Labyrinths are archetypal symbols based on the circle, a universal symbol of unity and wholeness. Different from a maze that has multiple entrances and is a puzzle that challenges the mind to find a way out, labyrinths have only one way in and out. Your only choice is to enter or not. As we walk a sacred labyrinth, we are following in the footsteps of countless numbers of people over the centuries from every major spiritual tradition and every continent on earth. Although the origin and purpose of the labyrinth are lost to antiquity, it has been linked to the teachings of the ancient mystery schools in Egypt, and some attribute its sacred geometry to Pythagoras. One of the earliest labyrinths to be discovered was in Sardinia off the coast of Italy more than 2300 years before the birth of Christ.
During the Crusades some pilgrims who were unable to take the Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, symbolically referred to as "Le Chemin de Jerusalem" (The Road to Jerusalem), chose to walk a labyrinth representing that journey. Over time it has come to be seen as a tool of transformation—a way of connecting to God and experiencing Oneness with the Creator.
Walking the labyrinth is often considered an energy pattern or a metaphor for the journey into the deeper self. It can create an experience of peace, healing, inspiration and insight. Physically walking the left and right turns stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, inducing a receptive state of consciousness. It is a personal experience open to each person's perception. You can simply surrender to its sacred energy or you can use it intentionally for reflection, comfort, gratitude or serenity, as a body prayer or walking meditation, or as an alignment process to bring you to balance.
The Questhaven Labyrinth was designed and built by members of our spiritual community. It is located on sacred land near the former home site of the Reverends Flower and Lawrence Newhouse, founders of Questhaven Retreat. The design of our labyrinth is a 7-circuit modified Chartres-style form oriented to the cardinal directions, its entrance facing East toward the rising sun. It is 44 feet in diameter with a special "heart space" where a sculpture of a prayer thought-form by artist James Hubbell invites you to pause for reflection on your way in or out. The path, lined with porphyry rock, leads to the center where a spiraling tile design by artist James Hulbert draws us into a vortex calling us to turn within. In the center is a 7-pointed star representing the 7 rays of human evolution and the Eternal God-In-Being, God the Invincible Light Who indwells us. Here at this sacred Center of Christian Mysticism known as Questhaven Retreat, where we seek to find God in nature, we invite you to take a pilgrimage to your Source, the Infinite Eternal to which we all return. On your labyrinth walk, may you find the God of your Being, the Bright and Shining God Presence Indwelling!
Description of the Labyrinth
The path into the circle is clockwise; the path out is counter-clockwise. There is no one right way to experience the labyrinth. It gives each of us a personal experience. You turn 180 degrees each time you enter a different circuit. This shifts your awareness from the right brain to the left, helping induce a receptive state of consciousness. The walk is intuitive and symbolic, bringing together reasoning and imagination, psychology and spirituality. There may be cumulative benefits—the more you walk it the more you receive.
Experiencing the Labyrinth
- It may be walked as a questing, searching journey with the goal of connecting with our Higher Selves and drawing closer to God.
- Many use it for reflection, meditation, prayer and comfort.
- It is a body prayer, a form of spirituality in which we bring our body with us
- It can serve as a teacher, teaching us through the mysterious power of God.
- It may be a self-alignment tool bringing us balance and helping put our lives in perspective.
- It is a transformative tool connecting us to ourselves and to a sense of Oneness with God.
- It helps us recognize our individual gifts and how we might use them for good.
- It encourages the Christ Spirit to envelop us.
- It is a sacred place where the earth's voice may be heard more clearly, a place to listen to the inner voice of wisdom, the still small voice within.
- It helps balance the chakras and calls forth intuition and creativity.
- It may bring profound healing or simply be a meaningful walk.
There is nothing to compare with what retreats can do, spiritually, if they are completely highly and rightly motivated. We should seek them as we seek the word of God, and travel to them with purpose, for within their boundaries there will be a different atmosphere, discernible to the perceptive and the responsive, flexible, and teachable.
Flower A. Newhouse