Last Updated on July 23, 2021 by Avia
Symbolic Meaning and Tips About Walking a Labyrinth: The idea behind walking a labyrinth is to move out of one perspective into another one. A labyrinth is a metaphor for our point of view, so the process of walking a labyrinth is about shifting our awareness and consciousness. And it’s no coincidence the labyrinth shares symbolism with the spiral. The spiraling labyrinth is symbolic of…
Symbolic Keywords for Spiraling Labyrinth Meaning
When we partake in the ancient process of walking a labyrinth we become intimate with all these attributes inherent to spiral symbolism.
Walking a Labyrinth as a Meditation
Walking a labyrinth can be a deeply effective active meditation. I often encourage my clients to participate in a labyrinth walking ceremony…especially if they have difficulty with traditional meditations. For very active minds, sitting still, being silent, and staying present as conventional meditation suggests is almost a possibility. There are such things as walking meditations, and these practices are far more helpful for high-energy folks who are really challenged by quieting the mind in meditation. Walking a labyrinth as a meditative exercise is extremely effective at balancing the mind, spirit, and body.
Native American Wisdom and the Labyrinth Ceremony
In many Native American cultures, the labyrinth was used as a rite of passage, and also a clarifying ceremony. A labyrinth was crafted by stone and laid in a spiraling pattern on the ground. Before walking the labyrinth, a smoke ceremony was usually performed. The smoke would have a loosening effect on the senses which provided an altered state. While in this altered state, one walked the labyrinth. The purpose was to navigate without showing fear of being lost. Another goal was to demonstrate the twists and turns of life, changes of the heart, transitions of emotions. It was a safe way to teach people that all things change…and our response to that change is crucial.
More specifically, the Hopi, a Native North American Indian tribe viewed the labyrinth as an underground maze from which the whole race of humankind sought liberation from. At first, humankind was created within the inner earth-womb (called a kiva, a cave-like sanctuary underground). There, humans were nurtured by the earth. Through a process of evolution, understanding, and growth, humans emerged out of the underground labyrinth and ascended above-ground to embrace a new dawn of awareness. This process of evolution is reenacted today by making a ritual of physically walking a labyrinth.
More About Labyrinth Walking and Symbolism
Labyrinth walking is also synonymous with moving through the trials and tribulations of life. We all know every life is replete with twists and turns of fate and fortune.
We could say our very lives are labyrinth-like. Walking a labyrinth is a way to see the revolutions of life, and gaining composed control over what might otherwise seem out-of-control scenarios. But walking our way through the labyrinth of life with calm determination and faith, we know our destination is always enlightenment – always expansive.
Give it a try for yourself. Do a Google search on labyrinth walks offered in your area. I did, and was surprised to find a Native American labyrinth walk ceremony held only 30 miles from where I live! If you cool with travel & exploring new places, here are a few famous labyrinths you might want to visit.
Famous Labyrinths to Walk or Visit
France – Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth: Perhaps one of the most well-known (and recognizable) labyrinths is the one located at Chartres Cathedral in France dating back to 1205. Monks were said to walk this labyrinth as a way to deeply contemplate the way of the divine. As a religious symbol, this labyrinth represents every human’s path through life as we all maneuver the undulations of sin vs redemption through our choices. At the time of this writing, the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth is open to the public during the summer on Fridays.
Germany – Damme Priory Labyrinth: Tucked within the enchanted forests of Damme, Germany there is a stone labyrinth that has existed since the 700s BCE. The land hails a Benedictine monastery, but the labyrinth is isolated, lending a calm, quiet feeling. Walking a labyrinth is highly transformative when you can do it in solitude, and even better when communing with nature such as the Damme Priory labyrinth provides.
USA – Land’s End Labyrinth: This is another nature lover’s labyrinth as it is situated in San Francisco on Mile Rock Beach. When artist Eduardo Aguilera built it in 2004 he wanted it kept a secret, so he designed it away from general view. The locals know where it is but because of occasional vandalizing (can you believe that!?!?), its existence and location is still pretty hush-hush. At any rate, the fact this labyrinth is located close to the Pacific ocean, walking a labyrinth such as this one can potentially offer healing experiences because water is (symbolically & energetically) a cleansing, renewing, healing element.
Closing Thoughts About Walking a Labyrinth
You don’t need to travel to walk a labyrinth. Consider building one yourself! All you need are a bunch of rocks. Place them in a spiraling pattern. Remain present and contemplative as you build it too. Then walk your labyrinth and see how it coaxes transformation within you. Some schools of thought recommend walking a labyrinth on the full moon for materializing intentions and manifestation. Other sects of wisdom prefer taking a labyrinth walk at the new moon to underscore the energy of renewal and new beginnings.
Whenever you walk or wherever you find your labyrinth, I’m hoping you will find this experience incredibly soul-expansive and mind-broadening. I hope this article about labyrinths helpful and inspiring! As always, thanks for reading.
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