyrinth”………The Rose of the World?
On this day, February 20, 2013, I declare Rosamond Clifford the embodiment of the Labyrinth Mistress, and a Mistress of the Holy Grail.
You also see the descent from the Milesian Kings from who the Kings of Ireland descend. Cretans migrated to Miletus.

John Aubrey, in his “Remaines,” 1686, tells us that his nurse used to sing the following verses to him:

p. 167

“Yea, Rosamond, fair Rosamond,
Her name was called so,
To whom dame Elinor our Queene
Was known a deadly foe,
The King therefore for her defence
Against the furious Queene
At Woodstocke builded such a Bower
The like was never seen.

“Most curiously that Bower was built
Of stone and timber strong.
An hundered and fifty dores
Did to this Bower belong,
And they so cunningly contriv’d
With turnings round about
That none but with a clew of thread
Could enter in or out.”

This is the tale of Rosamund’s Labyrinth, a tale of love, jealousy, hatred; a tale whose truth is lost in the mists of time. What we have are myths, legends, songs and stories, passed down by word of mouth, from that medieval time.

Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna, although the similarity in name to the Biblical Hannah, mother of Samuel (according to 1 Kings); the Canaanite Anat, and the Christian Saint Anne are coincidental, the name Hannah in Hebrew having a different etymology deriving from a native root. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.
Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses.,4444754

Eugene lost one of its most creative artists last week. Cancer stole Catherine Vandertuin from us when she was far too young. In her too-short time here, Vandertuin, the founder and artistic director of Eugene Chamber Theatre, applied enormous energy, creativity and collaboration to the innovative theater/music productions of Dust and Dreams, Antigone, The Descent of Innana and Ice Cure, the last adapted from an original manuscript. She also collaborated in various puppet and mask theater productions. Her vision was to create multi-disciplinary works that explored themes of balance and wholeness. Catherine brought Javanese gamelan music to Eugene in 1992 with the founding of Gamelan Nuju Laras, well known for accompanying labyrinth walks created by her partner, Jeff Burch. Although her theater work and family obligations eventually forced her to give up the gamelan, Catherine’s contribution continues in Nuju Laras’s successor, Gamelan Sari Pandhawa, and the 90-piece Javanese gamelan Gamelan Kyai Tunjung Mulya, whose construction she commissioned and supervised. Gamelan Kyai Tunjung Mulya was ultimately donated to the UO where it is used to teach UO students and other community members. Through her teaching at LCC, collaborations with other community artists, and irrepressibly creative spirit, Catherine made Eugene a much more artistically vital place, and her legacy will live on in the audiences she touched and the artists she taught and inspired.

The Sacred Labyrinth Walk, Illuminating the Inner Path, is the ancient practice of “Circling to the Center” by walking the labyrinth. The rediscovery of this self alignment tool to put our lives in perspective is one of the most important spiritual movements of our day. Labyrinths have been in use for over 4000 years. Their basic design is fundamental to nature and many cultures and religious traditions. Whatever one’s religion…walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight. It calms people in the throes of life’s transitions.

Georgiana Lotfy, Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist, Doctor of Ministry, has facilitated labyrinth and meditation presentations for several years. She can be reached at

We extend an invitation to people from all faiths, especially those who are in transition and/or are struggling to find a means of prayer or meditation.

Join us as you learn about this ancient meditation tool of prayer, as we become “spiritual beings on a human path, not simply human beings on a spiritual path.”


Bernadette Gaire performs a sacred dance on 36 foot canvas labyrinth People, formal cultures, and traditions have used the spiral and labyrinth designs as a symbol of their search for meaning and guidance. The labyrinth is a “unicursal” or one path design – there are no tricks or decisions to be made – much as the surrender to walking a sacred spiritual path in life – our only decision is to choose spirit/God and surrender to divine guidance. The labyrinth is non -denominational . People of all faiths and people longing to re-connect to faith come to walk labyrinths. “I found peace and a sense of God’s presence that I had not experienced since childhood,” responds a labyrinth walker.

Some of the earliest forms of labyrinths are found in Greece, dating back to 2500-2000 B.C.E. This labyrinth is called the Cretan labyrinth or classical seven-circuit labyrinth. So much a part of the fabric of this early society was the labyrinth, that it was embossed on coins and pottery. Early Christian labyrinths date back to 4th century, a basilica in Algeria. The Chartres design labyrinth is a replica of the labyrinth laid into the cathedral floor at Chartres, France in the thirteenth century. The Chartres design is a classical eleven-circuit labyrinth (eleven concentric circles) with the twelfth being in the center of the labyrinth.

