From the Theosophical Society of America:
What is a labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a complex and circuitous path that leads from a beginning point to a center, a "meander," with a single, undivided path and no choices to make other than traveling onward through the winding pattern to an assured goal. The meandering pattern may tease the traveler by leading now inward, then suddenly outward, but eventually it arrives surely at the goal. Of meandering labyrinths, the two best-known types are the seven-circuit Cretan pattern and the eleven-circuit pattern on the floor of the cathedral at Chartres in France, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.(chosen by many churches today).
The labyrinth pattern had no particular start that we know of. It is an archetype in the human mind. Labyrinth patterns are universal, being found as archaic petroglyphs, Amerindian basket-weaving designs, and paintings or drawings from all over the world. The earliest reported labyrinth was a two-story stone building in Egypt, described by the Greek historian Herodotus, but the name comes from the Cretan structure in the myth of Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur, a pattern that also appears on ancient Cretan coins. In the Christian Middle Ages, labyrinths were often formed with colored paving stones in the floors of cathedral naves, especially on the Continent. Later, labyrinths were sometimes constructed of turf, herbaceous borders, or hedges--frequently in maze patterns and especially in England.
In the Middle Ages, walking a cathedral labyrinth was a substitute for going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Not everyone could make the long and arduous journey to the Holy Land, so walking a labyrinth in a church was a devotional activity. Today meandering labyrinths are often used as walking meditations, to focus the mind and put the walker in tune with the greater reality metaphorically represented by the labyrinth.
What Does the Cretan Labyrinth Symbolize?
The seven circuits of the Cretan labyrinth correspond with the seven spheres of the sacred planets, the seven principles of the human being and the cosmos, the seven days of the week, and other such seven-fold meanings. Passing to the center of the labyrinth and returning to its circumference represents the involution and evolution of the universe, the coming into birth and the passing out of earthly life of an individual, and--most important--a journey into the center of our own being, the achievement there of a quest for wholeness, and the subsequent return to our divine source.
The winding pattern of any labyrinth also represents the circulation of vital energies within our bodies, and that pattern suggests the convolutions of the brain and the intestines--two poles of our body corresponding to our consciousness and its physical vehicle. To traverse the labyrinth is to bring into one wholeness all parts of our being. Walking the labyrinth is thus a type of Yoga.
The circuits of the labyrinth pattern, as one encounters them in tracing the labyrinth's path, have the correspondences indicated below, among others. The numbers in the following list denote the order of the circuits from the circumference to the center, which corresponds to Earth and the physical body. Thus one enters the labyrinth at its third circuit, corresponding to desire, meanders outward, then to the middle circuit, corresponding to vitality, moves inward and meanders back from the center until reaching the fifth circuit, corresponding to the pure mind, from which one enters the center:
3. Mars, desire, Tuesday
2. Jupiter, self-identity, Thursday
1. Saturn, empirical mind, Saturday
4. Sun, vitality, Sunday
7. Moon, form, Monday
6. Mercury, intuition, Wednesday
5. Venus, pure mind, Friday
The symbolism of the seven sacred planets with all their correspondences and analogs infuses the Cretan labyrinth with rich meanings by association. A contemplation of those associations while walking the labyrinth, either by your feet or in your mind, will evoke the meanings of its circuits for you.
How Do I Walk the Labyrinth?
The labyrinth at Olcott, in Wheaton, Illinois, the national center of the Theosophical Society in America, is a meandering pattern of the seven-circuit Cretan type, with its path marked by circular stepping stones in a field of pebbles. It can be taken as typical of any labyrinth, because the technique of walking a meander is basically the same, whatever the particular pattern.
You follow the path to the center, where you may wish to pause for a few moments. Then you reverse your direction and retrace your path back out to the starting point. In walking any labyrinth, you should always complete the pattern by following the path both inward and outward, rather than cutting across the pattern at any point. The inward movement needs to be complemented by a corresponding outward return.
If several persons walk a labyrinth together, they may pass one another, going in either the same direction or opposite to each other. They may pass in meditative silence or quietly salute each other by a nod of the head or a raising of the hands. The effect of meeting fellow pilgrims on the path is part of the labyrinthine experience. The labyrinth is a joyfully sacred space. You do not need to be somber around it, but if someone is walking the labyrinth, it is courteous to respect the need they may have for quiet concentration.
As you enter the labyrinth, you may focus your thoughts on a question or concern. You may walk the labyrinth with a quiet mind, sensing without particularizing the wonder of the pattern. Or you may walk it with some of its many symbolic meanings held in your mind as seed thoughts. In the labyrinth, as in life, there is no single right way to follow the path.
Find your TRUE self within the graceful healing spirals of labyrinths in this unique one-day workshop. Learn the ancient beginnings of labyrinths and how they represent a powerful connection to Source,
Learn how going within and releasing allows you to receive insights and information meant just for you to return back out into the world to share with others.The way out is in-the way in is out.
In a comfortable, small group setting, these workshops are fun, relaxed, healing, and incredibly insightful.
You receive all materials, information, several finger labyrinths, and enough instruction to create designs for yourself and your community. You will learn a lot about various designs and their meanings, each one created using the power of sacred geometry and numbers. Walk a full-size labyrinth based on Keli's unique intuitive protocol. You will "walk" various finger labyrinths, several designs of which you take home with you.
To build a labyrinth is to create a sacred space. To walk a labyrinth is to imbue it with power and meaning.
All materials are provided. A full day of fun and play, workshops are limited to no more than 6 guests.
The entire space for workshops is a clean environment for chemically sensitive people; those challenged with asthma, allergies,and other imbalances; those with compromised immune systems. The air is cleaned and purified regularly several times an hour, and no chemical-based cleaning products are used.
**WE REGRET THAT WE CANNOT ACCOMMODATE SMOKERS** and request that attending guests do not wear any colognes, perfumes, after-shave or essential oils in consideration of others. HavenScape is designed to be a safe environment and haven for all.
Mindful MeanderingZ - 9:00-5:00 pm
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