# Spiritual Maze #

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

Sacred Geometry buffs and friends, welcome! I would like to share with you the basic history and information on building your own labyrinth.

Labyrinths have been around for over 4000 years and are found in just about every major religious tradition in the world. They have been an integral part of many cultures such as Native American, Greek, Celtic and Mayan. The Hopi called the labyrinth the symbol for "mother earth" and equated it with the Kiva. Like Stonehenge and the pyramids, they are magical geometric forms that define sacred space.

During the crusades, they were used to symbolically represent the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Today, labyrinths are being used for reflection, meditation, prayer and comfort. They are found in many sizes and shapes, and are created in sand, cornmeal, flour, painted on canvas, fashioned with masking tape or string for a temporary design, or built in a permanent fashion from stones, cut into turf, formed by mounds of earth, made from vegetation, or any other natural material.

There are three basic designs -- seven circuit, eleven circuit, and twelve circuit. The most common design found around the country today is the seven circuit, seen on the left side of this page. These seven circuit designs were found on pottery from over 2000 years ago. Chartres Cathedral at Chartres, France is a very famous example of an eleven circuit design, as seen to your right. One of the most famous aspects of the cathedral in Chartres is the spectacular rose window over the great west doors. It has the same dimensions as the labyrinth and is exactly the same distance up the west wall as the labyrinth is laterally from the cathedral's main entrance below the window. An imaginary cosmic hinge located where the doors and floor intersect would, if closed, place the rose window directly on top of the labyrinth, thus the sparkling, colored light of the window and the darkness of the labyrinthine pilgrimage are combined.

The labyrinth symbol is also found throughout India, as far away as Sumatra and Java and in the American Southwest, although many questions remain around when it first appears and how it spread to many of these regions.

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