Monday, October 24, 2011

Labyrinth Mondays

What is a Labyrinth?

First, it is important to establish that a labyrinth is different from a maze in a couple of ways. Sometimes a maze has many paths to choose from, often leading to dead ends. A Maze has no center. A labyrinth is a single path (albeit, cursive and windy) that goes toward a center and then exits out of that center on the same curvy and windy path.

The history of labyrinths dates back to the early Greeks and the classical seven-circuit Labyrinth was printed on a coin in Crete as early as 430 B.C. Labyrinths are found in the ancient history of most cultures and here in the South West of the United States we are most familiar with the Hopi Labyrinth, which is very similar to the Classical Labyrinth of Crete. The Franciscan Renewal Center has a beautiful classical labyrinth that you are welcome to walk at anytime. It is found to the back of their property in their beautiful desert.

My personal interest in the labyrinth arose in the early nineties when the spiritual mysteries of the labyrinth began to spring up in the United States. Dr. Lauren Artress, of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, was quite smitten with a passionate interest in the labyrinth and began to do research on the mysteries and history of the labyrinth, especially the eleven-circuit labyrinth in Chartres, France. She has written on of the most succinct and clear books on understanding the labyrinth, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Sacred Tool.

Early in 2000 and shortly after I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, an eleven circuit labyrinth was constructed at Trinity Cathedral, downtown Phoenix. The year after my diagnosis, I established a personal relationship with the labyrinth and walked it once every week that year. If I was out of town for some reason, I made a point to go before or right after I returned. I found my relationship with this powerful mystical symbol to be a relationship of hope, peace, empowerment and overwhelming nurturing. One of the ways I like to describe the labyrinth is like that of a womb, the birthing center of the universe, the lap of the mother of God, a maternal place of being swaddled in the loving arms of the feminine part of God. More about my journey with the Labyrinth and its healing power of hope during my journey with breast cancer can be found in my book, In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer. You can purchase your copy from my website: , or digitally download it to your Nook or Kindle.

This labyrinth is rich in history and it is my hope to introduce you to its power, beauty, and spiritual mysteries at a workshop on January 7, 2012. More on that workshop is soon to find its way to my blog. However, in the meantime, I will be writing about the labyrinth on my blog, especially on Mondays. Please join me for this new series, Labyrinth Monday’s. Please feel free to forward this to friends and family who might have an interest in this very sacred tool and go my blog to follow me on these Labyrinth Mondays.

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