Outdoor Labyrinths

21 February 08 | Posted in Global Catholic, Spirituality


There was a delightful article in the December 20, 2007 New York Times on labyrinths. Written by Ann Raver, it chronicles the experience of Pamela White, a garden designer, who built a labyrinth in the woods in Maryland.

This ancient form has been used for walking meditations in which those who enter shed their emotional burdens, fears, sorrow, and even evil spirits. According to Robert Ferre, a labyrinth builder and teacher in St. Louis, fishermen had a great belief in labyrinths. “They would walk the labyrinth before going to sea, to shed the evil spirits that sank their ships or made the weather bad.”

Labyrinths are easy to draw, find and research, as shown on the Labyrinth Society’s website, a good source of historical and practical information.

“The design of a labyrinth echoes spirals in nature, from a snail’s shell to the inner ear to the winding of a bean vine as it springs from the earth. Evidence of labyrinths has been found in Minoan Crete as well as Europe, India and the American Southwest, according toe Hermann Kern’s “Through the Labyrinth: Designs and Meanings over 5,000 Years.”

A famous church labyrinth in the United States is Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

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