Each of us, at some point in life, embarks on a journey. A quest for solace,
for truth, for inner peace, for the real meaning of it all. A pilgrimage to
find one's soul. Landmarks are hard to come by, and we can easily become
disoriented. The labyrinth, a metaphor for one's life journey, can help
show the way. The very act of walking the labyrinth encourages focus, assists
in opening up the self, in creating a place deep inside where new insights
and awareness can germinate, take root and grow. Each journey is unique. People
who like labyrinth tend to cross denominational and religious lines to explore
Labyrinths are a potent symbol in many cultures, and have been for thousands
of years. One traditional story tells us that the Labyrinth evolved from
observations of the recursive swings of the planet Mercury. In one solar year,
Mercury backwards three times and forward four. Seven-circuit labyrinths have
been discovered within the ruins of cities of ancient Turkey dating back to
5,000 B.C.E. The Classic seven circuit labyrinth is round. The square versions
are either Celtic or Roman. Other styles have been found in classical Greece,
New Zealand, North America, and Southeast Asia. The earliest versions are found in pictographs, drawings
7-Circuit Celtic Labyrinth
The Great Goddess Inanna of Mesopotamia (5,000 B.C.E.)
surrendered her seven symbols of identity as she entered the Underworld were,
she encountered her Shadow Side, her Dark Sister Ereskigal. Inanna dies, is
reborn, and returns empowered reclaiming her seven symbols. (Later, Ereskigal
became the model for Lillith, the first wife of Adam.)
With Greek legend when Theseus killed the Minotaur, he defeated the beast
at the heart of darkness - and created a myth that is still vibrant and
evolving. Roman mosaics often depicted labyrinths as fortified cities.
Romans placed symbols of the square labyrinth above doorways for protection.
Christian churches used the labyrinth for prayer and meditation as early as
350. In medieval Europe, the eleven-circuit labyrinth appeared. They served
as alternate paths for pilgrimage after Jerusalem fell to the Muslims, and
they symbolized the one true path to Christian salvation.
The design most popular within Christendom comes from
de Chartres Cathedral at
France. It contains four 7-circuit labyrinth, making for a longer journey.
Centuries before, this was a site very sacred to the Goddess and to the
Labyrinths have been used as ceremonial pathways, protective sigils, traps for
unwelcome spirits and for games and dancing. Puzzle mazes have been
exercising our feet and entertaining our minds for hundreds of years - and
have become a symbol of confusion.
11-Circuit Chartres Labyrinth
||People who like labyrinths tend to cross religious lines. Bob Peach of Atlanta, Georgia, has produced a 6-circuit
design based on the Classic 7-Circuit but incorporated the switchback
labrys of the Chartres design.
The result is a Chalice Labyrinth Design.
Unitarian Universalists claim the flaming chalice as one of their
symbols. In a Christian setting, a Chalice Labyrinth takes
on a different meaning and might even be adapted to the Stations of
We now have a permanent outdoor Celtic labyrinth at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale.
Our church is located at 3970 Northwest 21st Ave., Oakland Park, Florida 33309.
Our 7-Circuit Labyrinth is at the north side of our building. It is open to the public for walking and meditation.
We plan to enhance this area for meditation in the near future. Contact us at (954)
484-6734 or by e-mail to
For directions, we provide an online MAP. Donations for the upkeep of the Labyrinth Project are gratefully accepted in the
"The labyrinth is like an invisible thread that
connects us to the sacred."
Today, mazes and labyrinths are more popular than ever before. Their imagery
is used in games, films and advertising, while hundreds of new and innovative
puzzle mazes have been built to entertain us. There is also a resurgence in
their spiritual use by Christians, neo-pagans and the New Age culture. And
of course the Web is often seen as a tangled labyrinth of links that ensnare
Our Local Guide:
SophiaLinus is a solitary
practitioner who connected with the UU Church and CUUPS in 1997.
She has been drawn to this inward journey and completed our
permanent seven-circuit labyrinth. Sophia
constructs temporary labyrinths from wood stakes
and ribbon tape, and occasionally includes Christmas, otherwise known
as Yule, lights. In summer, we take our temporary Labyrinth to Virginia and set it
up for SUUSI.
Exercises that we lead:
A Blessing of the Labyrinth:
- Sophia and friends construct a seven-circuit labyrinth. Come help and
see how this is done. We conclude with a dedication of our newly created
- Sophia and friends host an occasion for meditation. We present a guided
tour of the labyrinth with historical notes. Then everyone is invited to
enter the labyrinth with a question, let go as they spiral inward, ground at
the center, and then reclaim as they exit. Each of us, at some point in life,
embarks on such a journey.
Optional closes for differing times of the day and month:
Enter into Labyrinth Time,
Ponder on your life's design.
Spiral down into the core,
Determine what your life is for.
Stand here now in sacred space,
Goddess Spirit in this place.
Spiral out back to your world,
Be not seduced by maddening swirl.
Waxing Moon in the sky bright,
A variation upon this Blessing:
New beginnings start tonight.
Waning Moon in the sky bright,
All negativity ends tonight.
Waxing moon in light of day,
New beginnings start this way.
Waning Moon hid by the day,
Banish doubt, it must not stay.
With open heart and quiet mind.
Approach this place and you will find
That shifting into Labyrinth Time
Reveals anew your life's design.
Bow to Spirit at the start
with reverence in your heart.
Enter now this sacred place,
Goddess Spirit in this space.
Spiral around into the core,
Determine what your life is for.
Then spiral out again and see
The mysteries revealed to thee.
-- A Spiral Blessing from Janis Strope of Ithaca, NY.