Home Articles Channels Daily Retreat Inspiration Classroom Boutique Community Singles Resources Contact

SoulfulLiving.com :: Personal Growth, Spiritual Growth, Self Help and Self Improvement

Your #1 Online Resource for Personal and Spiritual Growth Since 2000.
Mandala and Chakra Pendants
New Age Gifts and Products, Buddhist and Tibetan Jewelry, Meditation and Yoga Supplies
Mandala Art Prints



Our Sponsors:

The Mandala Collection :: Buddhist and Conscious Living Gifts
Inspirational Gifts

Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Body of Grace
Eco-Friendly Gifts

Yoga Download
Yoga Download

The Mandala Collection
Give a Gift with Soul

Norah Griggs

The Use of the Labyrinth in Spiritual Growth
by Norah Griggs (Rocklady)

If you are here, you already understand the importance, the benefits of slowing the busy mind. A labyrinth is a tool used as a means to do just that.

The course of the labyrinth itself leads you to the center and back out again. It has many turns and bends just like our pathway through life. You may come away with a solution to a problem, an inspiration, a new awareness, feeling of joy or peace, or just a sense of having taken a nice little walk. Not unlike the medicine wheel, which represents the circle of life in our Native American culture, the labyrinth has sacred meaning. It’s been found in many cultures and religions all around the world; used in ceremony and meditation and was a place to help heal in time of sickness. It was also used as a type of calendar to watch the phases of the moon and the seasons; an indicator as to when to plant various crops.

Rocklady: Building the Labyrinth by Norah Griggs

Most commonly used around the world are the eleven or the seven circuit labyrinths. There are several different designs, patterns and styles. People today are creating their own patterns and using things from flowers, rocks or wood to various man-made material such as brick, concrete or canvas.

The eleven-circuit labyrinth is mainly used as a spirituality and religious pattern, for prayer and meditation. The most famous one is at the Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France. It was built into the floor around the turn of the 13th century and has since been restored. This Chartres style labyrinth is being used in more and more churches around the world. There is a renewed interest as people are finding a reconnection to the spirit. Many hospitals are now providing patients and the public with a labyrinth, finding it useful in the healing of both physical and mental illness.

The seven-circuit labyrinth is known to be the symbol for Mother Earth. There are two main styles of seven circuit, classical and concentric designs. It is used much like the eleven circuit, for meditation and prayer. I believe I was drawn to this pattern because of my strong ecological beliefs. We need to bring the consciousness back; preserve our trees and land. Bring back the "Don’t Be A Litterbug" signs. Our Native Americans believe that we are one with the earth and when something is taken we must put something back. It is part of the circle of life and it must not be broken.

It is not known how far back in time the labyrinth originated. But like many other mysteries in this world, there are questions as to how people of ancient civilization knew exactly how to figure a geometric design such as the labyrinth to line up with the lunar phases and to work both the right side and left side of the mind to relax and heal. It makes me wonder if we are really as advanced as we think, or are some of the old ways actually too far advanced for us to comprehend. And in our misunderstanding, do we simply toss aside old beliefs, calling them foolishness? I don’t believe these things were a scientific discovery, proclaimed to be true by one great mind. I believe it was the ability that humans had of being in touch with their inner self, their natural way of knowing; something we have lost in the age of technology. We are learning that the brain is more powerful than we ever imagined, and with proper understanding and discipline, we can actually learn to heal our own bodies. We can become connected with the intuitive sense that has been suppressed for many years. And most importantly of all, and I can’t stress this enough because it has been my personal battle, is learning how to quiet the chattering mind.

One day I visited a Chartres style labyrinth done on canvas at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I had been having pain in my hip for quite some time, so upon entering the labyrinth, I had decided to leave it behind. But soon I found myself in an almost unbearable state of impatience to finish, letting myself become distracted. Somehow I actually turned myself around and found myself at the exit before making it to the center. I was a little bewildered but thought, "Oh well", and started over, to the center and back out, this time more in focus and at ease. I left there that day with a very valuable lesson that I will carry with me forever. Slow down! Pay attention! Think, but not so much thinking at a time. I also left there that day free of the pain and have not been bothered by it since

I’m often asked about my personal experiences walking the labyrinth. It’s sometimes difficult to explain because they are so personal. I’ve had prayers and questions answered but I have prayers and questions still in deliberation, as it were. So, I love trying to explain and will continue to try because it’s wonderful to be part of a community willing to try to understand and experience these things for themselves.