One walks a labyrinth by stepping into the entrance and putting one foot in front of the other. After traveling through all the paths and windings, the walker comes into the center – the six – petal rosette, after a time there, the walker returns out to cover the same path out as in. Total travel is approximately one third mile, depending on the size of the labyrinth. The Chartress Cathedral Labyrinth is 42′ in diameter. My portable labyrinth is 35′ wide.


Walking the labyrinth on New Year’s Eve at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, CaliforniaThere is no “right” or “wrong” way to walk a labyrinth. I ask and aid walkers at my workshops by stating “quiet the mind, open the heart”. Because you are walking, the mind is quieted. Labyrinth walks are sometimes referred to as “body prayer” or walking meditation. I suggest that people may want to see the walk as three parts to a whole experience – but I recognize many go through the walk and these parts at different stages.

The entrance can be a place to stop, reflect, make prayer or intention for the spiritual walk you are about to take. The walk around the design to the center can be a “letting go” – a quieting of the thoughts, worries, lists of tasks to do, a letting go unto the experience of being present in the body. Arrival at the center rosette – a place of prayer/meditation – “letting in” Gods guidance, the divine into our lives. When ready, the walk out “letting out” takes us back into our lives, empowered by spirit to transform our lives and actions.

In many ways, I see the labyrinth as a call to action, a transformation spiritual tool for people. It can aid healing, help in releasing grief, (people often shed tears during the “letting go”), help guide through troubled times, aid in decision making, illuminate our purpose in life, and act as a tool of celebration and thanks. I have seen it be many things for many people. It is important to recognize it as a spiritual practice, not a magical tool. Its work is our commitment to enter into the sacred spiritual walk, not merely once, but to use it as part of an ongoing spiritual practice.

The vision of the world-wide Labyrinth Project is to establish labyrinths in cathedrals, retreat centers, hospitals, prisons, parks, airports, and community centers so they are available to walk in times of joy, in times of sorrow and when we are seeking hope.

Jeffrey Burch practices Rolfing® in Eugene and Portland, Oregon. He specializes in Rolfing® structural integration, visceral manipulation, cranial manipulation, and Upledger CranioSacral Therapy. Jeffrey has utilized these techniques to provide treatment for chronic pain carpal tunnel, TMJ, and many other conditions.
Fascia, dura, peritoneum, pleura, ligaments, and other forms of connective tissue are manipulated to reduce the effects of contractures and adhesions. Restricted motion, alignment problems, and pain are alleviated. Energy cysts and other energetic effects of physical and emotional trauma are detected and released. These modalities are often described as complimentary or alternative health care or medicine.

Jeffrey leads study groups, teaches continuing education classes, and offers mentorship in Portland and Eugene, Oregon. Oregon License #9092

The Descent of Inanna

In Gratitude

For the audience who makes a story. For those who came to the performance of the play made from these poems more than one—who told me they would do so until they had their favorite words memorized. For Catherine who never feared to go anywhere into feeling, who asked for the voice of Ereshkigal. And then had the spirit and force to gather us all into this amazing theater production. For Jeff who introduced me to Catherine “just to see what would happen”. For all the amazing actors and actresses whose gestures became my words.

There is no greater gift for a poet than to see her words embodied by such a brilliant group of men and women as Eugene Chamber Theater.

Our whole community suffered the untimely death of Catherine Vandertuin, its founder and director. Catherine, we miss you. But you are still present to us in the work you elicited from us—you are still present in these words.

The Story Behind the Play

The inspiration for these pieces came from working with the actors and director of Eugene Chamber Theater. They improvised the story of the Descent of Inanna, and then provided encouragement, insight, and feedback for the words that I wrote after being inspired by their work. I owe an immense debt to Catherine Vandertuin, Eugene Chamber Theater’s late producer and director (see “Slant” article that follows). She was the archetypal woman gatherer in her role in both this theater piece and this group as she undertook the daunting task of producing a theater piece out of the poetry that came to me in our collaboration. I have been deeply touched by the spirit, talent, perception, and dedication of DJ Adams as Old Woman, as , Nancy Hopps as Inanna (who has taken new directions with her talent) , Richard Leebrick as Dumuzi, Katina Poxino as Ereshkigal , Barratt Walton (also a talented director and playwright) as Ninsubah, Corey Woods as an early Dumuzi, and Tim Guetterman and Jason Hines as Inanna’s sons. I know of no greater gift than to work with such brilliant performers and whole-spirited human beings. I would not have written these words but for their generosity, courage, imagination, and intelligence.

