Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Labyrinth: A Sacred Path to the Center

The labyrinth holds an ancient meaning as a prompt for prayer.
The winding path leads to the center; this serves as a mirror to reflect the movement of the Spirit in our lives.
It is a path of symbolism leading from earth to God.
There are no tricks, no dead ends. It is a walk with a heart and mind open to Christ, open to the spiritual journey of our lives.

Early Christian labyrinths date back to a basilica in Algeria during the 4th century. The most famous is the Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth, France (1220 AD). They were used to symbolically represent the pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the Middle Ages. A more recent example can be found at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. 
The basic shape of the labyrinth is Cruciform. This significant Christian symbol of the cross is readily visible in the four arms of the design.
The four corners around the cross represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; as well as the four seasons and stages of the life.
To create eleven paths or circuits requires twelve circles for the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve disciples, serving as a reminder of our communal need to care for one another.
The labyrinth journey has three phases.
Letting go – the path inward.

IlluminationClarity, insight, and openness to receive – the journey center.

UnionIntegration of what is learned from the prayer experience into action in the world – the path outward.
The labyrinth represents the path of grace of our sacred Christian journey. Historically it has been used as a pilgrimage for soul searching. Today, labyrinths are being used for meditation, reflection, problem solving, comfort and prayer.
People have different experiences walking the labyrinth. As with all practices of prayer or meditation, the experience will grow and deepen the more it is done.
                                                                               ~ http://www.sacredheartparish.com/labyrinth/

I have never walked a Labyrinth before but I have to say the notion intrigues me. I practice contemplative prayer and have experienced how entering into God's presence during the present moment can be amazingly transforming. I like the concept of labyrinths. Not only the symbolism and great care and thought in their construction, but the idea of opening my heart to God, each step being a prayer in motion, lifted up towards our Creator.

Something beautiful happens when we surrender our hearts and time to God. When we rid ourselves of our false egos and instead find our identity in Christ, having him seated on our heart's throne filling us with his love and compassion. With expectation I enter those times, knowing God delivers unto my soul beautiful moments gilded with grace where my heart, though often hard and callous opens up, is penetrated by His light and healing warmth and is flooded with insights, truths, peace and a sense of His mercy. It is then that I often sit still in wondrous awe of the glory of God. What an amazing God we have.

So...labyrinths intrigue me. I look forward to walking at some point. From all accounts they seem to be a profound experience for prayer as well as meditation.

So my question to you is: Have you ever walked a labyrinth? If you have please share your experience! If you haven't...would you consider walking one? Why or why not?


  1. Yes I have! It's called a shopping Mall... never can find the shop I'm looking for and then can't find my car until I call out "God Help Me!!!!"

    Cheers A

  2. lolol AJ..you always make me smile..thanks! ;) Very funny...ok...maybe parking lots can feel a bit like labyrinths at times too! The good thing about a labyrinth is it isn't a maze but just has one way in and one way out and no dead ends!
    ~light and love

  3. I know it's just trying to find the way I came in lol

    Thanks A

  4. A moving experience once again...

  5. My friend’s husband built a labyrinth in their huge backyard – a special gift for his beloved wife. And every morning I walked and prayed, walked and prayed, walked and prayed.

    Love your words, “I like the concept of labyrinths. Not only the symbolism and great care and thought in their construction, but the idea of opening my heart to God, each step being a prayer in motion, lifted up towards our Creator.” Amen.

  6. I have never physically walked a labyrinth but mentally I have and over and over ...... does that count? it is quite an accomplishment to finish one ne it in motion or in the mind....

  7. Thanks Motif....glad you liked it :)

  8. Debra...you have some interesting neighbors! I think that is such a beautiful gift to give someone...and what a wonderful opportunity for you and others, to be able to have walked one regularly! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Savira...wow...that's quite the mind's accomplishment to be able to walk one mentally! I think that counts! Perhaps it's a slightly different experience, I don't know...I haven't done either, but that's amazing that you re able to do that! Thanks for sharing...I wouldn't even think that possible if you hadn't shared that :)

  10. Jessica it was a figure of speech! Walking a maze mentally for me is seeing the issues and how to face them and tread through them without getting confused....

  11. lol Savira...oh ok...I thought you had memorized the layout of one! Ok..I just watched Inception and it was all about memorizing layouts and mental mazes etc lol Who knows...I bet it would be possible...I do think that's great though, that you can tread through life's trials and obstacles without getting confused...something that is not always easy to do!

  12. I've always been fascinated with them too. Maybe because my life has seemed like many dead ends in the last 5 yrs.???? I hope one day to walk through one in England! I like the analogy!

  13. Absolutely fascinating, Jessica. I'm not sure how I would like the experience...I have walked in maze once and really felt trapped. But this would be different I'm sure.

  14. I saw the labyrinth at the Good Shepherds where I had my Ignatian retreat in 2006. We were never obliged to enter it but somehow the thought of going in there thrilled me.

    Oh I checked my diary and it was on the 5th of March,2006 (Sunday) exactly.

    This is an excerpt of what I wrote:
    "I went inside the labyrinth today...
    As I entered with Jesus, I knew He was there very near me, walking with me... but as the thought of getting to the center was closer, I suddenly got lost (felt lost)...I couldn't find my steps (and it was just one way)..."Lord, I have lost You," I whispered softly...When I regained my pace, I saw that I was only a curve away from the bench...where, Jesus was waiting for me..."

    It was one of the most beautiful days I had in my life. I thank my spiritual guide who encouraged us to write our experiences there. She said that we could use this Mt. Tabor moments whenever we enter into dark nights...

    Very edifying Jessica :) Thank you!