The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many cultures around the world. Labyrinth designs were found on pottery, tablets and tiles that date as far back as 5000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals and circles mirrored in nature. In Native American tradition, the labyrinth is identical to the Medicine Wheel and Man in the Maze. The Celts described the labyrinth as the Never Ending Circle. It is also known as the Ka bala in mystical Judaism. One feature labyrinths have in common is that they have one path that winds in a circuitous way to the center.
Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, stress reduction, and to discover innovation and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks, spas, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in people's backyards.
*Information Courtesy of Veritidas.Org
The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return from the center and the entrance then becomes the exit.
The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.
Generally there are three stages to the walk:
releasing on the way in,
receiving in the center and
returning when you follow the return path back out of the labyrinth.
Symbolically, and sometimes actually, you are taking back out into the world that which you have received.
There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need while being respectful of others walking.
You may go directly to center to sit quietly -- whatever meets your needs.
To prepare, you may want to sit quietly to reflect before walking the labyrinth.
Some people come with questions, others just to slow down and take time out from a busy life. Some come to find strength to take the next step. Many come during times of grief and loss.
Children enjoy the labyrinth and we ask that parents supervise their young children so all may enjoy the meditative aspects of the walk.
There are many ways to describe a labyrinth. It is a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for
the spirit and a mirror of the soul.