Praying the Labyrinth
What is a Labyrinth? What does it mean?
In its most basic sense, it signifies a physical place: a path, a road, a highway upon which someone might walk.
1. Labyrinths have been found in cave paintings in several places throughout the world.
2. Labyrinths are akin to the zodiac and are similar to the medicine wheel … like the medicine wheel, the Labyrinth is entered from the west. At that time, all elements were represented – the first quadrant is water; the second is fire – the sun, passion and metabolism; the third quadrant is earth – where substance is formed; and the fourth quadrant is air.
Some scholars believe the idea of the Labyrinth may have originated in the catacombs. During the Middle Ages, the Labyrinth was said to show the connection between earth and spirit. In 1220, a beautiful mandala-like version of this ancient pattern was laid in the stone floor of the great Cathedral of Chartres, France. Pilgrims came from all over the western world to tread the Labyrinth as a subsitute pilgrimage to Jerusalem. People walked it for both physical healing and birth into the spirit-filled life.
So… the Labyrinth is a picture of the “self” … Are you willing to travel every part of yourself? You can do so as you walk this meditative route.
About the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Chartres from Wikipedia
About the Chartres Labyrinth from Loyola University Chicago
The Journey Begins…
“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about to change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching our soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing and courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity and of love” -Caroline Adams
We are all on the path… exactly where we need to be. The Labyrinth is a model of that path.
A Labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again our into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
A Labyrinth is a archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within”.
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. In is unicursal. The way in, is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the canter and out again.