There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth.
In fact, there are probably as many ways to walk and as many reasons to walk as there are people who do it. However, you may wish to be aware of three stages as you move through the labyrinth.
- Release: In this first stage, the walk from the entrance of the labyrinth to the center, the aim is to let go of stress, to quiet the mind, to surrender daily concerns. It is helpful to begin the walk with a feeling of openness, with no particular expectations or preconceived ideas about what you will experience.
- Illumination: The second state occurs when you reach the center of the labyrinth. Here you may wish to spend some time in meditation, perhaps visiting each of the six lobes of the center pattern. In this “centering” time, you may achieve a sense of clarity or understanding or receive some insight related to yourself or your everyday problems. You may feel you are more fully connected to your inner Wisdom, your creative impulses, or to a Higher Power. Again, simply allow yourself to be open to whatever is there to be received.
- Union: The third stage takes you from the center and back out along the same path you followed coming in. This portion of the walk allows you to integrate what you have experienced or received and carry it back into the world. You may feel a sense of energy and empowerment as you walk or you may feel replenished or more grounded. As always, be open to your own experience.
Keep in mind:
- Pause at the entry to become “fully present” as you step into the labyrinth. You may wish to hold a specific intention in your mind for your walk. You may wish to bow or perform another ritual act. Do what comes naturally. Wait until the person ahead of you has made about three turns on the path before you enter.
- Follow your own pace. If you are walking faster than the person ahead of you simply move around him or her and continue walking. If you are walking slowly, you can step into the areas at the turns or simply make room on the path for others to pass.
- Be aware that you are on a two-way path. If you meet someone on the path, make room. If you want to maintain an inward focus, do not make eye contact. If you wish to acknowledge someone, make eye contact. If you meet someone you know you may wish to make physical contact, such as a touch or a hand or a hug to acknowledge your shared experience.
- Spend time as you wish, pausing to stand or sit on the labryses or in the center. When you have completed your walk, if you feel you would like more time with the labyrinth, you can repeat the walk or circle the outside walking on the lunations. If lighted candles are used be mindful of them.
- Unless you need your shoes for support, please remove them before entering the labyrinth. Follow the path to the center and out again. It is best to avoid walking out directly unless you must end your walk quickly.