How to Walk the Labyrinth
The Labyrinth: Walking Your Sacred Journey
The labyrinth is a spiritual tool. It is a form of walking mediation that is a multicultural, ancient pattern. Labyrinth images are found on all continents and can be traced back 5,000 years. The image before you is similar to the great, complex labyrinth embedded in stone within the floor of the medieval cathedral in Chartes, France.
The labyrinth meaning is fully formed by our own experiences. As we walk the path we may discern how everything that happens on the labyrinth may be viewed through the lens of a metaphor, reflecting our lives, our goals, our sorrows, and our joys. The invitation is to travel the journey with an open mind, an open heart, and simply see what happens.
The Classic Three Stages of the Walk described by Rev. Dr. Loren Artress, founder of the Worldwide Labyrinth Project, in Walking a Sacred Path.
Purgation – the walk in is a form of releasing, a letting go. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions. It quiets and empties the mind.
Illumination or Clarity – found when you reach the center. Stay here as long as you like. It is a place of meditation or prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
Union or Integration – the walk out is a form of integrating what has been received in order to return to your life with a renewed vision and refreshed spirit.
“The labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to the deep rhythm that unites us to ourselves and to the light that calls from within. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness.” Loren Artress
Guidelines for the Walk: Become an observer of yourself during the entire process. Everything that happens may be instructive to you.
Before you begin: please remove your shoes, unless that are needed for medical support. Take some time to become fully present and to begin to relax. Consider a question or intention to bring into the labyrinth. Or you may decide to quiet your mind and be receptive.
You may participate by watching others. You do not have to walk the path. If you decide to go in, you may come out at any time.
During the walk: there are no tricks and no dead ends. The path that takes you in is the same path that takes you out. You may meet people on your path. Simply shift out of each other’s way.
If you lose your path, don’t worry. Just hop on the path anywhere. It will take you to the center or out again, where you can start over.
It is very important that you walk at your own pace. You may vary your pace, pause, or pass others.
As you arrive at the center enter to the left. Gently keep moving to the left in each of the rose petals so that you experience each direction and make room for new comers. You may stand, sit, kneel or mediate.
After the walk: as you leave the labyrinth, you may wish to turn and pause to acknowledge the gifts of this spiritual tool. You may also wish to walk around the outside of the canvas, encircling the labyrinth, taking note of the cusps, also known as lunations. For some, this is a time for reflection, processing, and completion.
We invite you to take some time after your walk to stay of further reflection and meditation.
You are also invited to walk the labyrinth again and again. Each walk will be a different experience.
© Barbara Kellett 1998