Extraordinary thanks are also owing Jeff Defty, who not only wrote an exquisite musical score for the Eugene Chamber Theater production to accompany my words– but who originally introduced me to Catherine Vandertuin with the prospect of our collaboration.

You, the reader, are one more element to community in these poems: in the old traditions, the listening of the audience makes a story. In Eugene Chamber Theater’s 22 productions of the Descent of Inanna, audience presence, sharing, and feedback provided further inspiration for all of our work. It is because of so many audience requests for these words that I am publishing them here—as small recompense for the great gift that this whole process has been to me.
I have included here the pieces that audience members requested most often. The following poems were used in the Eugene Chamber theater’s first year production of Descent of Inanna: “Old Woman Dreams of the Wind”(I and II), “Inanna Burns Dumuzi Through Four Lifetimes”,
“The Call of Ereshkigal”, “Inanna’s Farewell”, “The Old Woman at the Gate”, “The Descent of
Inanna”, “Woman on the Cross”, and “Chorus”. “The Voices of the Angels of Darkness” was
added in the second season of production. I owe Richard Leebrick special thanks for helping me
to arrange the drafts of “Dumuzi Speaks to the Silence Inanna Leaves Behind” into the piece
here—which he also powerfully acted in the second season of production.
The story of the collaboration process of Eugene Chamber Theater’s production of the
Descent of Inanna is detailed in Tim Guetterman’s video documentary, The Descent of Inanna:
the Tale and the Telling, which he produced and directed with help from Katina Poxino. This
documentary project aired on the Oregon affiliate of PBS and won the “Best of Oregon” award at
the Da Vinci Film Festival.
The Myth
In the beginning, two sisters embody the Tree of Life. The elder sister, Ereshkigal, is dark
and sensual as the fertile earth; she is the womb and root of life. The younger sister, Inanna, is vivid
with the brilliance of fertility, imagination, and creativity; she represents the branches on the tree of
life. Together the sisters represent the whole heart of the world, in which male and female, human
society and nature, light and dark, life and death, are interwoven. But this wholeness is not to last.
The citizens of the city of Uruk take Inanna for their queen and outcast Ereshkigal to a hideous
Underworld. As its queen, Inanna brings mathematics, agriculture and irrigation, mathematics, law,
and astronomy to Uruk. When she chooses the shepherd Dumuzi to be her consort, he is made king,
and Inanna bears and raises two sons with him.
Meanwhile, castaway Ereshkigal suffers terrible loneliness in the Underworld—made
bearable only by her mate, the magnificent Bull of Heaven, who expresses the unbridled power of
nature. But in their drive to empire—and to extend their domain over nature, the people of Uruk
imprison and slaughter the Bull of Heaven. At this, Ereshkigal calls out to Inanna, recounting all
they have lost in their separation. Inanna hears her sister’s eerie, compelling voice and withdraws
from public life, determined to make the journey to the Underworld to rejoin her. Before she goes,
she leaves an inheritance to her sons, and asks her lifelong friend, Ninshubah, to send help for her if
she does not return.
Inanna goes through the seven gates to the Underworld, divesting herself of something at
each gate, until she gives up her life itself in order to enter the inner chambers of Ereshkigal. There
the outcast Ereshkigal is consumed with rage and grief from her years of rejection at the sight of
Inanna. She strips Inanna to the bone, keeping her impaled and lifeless before her.
When Inanna does not return, Ninshubah solicits help for her: small beings created from the
soil under the fingernails of Enki (God of compassion). These creatures slip under the gates of the
Underworld to go to Ereshkigal’s side. There they perform the redeeming service of compassion,
empathizing with Ereshkigal in her pain. Touched, Ereshkigal offers them their boon of restoring
Inanna to life. She releases Inanna to be re-born, but by the laws of the Underworld, another must
return to take Inanna’s place. Ereshkigal’s creatures, the Gala (the messengers of Ereshkigal in the
first poem here), attach themselves to Inanna to ensure fulfillment of this bond.
When Inanna returns to her life, she comes to her sons and to Ninshubah, who are
mourning for her, and instructs the Gala to leave these righteous persons alone. But when Inanna
finds Dumuzi, he is in the midst of an orgiastic celebration. The Gala take him, and Dumuzi
loses all his kingly trappings as he falls to earth to grovel in his own Underworld.
There are a number of versions of the tale—and one broken Sumerian tablet that leads to
speculation—about what happens next. In some versions Dumuzi dies: in some he is freed from the
Underworld during half of the year because his own sister offers to take his place. Here Dumuzi
represents the dying of the green world during winter that is reborn each spring. In our version, he makes an alliance with ancient feminine spiritual power represented by the serpent he calls to for help just before the break in the ancient Summerian tablet passed down to us. He interweaves this serpent with his own authority (reflecting the Sumerian symbol of the caudus still used in medicine today)– and his full humanity, like Inanna’s own, is restored.
To this traditional narrative, I have added an Old Woman-storyteller. I envision her to be something like the priestesses who kept the rituals and myths of Inanna for generations. Like so many grandmothers, storytellers, and women healers I have been privileged to know, Old Woman embodies “all the courage love takes when it opens our eyes.”

