During this time I’ve been thinking a lot about the work that I’ve done with Labyrinths (which admittedly is not nearly as much as I’d like). And just today I got a timely reminder in an email group that I’m part of (Veriditas – it’s where I did my Labyrinth training) of how another trainer is normally off to do some Labyrinth work at a festival and now is to stay home. How can we still participate in our love of Labyrinths? Or you may be wondering what are Labyrinths? In this coming piece I’ll explain both of these questions for you.
You can still walk a Labyrinth! How? Well there’s two options (there are, in fact, many more) you can either find a Labyrinth close to you by searching here: Labyrinth Locator. When you find your nearest Labyrinth hop in the car, jump on your bike or get your walking shoes on and participate in mindful meditative walk. Your second option is to check out this app: Labyrinth Journey and do a virtual Labyrinth walk with your finger. Here’s a little snippet of my “walk”.
Now onto what a Labyrinth is…..
What is a labyrinth?
- Throughout history and today, labyrinths are used as part of the practices of a variety of faith traditions and spiritualties.
- Labyrinths were common in Europe in the Middle Ages, and walking them was part of popular culture.
- Recently, labyrinths have been rediscovered as a tool for Christian prayer and meditation.
- Labyrinths and mazes are often confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns and blind alleys.
- The labyrinth here at school is a unicursal labyrinth, with a single path to the centre and out again.
Christian Symbolism of Labyrinth:
- Labyrinths are sacred spaces that represent the intersection of humanity and the divine.
- The circle can be seen as a symbol of the universe, of God’s masterpiece.
- The cross that bisects the circle can be seen as a symbol for Christ in the world.
- Labyrinths represent a journey to our own centre and back again out into the world.
- The meandering path is the journey of life.
- It can also be seen as a path of truth through the maze of choices that the world presents.
- The path through the labyrinth constitutes the longest possible way to arrive at the centre.
How to walk a labyrinth:
Pause and wait at the entrance.
It is important not to rush the experience, but to submit to its structure and discipline.
The path is an opportunity for meditation. Walk it mindfully.
You will need to watch your feet in order to concentrate on the path. This helps to focus your mind.
Pass others by stepping to the side and around them.
When you reach the centre, stay there and focus for several moments. Leave when it seems appropriate.
Turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending, such as ‘Amen’.
After walking the labyrinth, reflect back on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
Hopefully this brings a little bit of joy during these unprecedented times. I would LOVE to hear or see pictures of you visiting your favorite Labyrinth. Please feel free to share!
(Oh, the featured pic on this post is me at one of my favorite Labyrinths in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.)
Thanks for being.