Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Not a maze of several puzzling paths, but a pattern with a single winding path that leads from the opening to the center? I walked an outdoor labyrinth in Concord, Massachusetts, this fall.
There are two basic labyrinth patterns: the Classical pattern which has seven paths surrounding the center and the Medieval pattern which has eleven. The labyrinth I walked was made of a classical pattern.
Besides being a path with a pattern, what exactly is a labyrinth? According to the Labyrinth Network, the labyrinth is a tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation.
Labyrinths are old. The oldest dates back to the 13th century. They can be found around the world and across many cultures and religions.
Why do people walk a labyrinth? Labyrinths are thought to increase right brain activity, they can stimulate problem solving and act as a tool for conflict resolution according to the Labyrinth Network. They offer the walker a chance to meditate and to pray, to release and to receive.
So, what did I experience? On that sunny early fall day, I walked barefoot, feeling the warm bricks beneath my feet. I walked slowly and tried to breathe deeply (I have a habit of breathing shallowly). I cleared my mind as best as I could and just walked. Afterward, I felt relaxed and refreshed. Did I experience increased right brain activity? Maybe. Next time, I’ll plan on being creative soon after my walk.
Since my labyrinth experience, I’ve discovered several in the area I live, made of pavers, gravel, or field stones. My neighbor has one in her backyard. San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral has both an indoor labyrinth and an outdoor labyrinth. I’ve even seen portable labyrinths made of canvas.
If you’re interested in finding a labyrinth near you, whether you live in Alabama, South Dakota, Texas, or Colorado, the Labyrinth Society has a labyrinth locator to help you find one. There are over 75 labyrinths in Massachusetts alone!
- Walking a Labyrinth (collagediva.typepad.com)
- Walk the Labyrinth in Crown Library (crownlibrary.wordpress.com)
Trip taken September 2013.