The traveler begins at the entrance and follows along the
path, or circuits, to the center. When the traveler gets there he or she
has completed half the journey. After their reflection time in the center,
the same path they used walking in is also the path they use to walk out.
As a symbol, the labyrinth relates to wholeness. It combines
the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful
path. A labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again
out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation tools.
Classical labyrinth designs are based on a pattern first
documented on a clay tablet from Pylos, Greece circa 1200 BCE. Designs
have also been found on Cretan coins of 400 to 500 BCE. Labyrinths were
common in Europe in the Middle Ages, and walking them was part of popular
and religious culture. Perhaps the most famous of these is at Chartres
Cathedral near Paris, France, built around 1200 CE.
Walking the labyrinth has reemerged today as a metaphor
for the spiritual journey and a powerful tool for transformation. Labyrinths
are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, find balance,
and encourage meditation, insight and celebration.
When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze,
a puzzle to be solved. A maze has twists, turns, and blind alleys, and
you have to make choices to find the right way. It's a left brain task
that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct
path into the maze and out.
The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to
it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds into the
center. The person walking it uses the same path to return and the entrance
then becomes the exit. Walking a labyrinth is a right brain task that
involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a labyrinth there is
only one choice to be made, the choice to enter or not.
Learn more at labyrinthsociety.org