the winds of Sumer.
Woman on the Cross
(The Voice of Ereshkigal)
I: Anger
Can this be Inanna?
The one who rules by the light
As if the night
Is nothing at all?
Now the Queen of Light knows
What it is to be called
By the goddess Ereshkigal,
Before whom life and death
Hold hands.
Only Inanna came to Ereshkigal
Wearing the power of unholy things!
I have fixed this for Inanna!
Ereshkigal has cleaned Inanna
Of her passing daylight.
Oh, Sumer!
Behold your queen now!
You who threw Ereshkigal away,
Do you hear her speaking to you
From that eternal city
That lives under your own?
City of thieves!
I have stolen something of my own.
The Queen of Night
Has the Queen of Light
In her bond.
And the ways
Of my underworld are perfect:
They may not be questioned.
II: Grief
Oh, oh, my insides!
They have ripped me open!
My Bull of Heaven,
He who announced me
To the sky
On the thunder
And the lightning
Lies before me in a shroud–
And I, the Queen of Death
Can do nothing.
For the ways
Of the underworld
Are perfect-
They can be
Neither questioned
Nor changed.
The ways of the underworld
Are perfect,
And therefore
I cry for us both.
Oh, oh, my back!
Oh, you who once loved me.
I am a foreigner to myself,
A word spoken
By no one.
When I saw you glowing,
Inanna, do you know
How that hurt?
I, too, am a woman.
I, too, sometimes
Miss the sun!
Oh, Oh, my heart!
Oh, my Bull of Heaven!
Where have you gone
And left this poor corpse
In your place?
I have become
A journey
Without a traveler.
Oh, my belly!
What is there to feed
A woman such as I am?
I am a wall
Of hunger
No one can walk through,
A prisoner
Of my own vision.
I am struck numb
With my secret language.
Why must I suffer so?
Is there no one
To cry with me
To hold my hand
And wipe my brow?
Oh, heaven and earth
Who step on me,
You have named
Every one of my children
For someone else.
I am so weary
Of being your fear!
I am so weary
Of being that
From which nothing
Can escape.
Hear me, Oh, Sumer!
I am she who takes back
What belongs to the earth.
Oh, Sumer
Why have you scorned me so,
When I only steal
What must be stolen
To return it to life?
I have only
Taken everything
To my own
Ereshkigal’s Gift to the Singer
Who are you with eyes so brave
As to cry with me?
Who give my words life
By your listening?
Speak now for yourself, you
Who have crossed the bridge
Between life and death
To stand in the underworld with me:
Name some gift you wish
To take back home with you.
For the ways of the underworld
Are perfect in what they grant
To the courage of love.
Inanna Burns Dumuzi through Four Lifetimes:
The Third Time
Inanna arrives home from hell.
Dumuzi does not look at her.
She wears ghosts at her side,
Her husband will not
Look at her.
He makes her stand
Outside the gate
While other women
Satisfy him.
But the eye
Inanna fixes on him now
Is the eye
Of a woman who has been
To hell and back.
Dumuzi does not hear the sizzle
That comes toward him.
He does not see
The flame rise
Until it is too late
To flee.
Inanna has fixed
Her eyes on Dumuzi,
She looks on his palace
And it is reduced
To coals in the desert.
She looks on his treasury
And his coffers of grain
And his barrels of wine
And his gates and guards
And one by one,
They each go up
In flame.
Inanna reaches out
For Dumuzi once more.
She ignites the lightning
Over his head:
The angels of darkness
Dance and whisper in her flame
And Dumuzi falls to earth,
Himself whispering like a ghost.
Words fall out of him
Like the teeth
Of an old man,
And he begins to sing.
Just before his breath
Becomes smoke
Dumuzi the shepherd
Who once slept
With the animals,
Begins to sing.
Dumuzi sings,
And the snake comes to him.
Dumuzi sings
And the snake comes alive in him,
