Labyrinths go back in antiquity and across cultures; Greece, Europe, India, Egypt, early Native America, Russia etc. People can confuse a labyrinth with a maze, but a maze has many different branches, whereas a labyrinth has but one path to the center and back out again. It is not a puzzle, but a meditative tool and ritual path.
One of the most fascinating collection of Neolithic labyrinths are located on an island around Russia:
They are thought to be around 3000 years old and seemed to have served as sacred ritual locations. They certainly are on my travel wish list.
Closer to home is the labyrinth at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary near Artemas, PA. The process of traversing a labyrinth makes it obvious that they serve a meditative role. The rhythm of walking and the spiraling patterns moving in and out naturally produce a meditative state. The Labyrinth at 4QF sits on the crown of a hill, overlooking the serene Pennsylvanian mountains. It is 84 feet in diameter and its weaving 7 circuit pattern is based on an ancient Cretan layout. Its mown meadow paths are slowly being converted to more permenant stone edging.
I have walked many labyrinths in churches, fields and woods. Each time I find myself falling into that timeless state of kairos, sacred time. It is as if the labyrinth is a path into spiritual dimensions, a way to untangle our thoughts, or a path to find ourselves. As novelist Kate Mosse said,
“Pas a pas, se va luenh.
Step by step, we make our way.”
This also applies to our search for a spiritual path; sometimes we seem closer to clarity, other times it is still far away. It can be seen as traveling inward towards our spiritual center. After we find spiritual wholeness, we journey back again into the world.
I wish you well on walking your spiritual path.
– Robin Rumi
Labyrinth at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary