This Saturday is World Labyrinth Day, when people around the world are encouraged to build, walk or trace a labyrinth on the same day, to take steps together for peace and ‘be part of a rolling wave of peaceful energy as the earth turns’.
Labyrinths are known to have been used throughout many cultures around the world and are recorded as far back as the Bronze Age. The word ‘labyrinth’ stems from pre-Greek origins, and is commonly associated with the ancient myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, in which the Minotaur is trapped and killed in an elaborate labyrinth. It is also often associated with the Greek word labyrinthos, used to describe a maze-like structure.
Unlike a maze, the purpose of a labyrinth isn’t to get lost and try to find your way out – although after walking a labyrinth, many claim to have found their way forward! A labyrinth has one path in, a centre point (often called a goal), at which you turn and return out along the same path you came in.
People walk labyrinths for a wide range of reasons, such as for fun, to relax, as a form of walking meditation, to receive answers from source or as part of ceremony.
Preparing for World Labyrinth Day this year led me to reflect on my time in the UK studying with Richard Creightmore and Jewels Rocka, when as a group we built our own labyrinth in a field, using straw. As a group of 12 people we constructed our labyrinth in no time at all, to the exacting points laid out by Richard. Once created, we separated into two groups and walked the labyrinth, one group walking out as the other walked in, weaving our paths together. To create something like this together, and to experience walking it in a shared way was an incredible experience – as was later taking the time to walk the labyrinth alone, using the space for peaceful contemplation.
This experience led me to create my own permanent labyrinth when I got home. Being lucky enough to have the space to do this – and the help to cart the soil, sand and rocks – has meant I’ve been able to create my own special space to enjoy alone, or with family and friends. But more about that experience another time …
World Labyrinth Day is held each year on the first Saturday in May. It is a great excuse to learn more, to introduce others to the beauty of the labyrinth and to be part of something bigger to collectively amplify peaceful energy. There are so many different ways to participate, and a number of suggestions are given on the Labyrinth Society’s website. Some ideas include:
- finding a labyrinth near you and walking it alone or with others
- creating your own labyrinth – not all labyrinths are permanent, and creating them out of straw or just by scratching a line into the sand or soil can be equally rewarding
- tracing a labyrinth with your finger, either on paper or on your phone or tablet (try drawing your own and decorating it with colours, images and symbols that have meaning for you).
A classic 7-turn labyrinth outline can be downloaded for free here, with thanks to The Labyrinth Society (original drawing by Jeff Saward, final graphic by Vicki Keiser).
If you can, try to participate in this day in some way, and help reflect on and contribute to the collective energy contributing to peace around the world. People all around the world will be creating, walking and tracing labyrinths at 1 pm according to their local time, creating a wave of collective energy that will pass around the earth.