What is a Labyrinth?
When it became dangerous to travel to Jerusalem in the middle ages, seven European cathedrals were designated as destinations for pilgrims. One was Canterbury Cathedral, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales tells the story of a pilgrimage of the time. Another was Chartres Cathedral in France where a labyrinth was laid for pilgrims to walk. At that time entering the cathedral’s labyrinth marked the end of a difficult journey and the promise of entry into the ‘celestial city’.
The Labyrinth is an ancient tool for meditation, reflection, and quietening the mind. It provides a way to connect to the deep unspoken parts of ourselves, to the mystery of who we are within the profound mystery of life itself.
Some have called the process ‘listening to one’s soul’. Each person’s walk in the labyrinth is different and each person brings different potentials and reasons for their journey. It may be to find a solution to a problem, to deepen one’s sense of meaning in the moment, or to just stop thinking. Whatever the reason it is a journey to the centre and about being utterly in the present – body, mind, and soul.
The labyrinth also has another side known as rebirth. Entering the labyrinth is seen as a courageous act of stepping into the unknown to face one’s fears. Meeting at the centre is a confrontation of those demons. To slay the dragon or beast is a representation of transforming the self. To follow the winding path out of the labyrinth will bring enlightenment and a renewed life.
Often confused with the maze, a labyrinth has only a single path to the centre and back, and is not designed to be difficult or the person within it to be unseen. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and reaches our joys.
Many believe labyrinths to be energy centres containing sacred geometrical patterns. Throughout time, temples, churches, and sacred areas have been built using the principles of sacred geometry.
When you are walking a labyrinth you will experience meditative qualities through that art of sacred geometry. Some research suggests that the geometric shapes produce an energy field that can heal ailments of the body and calm the mind. It balances thoughts with the presence of the body to the point where one stops thinking and the intuition of knowingness takes over. Many have reported expanded aura fields and a sense of peace, and even bliss, when walking labyrinths.
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