Dr Lisa Shortridge of Things of Spirit will be providing a temporary labyrinth and singing bowls experience at Picnic 4 Peace on Sunday 25 September at Victoria Park Lake, Shepparton, 11am-3pm. In this article we look to different kinds of labyrinths around the world.
The Story of the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is an ancient pathway constructed for meditation and spiritual reflection. The early Christian church adopted the symbol of the labyrinth from Roman culture. During the medieval period in Europe, labyrinths started appearing in churches and cathedrals and became destinations for pilgrims who could not make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Today, labyrinths are used by people of all faiths (and none) as a tool for personal reflection.
Unlike mazes, labyrinths aren’t meant to make the walker feel lost. Mazes often have raised hedges that make it difficult to see into the center. They also give walkers a choice of pathways, which turns the experience into a giant puzzle. Labyrinths constructed for meditative purposes usually have just one single, flat path that slowly approaches the center, before returning back outside the circle.
According to Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, who helped create a labyrinth at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, the narrowness of the path helps to focus the mind.
“By walking the labyrinth your inner world becomes transparent to you. You become aware of what your thoughts and feelings are that you’re carrying inside,” Artress said in an interview with SF Gate.
Grace Cathedral divides the labyrinth walk into three stages, each meant to open up a different avenue for reflection. Here’s an excerpt from their website:
- Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
- Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the centre, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
- Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the centre as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work for which you feel your soul is reaching.
HuffPost Religion has assembled this list of labyrinths to visit around the world. To find a spot near your hometown, take a look at this world-wide labyrinth locator maintained by enthusiasts at Veriditas and The Labyrinth Society.
Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth (Indoor)
France’s Chartres Cathedral contains one of the world’s most famous labyrinths. The winding path, which is about 42 feet in diameter, was laid down in the cathedral’s nave during the early 13th century.
Chartres Cathedral, France (Outdoor)
France, Eure et Loir, Chartres, labyrinth garden of Notre Dame de Chartres cathedral
Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France
This labyrinth was built into the nave of the Amiens Cathedral during the late 13th century. It is the second largest labyrinth in France.
Saint Quentin, France
The labyrinth of Saint Quentin Basilica in France was installed in the church around 1495.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco (Indoor)
A labyrinth between enormous pillars and stained glass windows defines the interior of Grace Cathedral. It is a replica of the Chartres labyrinth.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco (Outdoor)
A man walks through the outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral.
Edinburgh Labyrinth, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Monks from the Tashi Lhumpo Monastary walk the Edinburgh Labyrinth at the University of Edinburgh on August 25, 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The labyrinth is an exact copy of a the Chartes cathedral labyrinth. It is designed to take 20-30 minutes to walk through.
Armenian Heritage Park Labyrinth, Boston
The Labyrinth at Armenian Heritage Park is part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. The park commemorates the immigrant experience in America. The words art, service, science and commerce are etched into the labyrinth, in acknowledgement of the contributions that immigrants have made to American life.
Land’s End Labyrinth, San Francisco
Visitors walk on the Eagle Point Labyrinth, also known as the Land’s End labyrinth, on a cliff overlooking the fog-covered Pacific Ocean. The labyrinth is the work of San Francisco artist Eduardo Aguilera, who was drawn to create a shrine to “peace, love and enlightenment” on this spot. It has been destroyed at least three times since it was built in 2004, and reassembled by volunteers. A blessing is visible in this photograph. Corvids are symbols of Saturn, Lord of time, doing things slowly and patience. Crows flying above a labyrinth is a blessing for those walking to take their time.
Picnic for Peace
You are cordially invited to fill your picnic basket with your favourite food, grab your picnic rug, your family, friends & community groups and head to the lake Sunday Sept 25th 11-3pm for an all ages family friendly free event. Everyone is welcome.
- BBQ food provided or you are welcome to bring your own picnic
- Live music & performance
- Activities for all ages – Live Music, Kite Flying, Face Painting, Soccer, Footy, Giant Jenga, Games, Yoga, Labyrinth walk, Craft activity for Peace, Birds of Peace and much more.
Spread your message of Peace – bring your posters for peace or any artwork that has the message of hope and peace and enjoy some other lovely surprises!
Event: Picnic for Peace
When: Sunday, September 25
Time: 11 – 3 pm
Place: Victoria Park Lake, near the Skate Ramp
Program :BBQ, Live Music, Kite Flying, Face Painting, Soccer, Footy, Giant Jenga, Games, Yoga, Labyrinth walk, Craft activity for Peace, Birds of Peace
Facilities: Toilets and BBQ nearby. Water trailer will have water for refillable bottles
Hashtag : #picnic4peace
Facebook: Picnic for Peace Shepparton
More information: Liz Arcus 0407 861 303