What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a sacred space for walking meditation, a path of prayer, and a spiritual tool to help you find your way. Walking the labyrinth quiets the mind, opens the heart and grounds the body.
As an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness, the labyrinth is a metaphor for life’s journey where you can journey into your deepest center, and return to the world with a broader understanding of yourself.
General Guidelines for Walking the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is different than a maze because there is no dead end. There is only one way to the center and the same way to return to the exit.
There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. Listen deeply to your feelings, and allow your body to guide you. Do so in any way that meets your needs while staying respectful to others.
To prepare your walk, you can sit quietly to reflect on your intention. You may have a question in mind, or you just want to take a break and slow down. Or you may be experiencing some transitions or challenges in your life and you want to have some peace and quiet to yourself.
For a general guideline on walking the labyrinth, we have included the suggestions from Veriditas below, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring personal and planetary change and renewal through the labyrinth experience.
If you like, you can bring your journal, pen and color pencils to write down, draw or color, for you to express and record your experience after the labyrinth walk.
Children are welcome at the labyrinth too. Please be mindful and supervise your children while being respectful of other people around.
How to Walk the Labyrinth
Now it’s time to walk the labyrinth! The below guidelines from Veriditas can serve as a framework, though each labyrinth experience is different and it is important to follow your own intuition and feeling.
The labyrinth can be walked in four stages. Follow your own natural pace, and simply follow the path, one step at a time. Walk with an open heart and an open mind.
Take this time to “greet” the labyrinth, and invoke the blessings and presence from your spiritual support team. You can also set an intention or bring a question to mind to pose to the labyrinth. You can also simply ask the labyrinth to show you what needs to be shown today.
This is the time to let go of the question, if any, and simply observe and be present with your breath, your body, and your surroundings. Observe any distractions and expectations from the mind and put them aside. Relax and find your natural pace. Be open to any emotions and feelings arising and embrace them.
This is the time to receive. You can stay as long as you want in the center, standing or sitting. The center is a place for reflection, meditation, contemplation and prayer. The labyrinth always meets you where you are in your life. Be open to receive what is there for you to receive.
Processing the Experience
It is essential to take time to reflect after each labyrinth walk, in order to anchor the experience and continue the integration. You can journal, create art, color, meditate, just sit and observe, or do anything else that can help you process the feelings, emotions, insights, guidance, messages, and metaphors that arise during the walk and to you’re your personal meaning.
A labyrinth walk doesn’t just end when the walk is complete. It only “initiates the soul’s organic unfolding process, which expands beyond the specific art of walking the labyrinth”, as Lauren Artress so elegantly puts it.
Pay attention to whatever unfolds after the labyrinth walk. Life is also a metaphor.
Some days we do not have access to a labyrinth to walk, and that is where finger labyrinths come in handy. Before you begin, use your hands to feel the entire labyrinth that is printed on paper or other material. When you begin your “walk”, you may choose to use your dominant or non-dominant hand. The same guidelines above apply. You can also play some instrumental music in the background that matches the pace of your finger “walk” today.
- New to the Labyrinth (with downloadable handout): https://www.veriditas.org/New-to-the-Labyrinth
- Veriditas official website: https://www.veriditas.org/
- Books: Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice by Lauren Artress, The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform by Lauren Artress
- Find a labyrinth near you with Worldwide Labyrinth Locator: https://labyrinthlocator.com/
Free online finger labyrinth walks + online labyrinth workshops
Veriditas holds free online finger labyrinth regularly and more online labyrinth workshops and webinars if you’d like to delve in deeper.
Tania Ho, founder at Museflower Retreat & Spa, is also hosting a free online finger labyrinth walk called “A Walk in Wonderland – Finding Your Path to Your Vision” on January 30, 2021 (Saturday) from 3 – 4.15pm Thailand time. If you are interested to join, please visit our class and event schedule page for more information and registration.