Labyrinth & Memorial Garden
St. Luke's Episcopal Church invites you to create a "Sacred Space" in your day by walking our Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is an ancient and sacred symbol that has been used for thousands of years and found among many cultures and in nearly all religious traditions. A Labyrinth is a one-way path to inner discovery (the center / the truth) that is a way of praying with one's body, that invites the Divine Presence (God) into active conversation with the heart and soul.
At St. Luke's, we are thankful that one of our parishioners, Bill Blaine, persisted in seeing this vision of the Sacred Walking Path to its completion!
This is the classical or seventh circuit labyrinth. Seven circuits refers to the single pathway that loops back and forth to form seven circuits (or paths) that lead to the center or goal. This is an ancient design and is found in most cultures. It is sometimes dated back more than 4000 years. Also knows as the Cretan Labyrinth, it is associated with the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. This design is found on Cretan coins.
Labyrinths have most likely always been used in a spiritual manner. They can create a heightened awareness of the human condition and aid psychological and spiritual growth. To build a labyrinth is to create a sacred space. To walk a Labyrinth is to imbue it with power and meaning. The more a labyrinth is used the more powerful it becomes a a symbol of transformation.
The classical labyrinth has an association with Christianity. A cross is the starting point, used to construct this labyrinth. The cross at the center can become the focus for meditation and the experience of the labyrinth. The classical labyrinth is found in many churches in Europe.
The Middle Ages showed a renewed interest in labyrinths and a design more complex than the classical seven-circuit labyrinth became popular.
The eleven-circuit design divided into four quadrants became popular. It was often found in Gothic Cathedrals but over time many of these types of circuits were destroyed or intentionally removed.
The most famous of these remaining labyrinths is at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France. The labyrinth at Chartres was built around 1200 and is laid into the floor in a style sometimes referred to as a pavement maze. The original center piece has been removed and other areas of the labyrinth have been restored.
This labyrinth was meant to be walked but is reported to be infrequently used today. In the past it could be walked as a pilgrimage and / or for repentance. As a pilgrimage it was a questing, searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance the pilgrims would walk on their knees. Sometimes this eleven-circuit labyrinth would serve as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and as a result came to be called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem.
In walking the Chartres style labyrinth the walker meanders through each of the four quadrants several times before reaching the goal. An expectancy is created as to when the center will be reached. At the center is a rosette design which has a rich symbolic value including that of enlightenment. The four arms of the cross are readily visible and provide Christian symbolism.