– It is solved by walking
Garden classical labyrinth for retreat participants
7 circuit classical labyrinth
What is a Labyrinth?
The Labyrinth is a spiral pattern with a 4000-year history across many human cultures and traditions. Its origin is obscure but the original classical Labyrinth pattern has been found throughout Southern Europe and North Africa since about 2000BCE inscribed in caves in Sardinia, on pottery from the Cretan civilisation and on coins, tiles and in paintings.
In the Labyrinth there is only a single path that leads to the centre and out again. Unlike a maze, you cannot get lost in a Labyrinth. In a maze it’s an intellectual exercise to find your way around but, in a labyrinth, you can completely relax and follow the single path that leads to the centre and out again. A maze engages the left logical side of the brain while a labyrinth engages the right intuitive side of the brain.
In the context of a retreat the Labyrinth is created as a sacred space so participants can relax into a reflective meditative walk. For some participants walking a labyrinth and being in nature facilitates easier access to a meditative experience opening a doorway to intuitive guidance and soul wisdom.
The Labyrinth may be experienced as a metaphor for your life’s spiritual journey. During a walk participants may experience a release of emotional or mental layers as they move towards the centre, a feeling of receiving wisdom / peace / guidance in the centre and a sense of integration as they walk out. Perhaps the more you walk a labyrinth the more you become your natural or soul self.
Over the past 20 years there has been a revival of the Labyrinth across cultures that may assist humanity towards a more reflective, balanced and inclusive view of life on our planet. Labyrinth patterns you can trace with your finger have even appeared on walls in the London underground and there are now many labyrinth structures that you can walk that have been built across the UK. One of the most recent is called Kerdroya, a giant classical Labyrinth built of Cornish stone hedging at Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.
More Labyrinth History
In the 9th Century a monk called Otfrid, added 4 extra circuits to the Labyrinth symbol and created what became known as the medieval Labyrinth, the best example of which can be seen in Chartres Cathedral in France. These were built to walk as were the later classical or medieval Labyrinths of the 12th to 17th Century in Northern Europe
Recently, a late 20th early 21st Century revival is now creating many new Labyrinths of contemporary design especially in the UK, Europe and North America.
Medieval style turf labyrinth near Milton Keynes
Rectangular turf labyrinth in Cornwall