Labyrinths have been used all over the world for thousands of years. Each person who walks brings their own way of being in the labyrinth to each experience of it. Labyrinths can be walked individually or in groups. One way of observing the rhythm of the year is to walk the labyrinth at the solstices and the equinoxes, thus marking the four seasons. Some people walk on the new or the full moon. Using the labyrinth to bring us into the cycle of the year is a beautiful way to find the harmony in our lives.
Santa Fe artist Carlos Smith features labyrinths in the images that he creates, many of them using traditional metal working techniques of the Southwest. You can catch him on Facebook or every year at Spanish Market in Santa Fe.
Labyrinths can be created out of a number of materials. In Santa Fe, the labyrinth at Frenchy’s Field Park is made out of earth, water and straw, known as “cob.” In a similar to the process to the one used to make adobe bricks used for buildings, the materials are mixed, formed and allowed to harden in the sun. The labyrinth gets a lot of use and so must be maintained regularly. Here’s a photo of a mudding team hard at work.
If you think that the labyrinth experience is just for humans – think again!
As this video shows, using horses in the labyrinth can be a powerful way to process emotions and reach deeper levels of understanding and awareness.
Walking the labyrinth encourages the connection between ourselves and the world.
Here are some reflections from children about what they experienced when walking the labyrinth:
“I thought about my grandma’s death. I decided to think about the good parts of her life, rather than her suffering. The labyrinth helped me find a way to forget about her suffering.”
“I thought about the lies I have told. I am really sorry about the lies I have told my friends.”
Here is a short introduction to walking the Labyrinth.
A labyrinth is not a maze (although it may be amazing!)
A labyrinth is not a maze with mental challenges and blind alleys. You can get lost in a maze!
In a labyrinth, there is only one path from the entrance to the center and back again. There is no “right” way to walk the labyrinth; there are no “right” thoughts to have. Let your experience be your own.
The path of the labyrinth is like the path of life – with twists and turns. Allow yourself time for the journey, to encounter others on your path. There might be a thrill of pleasure as you approach the center and sometimes a flash of insight before you leave.
Some enter the labyrinth with a problem to solve or an intention to change something in their lives. One person said “In this space I release my fears and remember who I truly am.”
For a list of online resources about labyrinths, click here.
Did you know….?
That labyrinths date from as early as 18,000 BCE. Labyrinths or images of labyrinths have been found in many parts of the world: Egypt, India, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and, in New Mexico, in Galisteo and on the Hopi Mesas. Labyrinths are set into Roman mosaics, on the stone floors of medieval churches and cut into the turf of English village greens.
Today there are thousands of new labyrinths from South Africa to Europe to the U.S. and Canada. People find that they need a time and place to reflect … a chance to step out of the busy-ness of ordinary life … so they can listen to their inner voice. Stepping into the labyrinth and following its twists and turns often provides an opportunity to reflect, to ask questions and to discover answers.
To find a labyrinth near you, click here.