Chartres Medieval Labyrinth Replica Grace Catherdral – San Francisco
What is a labyrinth?
Labyrinths are powerful meditative tools, often referred to as a metaphor for life. Essentially they fall into two main categories; the Cretan (or Classical) and the Medieval from the 13th century. Many cultures have adapted the essence of labyrinth forms to reflect their own unique style, resulting in countless variations to be found throughout history and the world. They are sacred spaces that anyone can and should use whenever they feel the need.
Many modern-day labyrinths follow the traditional "rules" of labyrinth making but the scope for creativity and expression is unlimited. From organic, natural materials found nearby to highly engineered and precise structures, the sky is indeed the limit.
The way to walk the labyrinth, however, remains the same, offering a singular path to the centre, with generally the same path used to exit. A labyrinth is not a maze, you cannot get lost – It's actually more about finding yourself!
We have created a frantically busy world for ourselves, a world that moves at a pace like never before; with easy access to amazing technology, it's an exciting time to be alive. The downside is that we are at extreme risk of personal burnout and disconnect. Besides excitement, the human psyche craves love, peace, harmony, nurture and tranquility. We need to set aside time for ourselves at the soul level. Time without distraction, time without our digital devices, time to recharge and to free the spirit.
In medieval times, back in the days of the Crusades, it became too dangerous for pilgrims to travel to the Holy Land. So, church leaders across Europe began creating labyrinths in cathedrals and other sacred places so that pilgrimages could be undertaken in the safety of the local community; to make that pilgimage without ever having to leave home.
Now as then, we set our intention for the labyrinth walk, then simply step onto the path without expectation and make our way to the centre. The "journey" quieten our minds, we can pause, reflect, seek guidance, give thanks, then return refreshed to the outside world with vigour, enlightenment and nourished sprits. Mindfulness, body, spirit – connection to the One – it all comes together effortlessly on the labyrinth, regardless of belief system or culture.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”Joseph Campbell