What is a Labyrinth?
People, formal cultures, and traditions have used the spiral and labyrinth designs as a symbol of their search for meaning. The labyrinth is non –denominational: the way you enter is the same way you leave, only, your inner feelings may be different. People of all faiths and even the not so religious enjoy and find healing by walking labyrinths of many different design. Some of the earliest forms of labyrinths are found in Greece, dating back to 2500-2000 B.C.E. This labyrinth is a simple five-circuit labyrinth.
You can see all of our labyrinths here:
- Imbolc St. Brighidae Labyrinth (1 FEB 2016) The Interfaith Center, Albany NY
- St. Andrew’s Labyrinth (22 AUG 2015) Albany, NY
- Chinook Labyrinth (4 JUN 2015) Whidbey Island, WA
- Chartres Labyrinth (1 JUN 2015) Seattle, WA
- Wild Horse Labyrinth (6 AUG 2014) Assateaugue Island park, Berlin, Maryland
- Summer of Peace Labyrinth (23 JUL 2014) Grafton Lake Park, NY
- Brighid Labyrinth 2014 (5 FEB 2014) Albany, NY
- Light Labyrinth (16 NOV 2013) Washington Park, Albany, NY
- Hallowmas Labyrinth (17 OCT 2013) Colonie, NY
- Autumn Reiki Labyrinth (21 SEP 2013) Grafton Lake Park, NY
- Vanessa Atalanta Rubia Labyrinth (2 AUG 2013) Hudson Point Preserve, Queensbury, NY
- Dragonfly Labyrinth (24 JUN 2013) Grafton Lake Park, NY
- Ladybird Labyrinth (Autumn 2012) Plattsburgh Municipal Beach, Lake Champlaine, NY
- Chalk Labyrinth (Summer 2012) Albany, NY
- Pinones Peace Labyrinth #2 (December 2011) Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Pinones Poetry Labyrinth #1 (September 2011) Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico
One walks a labyrinth by stepping into the entrance and putting one foot in front of the other. After traveling through all the paths and windings, the walker comes into the center – the six – petal rosette, after a time there, the walker returns out to cover the same path out as in. Total travel is approximately one third mile, depending on the size of the labyrinth.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to walk a labyrinth. I ask and aid walkers at my workshops by stating “quiet the mind, open the heart”. Because you are walking, the mind is quieted. Labyrinth walks are sometimes referred to as “body prayer” or walking meditation. I suggest that people may want to see the walk as three parts to a whole experience – but I recognize many go through the walk and these parts at different stages.
The entrance can be a place to stop, reflect, make prayer or intention for the walk you are about to take. The basic advice is to enter the labyrinth slowly, calming and clearing your mind. This may be done by repeating a prayer or chant. Open your senses and focus on the process of taking slow and deliberate steps. Bring to mind a prayer or question to contemplate during the walk to the center.
The walk around the design to the center can be a “letting go” – a quieting of the thoughts, worries, lists of tasks to do, a letting go unto the experience of being present in the body. Arrival at the center rosette – a place of prayer/meditation – “letting in” guidance and the divine into our lives. Reaching the center, pause to reflect, pray, listen for an answer or for deeper revelation, or simply make a wish. Now begin the return journey. Pray or reflect further. When ready, the walk out “letting out” takes us back into our lives, empowered by spirit to transform our lives and actions. Use further reflection, prayer, or journaling to absorb the experience.
In many ways, I see the labyrinth as a call to action, a transformation tool for people. It can aid healing, help in releasing grief, (people often shed tears during the “letting go”), help guide through troubled times, aid in decision making, illuminate our purpose in life, and act as a tool of celebration and thanks. I have seen it be many things for many people.
The vision of the world-wide Labyrinth Project is to establish labyrinths in cathedrals, retreat centers, hospitals, prisons, parks, airports, and community centers so they are available to walk in times of joy, in times of sorrow and when we are seeking hope.
There are currently local community labyrinths at:
- Albany Interfaith Center
–SUNY Albany. 1400 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12222
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
– 10 N. Main Ave. Albany, NY
- Church of Christ the King
– 20 Sumpter Ave. Albany, NY
- Westminster Presbyterian Church
– 85 Chestnut St. Albany, NY
- Powell House
– 524 Pitt Hall Rd. Old Chatham, NY
- Garden at Thunder Hill: Garden of One
– 60 Thunder Hill Rd. Rensslaerville, NY
If you would like to get together in the area to do a labyrinth project email me, I will most likely be game!