What is a labyrinth? We might think of movies or trying times, some think of mazes, but a labyrinth is actually a spiritual growth tool that can be traced back to 1st century Christianity. There are multiple forms of Labyrinths, but most familiar are the Cretan and Chartres Labyrinths. The Chartres Labyrinth dates back to the medieval era. It was used to symbolize the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for people who couldn’t make the journey for either financial or health reasons.
Labyrinths are not mazes. The same way in is the same way out and they never have walls. You can always look around to see how far you have come and how far you have yet to go. The Chartres Labyrinths have 4 different quadrants that you wander through before arriving at the center. Many people walk labyrinths when needing clarity about something in their lives, when they need to grieve something, or as a new spiritual practice.
The amazing wonder with labyrinths is that there is no right or wrong way to walk it. Sure you can follow the path, but you can also walk all over it. You can take a symbolic item in that you want to leave in the center or skip through the whole thing. I encourage people to walk in with the mindset of desolation and grieve what they need to or examine what comes to mind on the way in. Upon reaching the center, it can be a powerful example of isolation with Christ. After spending time in the center, the journey back out invokes reconciliation with what you examined or grieved on the way in, enjoying the walk back out.
I encourage women to walk labyrinths no matter where you are in your life’s journey so that you can experience an embodied prayer. If you visit the website: www.labyrinthlocator.com, you will be able to find a labyrinth near you. We often walk Labyrinths on our Beautiful Mess retreats as well.
Others print off Cretan Labyrinths and have them at their desks to trace with their finger or a pen to have a private spiritual moment during their day.
Whatever the case, I hope that someday you too will walk a Labyrinth!