The Labyrinth
Types and Descriptions

There are many ways to describe a labyrinth. It is a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit and a mirror of the soul.

(From Veriditas website - Guidelines to the Walk )

Chartres Cathedral & the famous Chartres Labyrinth, an ancient tool for transformation. A place to walk, to meditate and commune with the Sacred/Divine. Unlike a maze, the labyrinth has only one path. Walking its winding course to the center quiets the mind. This process involves three stages: purgation - a letting go of distractions as you walk in; illumination - receiving what you came for upon reaching the center; and union - a joining with the sacred as you complete the experience and walk out. The axis mundi of the Cathedral passes over the Labyrinth, symbolizing the way to your higher power/consciousness/God/Goddess here on earth.

 

There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need while being respectful of others walking. You may go directly to center to sit quietly -- whatever meets your needs.

To prepare, you may want to sit quietly to reflect before walking the labyrinth. Some people come with questions, others just to slow down and take time out from a busy life. Some come to find strength to take the next step. Many come during times of grief and loss.

Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, stress reduction, and to discover innovation and celebration. They are open to all people 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. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks, spas, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in people's backyards.

(From Veriditas website -- veriditas.org, About Labyrinths )

I first became acquainted with the labyrinth in 1998 through a book, Walking A Sacred Path by Dr. Lauren Artress. I began slowly researching some of the sacred geometry ideas presented and trying to locate other sources of knowledge about labyrinths in general. I first encountered a "physical" labyrinth at Weber Retreat Center in Adrian, Michigan, shortly after they completed construction of their 11 circuit labyrinth in July of 1999. It was a profoundly moving experience for me. For years I have found it very difficult to sit quietly and meditate or to participate in any real form of organized religion or spiritual practice and for the first time I felt truly "connected" in a way I had not previously, because I was moving and my mind was allowed the same freedom as my body to move around.

In July of 2001, I attended a workshop on Mackinac Island, Michigan where I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Dr. Lauren Artress and participating in walking an incredibly beautiful outdoor labyrinth on the grounds. Perhaps partially due to the primitive nature of this outdoor labyrinth I had a truly profound experience and vowed to build a labyrinth of my own much like this one. After attending a workshop weekend with Robert Ferre, an experienced labyrinth builder, in the spring of 2002, I gathered a small group of close friends together that July and we built a labyrinth in the woods next to my house. It was an amazing experience for all. I use it as much as the weather in Michigan will allow.

Since that time I have completed training as a labyrinth facilitator through the Veriditas organization founded by Dr. Lauren Artress out of San Francisco. This allows me if invited to do presentations about the benefits of labyrinths to groups or organizations contemplating installing one on their site. It is truly an honor to be of service in this way.

Here are some images of my "backyard labyrinth" in Ann Arbor, MI - accessible to the public only by appointment (734) 662-8632. Please feel free to contact me rising@gmail.com if you would like more information on this incredible tool:

I am in the process of designing a meditation bead string to use while walking the labyrinth even though any of the string patterns would work I am working toward designing a pattern that reflects the rhythm of the labyrinth walk itself.

There are many different types of labyrinths here are just a few:

 


The Reims labyrinth,
in its "floor" version,
that is: as it is supposed to have existed
on the floor of the Reims cathedral.

 

The Chartres labyrinth,
in its "floor" version,
that is: as it still exists
on the floor of the Chartres cathedral.

 


The Reims labyrinth,
in its "script" version,
that is: as it must have been drawn
in older medieval manuscripts,
but none has ever been found.

 

The Chartres labyrinth,
in its "script" version,
that is: as it was drawn
in older medieval manuscripts,
where it is the most frequent model.

 

 

The Cretan labyrinth
in its "geometrical" version.

The Cretan labyrinth
in its "manual" version

Earliest recovered labyrinth, incised on a clay tablet from Pylos.

Minotaur in Labyrinth a Roman mosaic at Conímbriga, Portugal.

Wall maze in Lucca Cathedral, Italy (probably medieval).

Seven-ring classical labyrinth of unknown age in Rocky Valley near Tintagel, Cornwall, UK.

A Scandinavian "Trojaburg" ("Troy Town") seven-ring classical labyrinth outlined with stones.

Public hedge maze in "English Garden" at Schönbusch Park, Aschaffenburg,Germany.

Small turf maze near Dalby, North Yorkshire, UK.

Turf maze at Wing in Rutland, UK.

Minotaur at center of labyrinth, on ancient gem.

9/11 memorial labyrinth, Boston College, USA.

 

 

This is one of my favorite labyrinths that I walk with my sister in Borrego Springs, CA

 

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