The Labyrinth Garden at the May Arboretum
|WHAT IS A LABYRINTH?
Labyrinths have been used for centuries as tools for healing, meditation, and bringing peace into people's lives. These patterned circuits offer a place for people of all faiths and beliefs to walk, think, or simply reflect in order to help themselves and their families heal on a personal as well as a community level. They are different from mazes, which are designed to confuse people by confronting them with many entrances, endings and choices.
Labyrinths have been known to man for over 4,000 years in almost every religious tradition around the world.
Possibly the oldest surviving labyrinth can be found on a rock carving at Luzzanas in Sardinia, dating from 2,500-2,000 B.C. The remains of the oldest known European labyrinth can be found on Mount Knossos, on the island of Crete; it is a classical seven-circuit design.
|In the Jewish mystical tradition, the Kabbala, or Tree of Life, is an elongated figure based on the number eleven. Throughout the Middle Ages, churches and Cathedrals in France and northern Italy also used an eleven-circuit design inlaid into the church floors for pilgrims to walk. A well-known example of this type of labyrinth exists today within the Chartres Cathedral in France, and a new one is now at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.|
The design of the labyrinth located in Rancho San Rafael Park is a seven-circuit pattern designed by Lea Goode, PhD. It is known as the Santa Rosa Labyrinth©. It is based on seven concentric circles in a 50-foot diameter, with a walking distance of about 1/4-mile. By following its single, winding path to the center and back, you may find that the path of this labyrinth can become a metaphor for your own spiritual journey.
Set the Environment:
There is no specific way to walk a labyrinth. The beauty of the labyrinth is that you can approach the experience on your own terms. It is helpful to pause at the entrance, and allow a minute or several turns on the path between you and anyone who may be in front of you. Allow your body meditation to determine the pace.
Quiet your mind and put one foot in front of the other to determine your own pace. It may be useful to consider a question, or to choose to let all thought go.
If you are walking faster than the person in front of you, feel free to move around them. This is easiest to do by turning earlier at the turns. If you are moving slowly, simply step off the path at the turns to let others pass. If you meet another person on the path and want to keep in an inward meditative state, simply do not make eye contact. If you meet someone you know and want to
|acknowledge them, a touch of the hand or a hug may be an important way to be on the path together.
IV. Time Spent in the Center:
Also called " illumination," this is a time of openness and peacefulness to experience, learn and receive what this time offers.
V. The Journey Outward:
You choose when to leave the center, following the same path. This is a time to reflect on what occurred in the center and how it may be applied in your life. Also called "union,"
This stage represents your life outside the labyrinth. If you keep in conversation with yourself, you may come across memories, fragments of dreams, or insights to carry into your everyday life. Listen to your inner wisdom. Walk in balance.