“Stand at the crossroads, and look, ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
After walking the labyrinth at Eagle Eyrie, one student said “It seems like you take the long way into the center; it would be easier to step over the rocks, but that would be cheating…God wants us to go on His path.“
The prayer labyrinth at Eagle Eyrie is available to anyone. If your group would like to use it, please let us know so that we may reserve it for you.
There are a lot of questions and misconceptions about labyrinths. We hope that our labyrinth can help lead you to a deeper walk with Christ.
What is a labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a path that doubles back on itself several times and leads to a center. Walking a labyrinth is a tool that has been used by Christians for centuries as an aid to prayer and meditation. Labyrinths were placed in the floor of many early Christian churches.
Labyrinths and mazes are often confused. The difference is that a maze is designed to confuse, but a labyrinth has only one path. The way in is the way out. A labyrinth is actually a metaphor for the Christian life: a meandering but purposeful journey.
Quite simply, a labyrinth is a path for prayer. Journeying on a labyrinth can be used for personal exploration and also invites communal participation. The labyrinth is a single path leading to the center and back.
How does a labyrinth “work”?
The labyrinth is a spiritual tool. We learn how to use tools expertly through practice. They become extensions of our own abilities, allowing us to be stronger, faster. In the case of the labyrinth, it helps us to meditate more profoundly and to go deeper within. With practice comes improvement.
It is a physical spiritual practice. It “embodies” our experience, keeping it from being only theoretical or mental. One of the most notable effect of walking the labyrinth is stress reduction as one focuses on prayer and meditation with God. You can feel it in your physical body.
Walking the Labyrinth
The labyrinth has a single path into and out of its center. That is to say, it is unicursal. Once you begin to walk the labyrinth, you are on a path without deviation or hindrance to your journey to the center. There is no need to rush. Some people walk faster, others more slowly. An average walk may take about 30 minutes.
If others are walking with you, please respect the sacredness of the experience by maintaining a prayerful silence. You may encounter someone along your journey to or from the center of the labyrinth. Remember, as there is only the same path in as out, this is to be expected.
Pause and let the other person pass in their prayer-centered mediation. Whatever you experience is part of the encounter. Please do not feel that there is a right way to walk. Simply relax and let what happens happen. Most do not really get a feel for the labyrinth experience until they have walked at least three times.
More about the labyrinth at Eagle Eyrie
During the Missions Connection Celebration (MC2) in the Summer of 2012, the 7th grade mission team collected stones and laid out a prayer labyrinth above the chapel at Eagle Eyrie. Afterwards, they were the first ones to walk it, leading to a powerful sharing and reflection time afterwards.