What is a Labyrinth?

A Labyrinth is not a maze. There is only one entrance, one path and no choices, tricks or dead ends. A maze is designed to make you lose your way; it is a game. A Labyrinth serves the opposite purpose; it is designed to help you find your way. By encouraging you to walk without having to think about where to go next, it can enable you to be still, to let your mind escape the bustle of everyday life and reflect.

Labyrinths can be found all over the world and in all sizes. The best known is probably the forty-two foot Labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral. At the opposite end of the scale is the twenty-four inch Labyrinth in the wall outside Lucca Cathedral where the visitor traces the pattern with a finger to quiet their mind before entering. Labyrinths are located inside Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, St. Mark's Church, Teaneck, N.J. A Labyrinth speaks of journeying, and also has at its heart the idea of a spiritual journey. There is only one path with all its twists and turns, which speaks of the journey of our days. It is possible to walk the Labyrinth as a spiritual journey.

For example, on the way to the centre the pilgrim walks the way of the world, asking God's forgiveness for wrongdoing and seeking to make amends. On reaching the centre, there comes a moment for the pilgrim of opening up.

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