“Labyrinths are usually in the form of a circle with a meandering but purposeful path from the edge to the center and back again. Each has only one path, and once we make the choice to enter it, the path becomes a metaphor for our journey through life, sending us to the center of the labyrinth and then back out to the edge on the same path. The labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to the deep rhythm that unites us to ourselves and to the Light that calls from within. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness.”
Lauren Artress, Walking a Sacred path, Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool.
Walking the labyrinth is one of the most ancient of spiritual practices, first documented in 324 on the floor of a church in Algiers. One of the most famous labyrinths was used in medieval times when Christians who could not go on the Crusades in the 12th century went to the church at Chartres, France, where there was the eleven -circuit labyrinth pattern on their church floor for a pilgrimage. Labyrinths are winding paths that double back before reaching a center. It is different from a maze in that there is only one way to go. You cannot get lost. It can be a time for meditation on sacred words, scripture, or discernment as you move. You can walk, crawl, skip as you walk, but you must be considerate of other pilgrims walking the path. The Episcopal priest, Lauren Artress, was a pioneer at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco for introducing the spiritual practice in the 1990’s. There are books about praying and meditating while walking the labyrinth (Camp. Geoffrion) and how to make your own labyrinth (Welch). A friend, Twyla Alexander, has written a book about her pilgrimage to walk the labyrinths in 50 states and to hear the stories of the women who created them. These are just a few of the sources for a labyrinth walk.
Choose one of these books or others or go or talk with a friend who has walked the labyrinth and try this ancient practice especially if you are one who cannot sit still and meditate. I would also like to hear from you about your experience walking the labyrinth and books you have found helpful.
Laruren Artress, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice.
Jill Kimberly Hartwell Geoffrion, Christian Prayer and Labyrinth and Praying the Labyrinth.
Carole Ann Camp, Praying at Every Turn, Meditations for Walking the Labyrinth.
Sally Welch, Walking the Labyrinth, a Spiritual and Practical Guide.
Twylla Alexander, Labyrinth Journeys, 50 States, 51 Stories.