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WHAT IS A LABYRINTH ?

A circular path, an ancient walking meditational tool, found in Crete BCE, (with minator), Celtic cultures, and Chartres Cathedral 1200 CE, as a pilgrimage walk.

Its origins are lost in prehistory. It is believed that the Egyptians and Etruscans used subterranean forms to guard their tombs around 4500 BCE. Early fishermen in the Baltic regions walked crude stone paths to lose the slower trolls before they leapt into their boats to fish. South American examples are found with the Nasca in south west Peru, and in North America the Hopi Indians used a 7 path model.

The one most people know about is the Cretan model and the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. It symbolized the condemned hero’s journey to the dark centre and back into life..
The plaque in the centre of the Chartres labyrinth declared “this stone represents the Cretan labyrinth. Those who enter cannot leave unless they be helped by Ariadne’s thread”.

The Chartres pattern was built in 1200 CE and mirrors the rose window above.It is a lonely survivor of many once found in medieval churches. We believe they were used by pilgrims who were unable to journey safely to Jerusalem. It was a symbolic journey to the holy city to find Jesus.

THE FORM OF THE LABYRINTH

The labyrinth is a symbol of the archetypal feminine, there is a uterine energy in the spiraling into the central womb and the birthing out.- the Cretan model used 272 stones which is approximately the number of days for human gestation.

RITUAL IN THE LABYRINTH

The sacred experience of walking in the labyrinth is greatly enhanced by the use of

  • appropriate music

  • special lighting eg candles

  • thematic materials eg at harvest festival taking in some produce, celebrating in the centre and later donating it.

USING THE LABYRINTH FOR HEALTH AND RELAXATION

Walking the Labyrinth, following the twists and turns of the path balances the left and right brain activity. It is a calming device which aids the walker to slow down, shed tension making thoughts and return to the quiet inner centre. The path becomes a metaphor of our journey through life.

Going into the labyrinth to shed negative and burdensome thoughts, and meditating or praying at the centre can clear and focus your whole person on your purpose in life. You can walk into the labyrinth with a life question and find help and answers.

This ancient meditational tool has proven healing effects for walkers and is being used by an increasing number of hospitals hospices and retreat centres for this reason.

WHAT DO I DO?

Preparation.

Stop, pause -slow yourself down,
perhaps sit and take time to think or list,
things you might like to shed,
as you walk into the labyrinth.
This is your time to look after your own centering.


Take the single winding path to the centre, the path winds around and becomes a symbolic mirror for where you are in your life. Walk it with an open mind and heart, for it leads to self-knowledge, healing, clarity and balance.

WE INVITE YOU TO EXPERIENCE IT AS AN AID TO MEDITATION AND PRAYER,
A PLACE OF CENTERING, HEALING AND PEACE

ALLOW YOURSELF TO FIND YOUR OWN PACE
YOU MAY PASS PEOPLE, RESPECTFULLY
STAY A WHILE IN THE CENTRE TO LISTEN AND PRAY

Then return out of the Labyrinth refreshed, even dancing as you go by the same path.


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