Dumuzi sings
And the snake’s body
Becomes his own.
Dumuzi sings
And he forgets his hands and legs,
Slithering in the dance
That outdances the flame of time,
In its turning,
Dumuzi sings,
Slipping out of skin after skin,
Until the fire itself
Calls him brother.
Dumuzi sings,
Celebrating the snakeskin
Of the rainbox
That is the marriage
Of heaven and earth,
Man and woman.
Dumuzi speaks to god
In the body of a snake.
And when Dumuzi
Rises from the flames,
He has the symbol of the snake
Inscribed in his heart.
And the lightning
In Inanna’s eyes
Is woven round his scepter—
That scepter that is now
The rule of healing.
Inanna Burns Dumuzi through Four Lifetimes:
(The Fourth Time: Homecoming)
Inanna and Dumuzi sit before the fire,
Talking together like the wind,
The cinders of time in their hair.
Dumuzi burns, flashing his spirit
As he once did his body.
Inanna burns, weaving her fire
Into the generations
In order to pass herself on.
Together Inanna and Dumuzi
Are the thunder and the lightning,
And wherever they strike,
Heaven and earth
Come together again.
Old Woman Dreams of the Wind II
Last night I dreamt of the wind:
I dream many dreams:
You yourselves
Are only one of them.
But we will never lose each other,
For the wind repeats everything.
And now that my years
Have become a bundle of magic,
I dream the black wind
Of possibility, that pitcher
Where dawn hide itself
Until it elopes into the morning.
I dream the black dark-handed wind,
Feeling for that point
In falling from the sky,
Where we begin to own the distance,
Soaring aloft like eagles,
Witnessing everything.
Last night I dreamt of the wind:
She has the voice of a woman
With a story to tell:
She is crossing a bridge,
And there are so many colors,
Swimming like fish below that bridge,
It takes more than one lifetime
To see them all.
The wind is an old woman,
And time does not apply to her.
Yesterday still blows on today’s wind.
The wind herself has only one breath
Which we all share.
The wind herself
Is an old woman,
And when I am gone
Across her bridge,
Ask the wind
What became of Inanna and Ereshkigal,
Of shepherd and king, mother and lover,
And the singer who sings of them all.
The wind repeats everything,
Remembering it all–
Remembering you, too,
And the voice of your own
I am not afraid of dying.
I have crossed the bridge of dreaming
So many times–what is one more time?
I look forward to seeing
Some old friends again.
Besides, the ways of the underworld
Are perfect, as any storyteller knows.
But as for you,
Who have made me grandmother
By your listening–
I will miss you.
So listen for me
When the wind blows.
Listen for me–
And sing for yourselves.
I am that which is not forgotten.
I am your first breath,
Made of water,
Become the great shaking sea again
Before your dreaming eyes.
I am the dark soil,
Midwife to glory and to ruin:
The inevitable cracking open
Of all things.
I am the star-driven
Water of life,
Crying its way home.
I am the dance
Of the visible
And the invisible:
I am the dreamer
And the dream.
I am the one who crawls
Low on the earth
And steps high
On the throne of heaven,
Never forgetting my eyes.
I am your shadow:
Panting behind you
With your greatest fear,
Laying out your longest image
Toward the sun.
I am your own feelings
Come to life before and after you
As far as the eye can see.
I am what tears have made.
I am what tears
Are made out of.
I am vision
Large enough to embrace
What I have made.
I am the ancient city
Of the body.
I am the one
Who does not turn away.
I am the one
Brought home again.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Capturing Belle in Labyrinth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.