A Description and Definition
labyrinth is a unicursal winding path
that transverses back and forth meandering its way to to a center point. It is
sometimes thought of as a maze and the difference between the two is that a maze
has many openings where a labyrinth has just one.
purpose is to take one on a journey inward and once reached reflect the journey
back. In this aspect it is thought to some to be a walking meditation. To others
it is a prayer tool to deepen meaning. Others still relate it as a calming experience
for the body and mind, while more would look at it as a tool of metaphor.
all it is an experience one can take to journey into the center of you. This is
an experiencial adventure where one can speak of it, though to know it more deeply,
one must walk.
Using the Labyrinth
are endless ways in which to use the labyrinth as individuals who know and use
them are very curious and creative and come up with new uses all the time. That
is what this Heartland Labyrinth Circle is all about, collaborating, sharing and
personal use it is suggested to stop and find a quiet place to consider
why you want to walk a labyrinth. Though it is not necessary to do so, it can
open the door to allow you to find your answer with an intention in mind.
first suggestion is to release. Let go of the busy mind with many agendas
and simply be with your experience as you begin. When ready one simply
finds the open path and ventures in staying on the path traversing the labyrinth
winding until they come to the center.
second suggestion is to receive. Once in the center the body is more relaxed
and the mind may have stopped the chattering. It is at this place that you can
hear more of your own beliefs and feel your spirituality. Be open to what comes
to your mind, what you feel and how you act.
third suggestion is to reflect. When you leave the center, take time on your
journey back to notice what occured as you entered, what you found and how you
feel. Perhaps you may notice thoughts clearing, peacefulness, a calm or nothing
at all. Each walk yields its own experience, and all may not be readily noticable
at first or at all.
Group use there are a variety of ways and a variety of labyrinth styles
to support the intention of the walk. When a group gathers to walk a labyrinth,
they may have a preset agenda, purpose or a particular focus. At other times there
are simply "open walks" or "public walks" where individuals
are invited to join as a group to walk among others. Think of it as a personal
walk in a public setting.
Some ideas for group use include:
Earth Day, Holidays, Community Gathering, Board Meetings, Weddings, Birthdays,
Grief Ceremonies, Baptismals, Retirement Honors, Cancer Support or Survival, Memorials,
Retreats, Conflict Resolution, Creating Collaboration, Creating Cultural Diversity,
Uniting Individuals, Workshops, Environmental Issues, Wellness, Introspection,
Team building, Meditation, Creativity, New Idea Formation, Exploration, Acceptance,
Welcoming, 12 step programs, Personal Growth and more
Types of Labyrinths
are classified in four main categories:
or the Cretan is the oldest design found and is set in a seven circuit design,
though can be found in 11 and 15 circuits.
typically has 11 circuits and is separated in quarters where each quarter overlaps
and joins the network of the labyrinth
Roman labyrinths are
square or circular in shape and have four quadrants that are walked one at a time
instead of crossing over to others, each quadrant is completed before journeying
to the next.
These are more modern designs made
up of the constructs of a labyrinth though take on a unique look and feel. To
be a true labyrinth there must be only one opening, though a few with intent purposes
fit this description
can be made of a variety of materials from stone, marble, wood, grass, brick,
dirt, sand and natural elements or man made elements. These are typically set
in location and known as permanent labyrinths
labyrinths are drawn on large canvas fabric and designed to be mobile so they
can be used in a variety of places. They come in a variety of sizes from 12 feet
in diameter to 50 feet or more. Some fabric labyrinths are also made to be used
Labyrinths are sculpted labyrinths in a variety of materials designed to allow
the individual to participate in a walk using their finger to trace the path instead
of walking it. There are many who cannot physically walk and this is a good tool
though there are large labyrinths made for wheel chairs too. Some use it for a
quick experience while others may use a finger labyrinth with specific meaning
in a group
labyrinths come in many designs and in a variety of materials and a variety of
sizes. Wood, marble, glass, clay, copper, metal, fabric and even ground wheat.
Benefits of Walking a Labyrinth
are many benefits to walking a labyrinth for the body, mind and soul. This makes
it an overall benefit for the individual. Here are a few ways it can benefit:
Induces the relaxation response
Lowers blood pressure
Improves sensory processing
as a therapeutic tool for recovery
Increases focus and concentration
as tool for conflict resolution
Inspires creativity and empowerment
Develops Inner peace
Where Labyrinths are found
Labyrinths are found all over the world in every country. Some of the oldest have
been found in Africa and Europe. In the United States they can be found in a variety
of places in each state.
are found in a variety of places including:
Private homes and businesses
Illinois there is an ongoing expedition of labyrinths to explore, where a list
will be posted late in 2011. In the meantime one may find locations listed at
the World Wide Labyrinth Locator found both on the Labyrinth Society Website and
the Veriditas Website.
Wide Labyrinth Locator
Heartland Labyrinth Circle