Join us for Contemplative Thursdays at All Saints

5:30 - 6:45 PM
Open Labyrinth Walk and Icon
Sit (mentor available)

Call the office at 855-6294 to check the availability of the labyrinth for walking at other times or to schedule a private walk for your church or group.

In addition to or in conjunction with our weekly open Labyrinth Walks, we have special walks during Advent, Lent, Holy Week, New Years' Eve and for other occasions. The public is always welcome to to these special walks.

Many people are surprised by the instant rapport they feel with a labyrinth. Its basic circulatory incorporates a universal shape reflected throughout nature and the solar system. Three dimensionally, the circle becomes a sphere, the shape of atoms, the earth, the sun, planets, and stars. The circle is in us, and we are in it. We are made of circles.
- Robert Ferre

If life is viewed as a maze, every mistake is an unnecessary detour and a waste of time.
If life is a labyrinth, then every mistake is part of the path and an indispensable master teacher.
- Paula D’Arcy

You can only go halfway
into the darkest forest; then you are coming out
the other side.
-Chinese proverb

In the labyrinth you don’t lose yourself, you find yourself.
- Hermann Kern

There is no gentler place than the labyrinth.
The labyrinth is one more path of prayer.
The labyrinth is a journey to God
The labyrinth is a non-verbal tool.
The labyrinth is a container for sacred space.
The labyrinth is an experience of wholeness, of mystical union.
The labyrinth is a walking meditation for people from all religious traditions. It is metaphor for the spiritual journey.
It is walking meditation.
It is an ancient symbol representing wholeness.
It is a way.
It is a way to get in touch with the inner self; the self that knows you best.
It is an ancient archetype.
The labyrinth is a symbol of the earth, the womb of the soul, and a dancing ground.

Candles on the Walk

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The Labyrinth

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying: “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

The place on which you are standing is holy ground. (Exodus 3:5b)

Make me to know your ways, O God; Teach me your paths. (Psalm 25:4)

Enter the labyrinth


Centering Prayer
Labyrinth Spirit
Symbolism of the Labyrinth
Walking the Labyrinth
Processing the Labyrinth

Throughout history, in many places and cultures, the labyrinth has appeared as a form of sacred wisdom. Its patterns are said to express an archetypal in the shape of a mandala. Although its origins are unknown, the labyrinth was used in Europe by medieval Christians and pilgrims to replace the longer journey to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Historically Christian pilgrims walked a symbolic spiritual journey to and through Jerusalem, following the footsteps of Jesus. By walking the labyrinth they experienced that journey metaphorically.

Placed in the floors of churches and cathedrals, in gardens, and on cloistered grounds, labyrinths were used to replicate the journey of spirit that one experienced as the pilgrim went to the center of Christian faith. Encoded in this complex geometric pattern are forms of ancient wisdom that take one to deeper spiritual realities, but lead also to the prayerful inner depths of the heart.

Encoded in the Labyrinth are twelve circles quartered by a cross. The classic eleven circuit labyrinth leading to an inner circle has been built into the floor of the Spirtual Formation Center of the All Saints' Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, by Dave Darce. This unique construction, made of maple and walnut, is a unicursal path, which means it has a single, winding passage that leads to a central space at the center. It is not a maze. You cannot get lost walking it, though you may not know exactly where you are at any given point in your journey to the center.

Centering Prayer

Many people who walk the labyrinth today say that it provides a space that guides their focus inward. The effortless concentration of walking benefits the body as well as the soul and spirit. Its calming effects on the body are deepened by the rhythmic pattern of walking and breathing. The simple act of walking also allows the individual to "go within" the soul and in the inner place of the heart, find peace. Others say that they use it as a form of centering prayer and meditation leading to an experience of union with God. Some find in it a release from tension. Others use it as a way of solving some problem they are carrying, as a means of gaining inspiration, or as a focusing mechanism to help them face the complexities of life.

Labyrinth Spirit

Like so much else we experience in life, what you get out of the labyrinth depends a lot on what you bring to it. Let us suggest that as you walk the labyrinth you set aside any pre conceived notions or skepticism and simply be open to what happens at that particular moment.

The environment surrounding the labyrinth at All Saints' parish is the larger sacred space of the church. This space includes two altars (centers of worship) at each end of the building -- the Nave of the church above the labyrinth, and the Kiva in the Oratory of the Good Shepherd adjacent to it. The sense of being in "sacred space and time" is set by that environment. This can be very helpful in your walk. Allow the labyrinth spirit of openness to fill your inner space.

Symbolism of the Labyrinth

The labyrinth is a three-fold Path.

  • The path to the center is the Path of Purgation. (The path of shedding or letting go.)
  • The center is the Path of Illumination. (The Path of Light or Presence of the Divine.)
  • The path returning from the center is the Path of Union. (The path of bringing the inner presence of God into the world.)

The labyrinth is divided horizontally and vertically, reflecting a cross.

It was created using 12 concentric circles, reminding us of 12 months in a year and 12 apostles.

An invisible 13 point star was used to determine the correct placement of the paths and turns, as well as the position of the center -- reflecting there are 13 full moons a year and Christ plus 12 apostles equals 13.

The center is a rosette, the Christian symbol for Christ. The center metaphorically draws us to our own center. This symbol of love and beauty is a place of safety and peace.

Beginning at the lower left and moving clockwise around the center, the petals represent states of The Great Chain of Being.

  1. The mineral world-- The State of Being
  2. The vegetable world -- The State of Growing
  3. The animal world -- The State of Feeling
  4. The human world --The State of Thinking
  5. The angelic world -- The State of Knowing
  6. The world of divine mystery -- The State of Unknowing

The labyrinth is a nonverbal symbol and people of all traditions will find embedded in it metaphors of their own faith.

Additional Information

Walking a Sacred Path by Dr. Lauren Artress
http://www.veriditas.org/about/staff.shtml

http://gracecathedral.org/visit/labyrinth/

The Labyrinth Society
www.labyrinthsociety.org

The World Wide Labyrinth Locator
http://wwll.veriditas.labyrinthsociety.org/

Walking the Labyrinth

To begin, be seated a few moments to quiet your heart and mind.

Please walk in soft shoes, socks or bare feet.

Quietly, without speaking, begin at the entry point when you do not feel rushed.

Walk on the light colored path, not the lines.

Set your own pace and listen to your breath.

Pass others if you feel you need to move at a faster pace and allow others to do the same.

Remember the path is a two-lane passage. Just step to the side if you meet someone going the opposite direction.

When you come to the center, sit or stand quietly in one of the petals of the rosette. Honor the sacred sense within yourself.

When you are ready, return by walking the path back out.

Processing the Walk

Journaling, drawing, painting, writing prose or poetry may enhance and preserve the experience.

Talk to someone you trust and share the experience.

The labyrinth is sacred space and is a safe place to process emotions and be open to new insight.

Trust yourself and the process.

If intense emotions surface and you need assistance, request what you need.