• Labyrinths…

    ...can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel. Later, the religious significance of labyrinths faded, and they served primarily for entertainment, though recently their spiritual aspect has seen a resurgence. Many newly made labyrinths exist today, in churches and parks. Labyrinths are used by modern mystics to help achieve a contemplative state. Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets his mind. The result is a relaxed mental attitude, free of internal dialog. This is a form of meditation. Many people believe that meditation has health benefits as well as spiritual benefits.
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About Labyrinths

Labyrinths can appear to some as just a design. If they appreciate in that way, that’s a start.

Labyrinths can also be seen as a detour from the common everyday path, an opportunity to slow down and reflect on life in general.

On a deeper level, labyrinths are a walking metaphor of the call of life to the innermost place where you find yourself and God, where you receive what you need to journey back to the world to make it a better place.

On even a deeper, perhaps subconscience level, labyrinths touch on the primordial archetype within us all; that of the ordinary hero’s call to adventure, to overcome trolls and dragons guarding the way to the remote place: the bottomless lake, the belly of the whale, the center of the earth, the highest mountain.

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi David,

    I’m so happy to have found your reflections + writings about labyrinths. I recently (re-)walked the one in front of the Rosedale Church – and blogged about it too. I’m looking forward to discovering more labyrinths next summer…

    AJ

  2. Good Day,
    I have found your blog and though i do not blog often i am loving it.
    Please do you have any information on setting up a Labyrinths. I would like to do one for our church as a contemplation and meditation tool. Your pics and insight are gorgeous.
    Thank you
    Kylie

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