The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool that has been used throughout the world for over four thousand years. A labyrinth is a circuitous path with one entance point that leads through a series of switch-backs to its center.
A labyrinth is not a maze WITH dead-ends and blind alleyways. The labyrinth, when followed, leads eventually and without making choices to the center. It is designed TO let you find your way. The labyrinth may be thought of as a map, but as such it should not be confused with the territory that it represents, that is the inner Being and its relationship with spirit.
The classic eleven circuit labyrinth was laid on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in about 1201. The oldest labyrinth associated with Christianity dates from the 4th Century and is found at Repartus, Orleansville in Algeria.
A labyrinth represents a spiritual approach to the Divine, through the three-fold act of release (Purgation), awakening (Illumination), and return (Union). It intentionally evokes the character of a pilgrimage, in the Christian sense a pilgrimage to the Celestial City or Jerusalem. Everything that happens on the labyrinth is metaphor and so it serves as a metaphorical doorway to personal enlightenment.
Walking the labyrinth
the labyrinth is quite personal.
You may feel different reactions while walking the labyrinth — joy, contemplation, revelation, sadness, and eleation. Be unselfconscious and give yourself permission to let your reaction be expressed as it chooses—crying, laughing, dancing, singing.
Within the labyrinth, everything is metaphor—sound, waiting, thoughts, smells, body feelings, witnessing others, etc. Let the experience be what it will be.
The labyrinth is a two-way path. The walk is interactive. Do what feels natural. Follow your own pace. Lose your way. Pass others and be passed. You may want to stop, especially at the switch-back turns.
When on the labyrinth, it is important to be considerate. You may sit or lie down, and can stay for as long as you like. Take your shoes off unless you need them for support for medical reasons. You may want to approach the labyrinth with a centering thought or a question.
You can ring a bell, wave a scarf, listen to music, or do whatever you feel during your walk.
Special thanks to:
Gardens at Gantz Farm Volunteers for their constant dedication and financial support.