The tradition of walking the labyrinth is rooted in cultures around the world, from Cretans and Celts to Hopis and Mayans.
Doing so is a spiritual feast; its pilgrim path echoes a spiritual journey. You can use it to meditate, release pain, focus the mind, give space to grief, wrestle with decision, and experience the assurance that God is there with you.
The use of the labyrinth is woven deeply into Christian tradition. In the ninth century, Italy’s Santa Lucca Cathedral had a labyrinth on the wall for people to trace with their fingers before entering. In the Middle Ages, great Gothic cathedrals in Europe were built with a labyrinth in the floor, so that Christians could fulfill their vow of pilgrimage when it was too dangerous to travel to Jerusalem.
Today, labyrinths can be found in hospitals, community centers and private properties, largely thanks to the work of Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, Canon at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco.
Stages of the Walk
According to Dr. Artress, there are three stages of the walk:
- Purgation (releasing thoughts, letting go of life’s details, emptying the mind)
- Illumination (the meditation and prayer you experience upon reaching the center)
- Union (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,” Dr. Artress said.
Walk the Labyrinth
If you’d like to walk the labyrinth at Good Sam, you can do so any time. It’s in the courtyard garden.