Liz Perraud shared the following with the women before walking the labyrinth:
A labyrinth is a path which leads, via a circuitous route, to the center of an intricate design and back out again. A labyrinth’s route is unicursal; that is, it has only a single path. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is designed for ease of navigation, and it is impossible to get lost within one.
Labyrinths have been a part of human history for more than 4000 years. Found in almost every culture and every religious tradition around the world, they have been used as meditation and prayer tools for centuries. Labyrinths are created using Sacred Geometry and are typically made of stone, grass, pavers, or shrubs. The first documented example available of labyrinth use within the Christian tradition is in 324 C.E. when Christians placed the labyrinth on the floor of their church building in Algiers, North Africa. The most famous medieval labyrinth was created in Chartres Cathedral around 1200 A.D. The use of labyrinths has recently been revived for Christian worship, in hospitals, and schools as an invitation for contemplative prayer and insight.
The labyrinth is a metaphor for life. The Christian life is often described as a pilgrimage or journey with God. In life, as with the labyrinth, we don’t always know where the path will take us, what twists and turns the future holds, but we trust that the path will arrive at the center, to God.
Once we reach the center, we are in a place to receive answers to our questions. On the journey out, we are sent back into the world, potentially energized and with a broader sense of identity and ideas of how to be of service.
Walking a prayer labyrinth involves 3 stages:
The inward journey: a time of releasing, of letting go of things which hinder our wholeness and approach to God. During this stage, one sheds the cares and distractions of life and opens our heart and mind.
The center: a time of illumination and of receiving; a space of meditative prayer and peace; a time of resting in God.
The outward journey: a time of returning; of integrating what we received or learned from God and returning to the world.
Enter the labyrinth slowly, calmly and clearing your mind. This may be done by repeating a prayer or single word. Open your senses and focus on the process of taking slow and deliberate steps. Bring to mind a prayer or spiritual question to contemplate during the walk to the center.
Reaching the center, pause to reflect, pray, listen for an answer or for deeper revelation.
Now begin the return journey. Pray or reflect further. Upon exiting, use further reflection, prayer, or journaling to absorb the experience.
All are welcome to visit the labyrinth for a time of prayer and meditation.