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  Photo by Paula Hendricks                                                                           Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice


Walking the Labyrinths at Grace Cathedral

The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn.

The labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and releases our joys. Walk it with an open mind and an open heart.

There are three stages of the walk:

  • Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
  • Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
  • Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.

Guidelines for the walk: Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. You may "pass" people or let others step around you. Do what feels natural.

If you can't come walk the labyrinth in person, we hope you enjoy exploring the articles, interviews, and multimedia features below.


About Labyrinths. The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many cultures around the world. Labyrinth designs were found on pottery, tablets and tiles date as far back as 4000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals from nature. In Native American culture it is called the Medicine Wheel and Man in the Maze. The Celts described it as the Never Ending Circle. It is also called the Kabala in mystical Judaism. One feature they all share is that they have one path which winds in a circuitous way to the center. Text.

Walking the Labyrinth. The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, Grace Cathedral's Canon for Special Ministry, explains the history and benefit of walking a twisted path toward wholeness. In this radio interview (originally aired on the University of California at Berkeley's KALX), Susan Cass explores the growing interest with the labyrinth as a form of meditation and a tool for spiritual renewal. Audio Interview.

Pathfinders. The labyrinth, a medieval French mediation tool, has become the center of an international spiritual movement. Multimedia Feature.

The Labyrinth: A Medieval Tool for the Postmodern Age. Dr. Lauren Artress, director of the worldwide Labyrinth Project, discusses the power of the labyrinth as a tool for meditation. Interview.

It's Not a Maze, It's a Labyrinth. The Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, Executive Director of Veriditas, the World-Wide Labyrinth Project, explains the special history and purpose of both seven-circuit and eleven-circuit labyrinths. Excerpt.

Walking the Labyrinth: Reflections on Chartres. The Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, director of Veriditas: The Worldwide Labyrinth Project, joins psychotherapist Dr. Frances Vaughn and The Very Rev. Alan Jones to discuss the labyrinth's meaning and history. Forum.

Online Interactive Labyrinth

Labyrinth Locator: Find a labyrinth near you
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