Many individuals and groups enjoy a walking meditation while on retreat. Light on the Hill offers two large, outdoor grass and rock labyrinths. Many participants have reported deep experiences and insights gained by walking a labyrinth.
The first labyrinth was constructed on October 6, 2001. It is based on the 11-circuit medieval model originally laid in the floor of the nave in the cathedral at Chartres, France, with the same diameter of 50’ and paths of 16”. It is open to the public 24 hours a day.
The labyrinth is an archetypal tool for harmonizing movements of the body, turns of the mind–a self-discovery of the human spirit. It is profoundly humane in terms of the mathematics necessary in its design and the aesthetics of its completed form and, like any true cultural artifact, its function is to move the heart, kindle the imagination, and inform our earthly journey.
A birthing place for creativity, a map of the imaginal world, the labyrinth is a universal symbol of wholeness found in many of the world’s cultures, from Egypt to China. Throughout the centuries and the globe, in turf and in stone, in the visual arts and in literature, walking a labyrinth has functioned as a symbolic representation of life’s quest. To walk the labyrinth is to wind along a clear universal path to the center area, then to retrace the same steps outward, guided by the circuit path.
In an eleven-circuit labyrinth such as the one at Light on the Hill, the path meanders throughout the whole circle. There are 34 turns on the path going into the center. Depending on the pace, the walk to the center can take from 5-45 minutes; the spirit of the walk can be serious or playful. People often walk in groups, following the same path but in different locations on the circuits, developing both individual awareness and a sense of community.
People use a labyrinth at times of uncertainty, when facing an important decision, for healing emotional wounds, during illness and bereavement, when awestruck by joy, or to do their spiritual practices.
To walk a labyrinth can be an act of praise, thanksgiving, festivity, prayer, rejoicing, inspiration, hope, and joy. Of course, one may also skip, run or dance!
A labyrinth can facilitate states of tranquility, energy, clarity, and discovery. It can help you find what you’ve always looked for, and help you cultivate a feeling of centeredness when faced with the unexpected.