The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol that appears in a variety of cultures, dating as far back as 2,500 B.C.
It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It is not a maze. The Labyrinth looks like a maze, but only has one path that leads to the center, instead of the dead ends found in a maze. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again - out into the world.
What is a labyrinth?
Labyrinths are currently used worldwide to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, meditate, gain insight, self-reflect, reduce stress, and to discover innovation and celebration.
Labyrinths can be found in a wide range of settings including hospitals, parks, churches, schools, prisons, backyards, memorial parks, spas, cathedrals, and retreat centers. Labyrinths are open to all people and all ages as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being.
The practice of Labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. To prepare, you may want to sit quietly and reflect before walking. Some people come with a question, others just to slow down and take time out from a busy life. Some come to find strength, or to find comfort in times of grief or loss. Children (and adults too) may walk or run for pure joy in the present moment.
The small amount of concentration required to stay on the path, combined with the repetitive nature of following the pattern, is said to produce a calming effect that can do everything from reducing anxiety to combatting chemotherapy-induced nausea.