Labyrinth Walks and Workshops
Labyrinth walks or workshops use this ancient design or symbol as a metaphor for your spiritual journey through your life challenges. It consists of a circular, meandering path to the center, and one walks the same path out again. There are no wrong choices or decisions to make, as are found in a maze. A labyrinth is designed to help you find your way – symbolically the journey helps us to integrate mind, body and spirit.
A labyrinth allows a person to take the next step on their spiritual journey, whatever that may look like for that individual. The labyrinth is also a tool for stress relief and centering.
Dr. Robin’s Labyrinth
There are many different labyrinth designs. The 7-circuit classical labyrinth and the 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth are two popular designs. My portable, green on white labyrinth combines the two designs and called the Focus-7. This Labyrinth has the 7 circuits of the classical design as well as several of the labyrs from the Chartres design that produce the 180 degree turns and 3 focus circles within the labyrinth. This gives the Focus-7 labyrinth a wonderful flexibility for workshops and a smaller size than the Chartres.
Labyrinth Walks are divided into three paths:
- Journeying In or Releasing: the walk to the center, quieting or emptying yourself, letting go of the details of everyday life, struggling with a life challenge.
- Resting in the Center: time spent in the center meditating, praying or simply being of open mind and heart to receive whatever gift or insight may be present for you.
- Journeying Out Renewed: the walk out from the center may be experienced as awareness of a deep connection or communion with God, the Holy Spirit, or with Sacred or Universal energy at work in the world. Others may feel centered, peaceful or renewed to journey back into challenges in their life and the world.
The labyrinth provides a physical expression for our circuitous journey as human beings. We start out walking straight towards our goal and then life experiences invite us to grow through a series of turns. We move toward the center again, only to meander to the outside of the path. Back and forth, in and out, until we feel we have lost sight of our goal. Then suddenly the center loooms directly in front of us. We have found some deep forgotten part of ourselves.
My Journey with the Labyrinth
I was first introduced to the labyrinth at Holden Village at the 1999 Winter Women’s Retreat. The retreat, “Tree of Life”, was led by Rev. Susan Briehl. Her husband, Rev. Martin Wells, created a labyrinth in the snow for us to walk, by creating the paths with snowshoes. It was a cold, crisp, clear, dark night as we made our way to the labyrinth, our boots squeaking with each step we took in the deep snow, flashlights in hand.
Martin placed candles in the snow at each turn of the Chartres labyrinth and in the center. As I walked, I was struck by the metaphors that came up for me. As we approached the labyrinth, it looked like a lighted snow globe with tall, silent trees around it watching. The packed path was solid and if you stepped off it you sank hip deep in snow.
As the women who journeyed before me started out of the labyrinth, we would wait to meet at the turns so we could hug and turn around there, as the path was a single person width and the turns a bit wider. By the time I reached the center, I was feeling peaceful, centered and tired (I had a cold and my coughing was triggered by the crisp air). I hopped over the two foot deep lines to make a quicker exit from the labyrinth. Even so, without walking out the entire labyrinth, it was a life changing experience.
My Labyrinth Training
By February 2000 I was chairperson of the labyrinth committee at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pullman, WA. We embarked on a dream of having a permanent outdoor labyrinth next to the church. Trinity Community Labyrinth is 80 feet across in size and is currently spray painted on a dark gravel surface.
In August of 2002 I went to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco for labyrinth retreat and facilitator training – more transformation. I became a certified labyrinth facilitator in March 2003 through the Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress and Veriditas.
Part of my love of the labyrinth is kindled by the direct connection to spirit I experience while walking. As I started my labyrinth journey, it was the only way to quiet my “monkey mind” and settle into a meditative state. If I tried to sit and meditate during this time, my body assumed it was time to sleep. I find the labyrinth is also a very flexible spiritual tool and symbol, it seems to graciously meet and invite people to take their next step on their journey as a spiritual being in this human body.
A labyrinth is a spiritual tool for meditation or prayer with a single path winding into the center and out again. There is no “religious dogma” associated with the labyrinth. The circle the labyrinth forms symbolizes wholeness and unity, inviting playful interaction and soulful reflection. Whether used for meditation, prayer or quiet moments, the circular nature of the labyrinth reminds us that life is a constant journey, rather than a destination. Come walk and find “health and peace within…”
7-circuit Community Labyrinth Complete at First Presbyterian Church
The dedication for the outdoor labyrinth at FPC was held Sunday, July 2015. All are welcome to walk this outdoor labyrinth as your schedule permits! To find the labyrinth, just park at the far end of the main parking lot and you will see a labyrinth sign. There is a path that goes down to the labyrinth that is located behind the church. The labyrinth is also accessible from the walking path that runs behind the church.
Find more at bendfp.org.
Half or full day workshops around the labyrinth and a special theme can be arranged with Robin. The labyrinth is a flexible spiritual tool that can be used to go deeper into many topics.
I have co-led numerous workshop around different topics including:
- Exploring Sacred Circles through Labyrinth Walking and Beadwork
- Spiraling Deeper: Labyrinth Walking and Sacred Beadwork
- Around the Wheel: Labyrinth & Beadwork
- Labyrinth & Bead Workshop: Explore the Sacred through Sound & Color
- Labyrinth & Sound Healing Workshop: Exploring the Sacred Through Sound
- Mandalas, Labyrinth and Beads
- Journeying through the Labyrinth with Soul Collage
- Open Walk themes
- Winter Solstice and the Labyrinth
- Prayer and the Labyrinth
- The Feminine Divine and the Labyrinth
- Monthly Self-Guided Walk Themes: Peace, Light, Thanksgiving, Beauty,
- Love, Harvest, Abundance, Renewal, Transition
- Resilience Walk for Cancer Support Group
- Grieving, Resilience and Healing Walks for Reiki volunteers
Through co-leading and participating in labyrinth and beadwork seminars for 5 years prior to moving to Bend, OR, I have learned to make jewelry which I infuse with Reiki energy.
In Bend, I have facilitated labyrinth walks to support the Reiki volunteers from St Charles Cancer Center around the theme of grief, as requested. I also have facilitated walks at Grace First Lutheran Church for the young family Bible study group around the topic of prayer and centering. Most recently, I was on the planning team to upgrade the labyrinth behind First Presbyterian Church in Bend – this outdoor labyrinth is open anytime and all are welcome to walk!
Please contact me if you are interested in planning a workshop for your group!