Labryinth

Walking the Labryinth

The labyrinth, a tool for mediation, combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. Praying a labyrinth is a form of walking meditation which can lead from yearning towards joy, meaning, hope, and peace.

Early in the first century Christians began using the labyrinth in the practice of their faith. As early as 324 C.E. a labyrinth was placed on the floor of a Christian church in Algiers, North Africa. Historically labyrinths have been used as a way to symbolize and connect with the risen Christ’s presence, power, and love.

During the Middle Ages, Christians were expected to travel to the Holy Land at least once during their lifetimes.  Since travel was often dangerous and difficult, making a pilgrimage to one of the great cathedrals and praying a labyrinth was allowed as an alternative.  One of the oldest and best known labyrinths dates back to the year 1205 and is found on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France.

Walking and praying a Labyrinth simulates a pilgrimage.  The entrance and exit are at the same spot in the labyrinth. The single path takes you to the center and back out again.  Unlike a maze, which has many dead ends and false passages, a labyrinth has no dead ends. You cannot get lost.

The labyrinth is a spiritual tool that can be used by God to deepen faith in Jesus, to encounter Christ's presence and to be strengthened by God to live out the call to follow Jesus.

“In the path of righteousness there is life, in walking its path there is no death.” Proverbs 12:28

The labyrinth, a tool for mediation, combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. Praying a labyrinth is a form of walking meditation which can lead from yearning towards joy, meaning, hope, and peace.

Early in the first century Christians began using the labyrinth in the practice of their faith. As early as 324 C.E. a labyrinth was placed on the floor of a Christian church in Algiers, North Africa. Historically labyrinths have been used as a way to symbolize and connect with the risen Christ’s presence, power, and love.

During the Middle Ages, Christians were expected to travel to the Holy Land at least once during their lifetimes.  Since travel was often dangerous and difficult, making a pilgrimage to one of the great cathedrals and praying a labyrinth was allowed as an alternative.  One of the oldest and best known labyrinths dates back to the year 1205 and is found on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France.

Walking and praying a Labyrinth simulates a pilgrimage.  The entrance and exit are at the same spot in the labyrinth. The single path takes you to the center and back out again.  Unlike a maze, which has many dead ends and false passages, a labyrinth has no dead ends. You cannot get lost.

The labyrinth is a spiritual tool that can be used by God to deepen faith in Jesus, to encounter Christ's presence and to be strengthened by God to live out the call to follow Jesus.

“In the path of righteousness there is life, in walking its path there is no death.” Proverbs 12:28

 

 

 

Entering the Labyrinth

Before entering the labyrinth, it is helpful to spend a few moments  quietly at the periphery, allowing yourself to become still and attentive.  When you are ready, step onto the labyrinth and enter the path.  The entrance can be a place to stop, reflect, and seek God’s blessings on the spiritual walk you are about to take.

Three Stages of the Walk

Stage One — Releasing

When moving from the entrance of the labyrinth toward the center, focus on casting off the worries of the day.  Discard your many roles; leave demands behind.  Set aside the anxious desire to get the most out of the labyrinth and simply allow yourself to be expectant of what God is doing as you walk.  It may be helpful to pause at each significant turn so that you can look up, take a deep breath, and refocus.

Stage Two — Reflecting

At the center, pause for prayer and contemplation, creating a time to be open to the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Enjoy the silence, stillness and waiting. As you rest in the center, rest in the knowledge of God’s unconditional love.  Contemplate what God has done, is doing, and promises yet to do in your life.  Consider the possibility of the new, the miraculous, the Holy entering and remaining in your life. 

Stage Three — Returning

During the walk out of the labyrinth, as you retrace your steps, listen for God’s call to you.  Move away from anxiety toward peace and faith. Use this time of returning to consider how you will respond to God’s continuing presence in your life.

 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 119:105

Tips for Walking the Labryinth

  • Respect the sacredness of the experience by keeping a prayerful silence.

  • There is no “right” or “wrong” way to walk a labyrinth. 

  • Set the pace that is most comfortable for you.

  • Pause at each major turn to look up, take a deep breath, and refocus.

  • An average walk takes 30-45 minutes, allowing some time for meditation in the center.

  • After you have walked the labyrinth, you may want to continue your prayer through journaling, drawing, or simply sitting in stillness for awhile.

  • More than one person can walk the labyrinth at a time. When you encounter another person on the path, pause and let the other pass. If the person ahead of you is walking more slowly then you wish to walk, you may pass them.

© 2023 by Uniting Church Arizona. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • facebook-square
  • Twitter Square
  • Google Square