I built a labyrinth in my woods even before I knew much of anything about it. I realize now that everything about the labyrinth was inspired. The where’s, why’s, and how’s, I had no knowledge of on my own, I was guided by an unknown instinct.

Fortunately, I am able to visit my labyrinth almost everyday. One day I got to wondering about how my thoughts worked at different turns and areas. As I walked it, I tried to stay aware of just what I was thinking at each turn. And sure enough, I noticed that after each right turn, I would start picking up small branches that were blown off the trees, pull a weed here and there, or even straighten a rock that I thought should be turned a different way. But when turning to the left, a deeper place inside of me awoke, I would become dreamy and think of my children or beautiful experiences that have happened throughout my life, sometimes even writing poetry in my mind. Then the right turn and back to straightening and picking up. So I guess this little study proved at least to myself the theory about working both the creative side of the brain and the logical side.

I have organized several "walks" at my labyrinth. People would come to join together in fellowship and walk and share their experiences around a campfire. They would listen and learn, accept and validate each other’s stories and opinions. Some would come and show me a small stone or leaf they had spotted while walking and asked if they could please take it with them, taking with them a part of something that helped them feel such peace and calmness.

Every now and then someone will call and ask to walk the labyrinth alone. Whether it be for solace or to give thanks, afterwards I get to see and hear how much better they feel. What an honor and joy it is for me! And I have seen many people lay their fascinated gaze upon it. Very often I find that a gift or an offering has been left in its center. Be it a twig, a feather, a flower, it is never insignificant to the one who left it there. It is usually something from this earth, a token of their reverence and gratitude. Sometimes though, it is something very personal and perhaps symbolic of the leaving behind of a bad habit, negative thoughts, or a relationship that needs to end.

So I have felt and witnessed the labyrinth’s mysteries and miracles. I can not say how it works, I just know it does. I know the labyrinth has a definite purpose and I know that many people feel as I do, that it has Sacred meaning. I strongly advise everyone to walk a labyrinth at least once in their lifetime. Chances are you will love the experience.

Finding peace one step at a time.

Taking in a long deep breath, I look into the pathway of wind blown leaves and soil covered with moss. I see the beauty of the trees scattered inside the labyrinth. It’s as if they were placed there on purpose, and each one seems to be standing proud, as if guarding this sacred ground. Occasionally, they sway with the wind as if giving a happy little hula dance. As I stand in the center and look up and through the branches, I see the sun shining as if it is looking right at me. I can hear a hawk’s cry in the distance. I can only stand and drink in the calmness I feel. I thank my God for giving me this day and slowly step by step I walk and turn and dream and ponder about what life will bring tomorrow. Each time I walk the labyrinth I pray that some day there will be no more suffering in this world, no more hunger or pain, and that each and every one of us will be equal and know love for one another. Until that day, I will walk one step at a time.

© 2002 Norah Griggs.  All rights reserved and must not be used without the permission of the author. 

Norah Griggs
Norah Griggs (Rocklady) has spent the last 5 years, building and studying about labyrinths. She is now organizing and hosting walks and drum circles around her labyrinth in her woods. She has also been busy doing talks on her book Rocklady, The Building of a Labyrinth in schools and Spiritual Centers . Norah, is a self proclaimed “Wild Woman”, giving advice even where its not wanted (but should be); singing out of tune, but doesn’t care because it frees the soul; looking like a chicken when she dances, but does it anyway because it makes her feel good. Visit Rocklady at http://www.rocklady.ws or email her at norah@rocklady.ws




Daily Soul Retreat at SoulfulLiving.com
Soul Retreat Goodies!

Support SoulfulLiving.com
Show Us Your Love ♥


Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Wild Divine Meditation Software featuring Deepak Chopra
Meditation Software

Energy Muse - Sacred Yoga Jewelry

Copyright © 1999-2014 Soulful Living®.

Soulful Website Design by The Creative Soul®.