Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enter the Labyrinth

Today's Wonder of the World is...the Labyrinth!

Flickr photo by Merowig
Are you familiar with the labyrinth?
No, not that David Bowie movie where he juggles orbs and worms speak with a British accent.
No, I'm talking about the ancient pattern found in all religious traditions, shown in the amazing photo above from the Chartres cathedral in France.

The one at Chartres was the only labyrinth I'd ever seen until my church finished building ours a few weeks ago.

I think it's gorgeous there beside the grove of great big magnolias.

Until folks at my church started talking up labyrinths, I always thought they were kind of new age-y. Would we start wearing orange robes and walk around like zombies, chanting to each other?
I was suspicious. I was a little freaked out.
(What? People wandering around in circles praying don't freak you out? Not even a little bit?)

Right in the height of my freak out, the Minister of Education asked the Sunday School teachers to introduce the labyrinth to the children on Sunday. But this was my Sunday to teach!
Uh oh.
It was time to do some research.
Let me tell you, I'm now IN LOVE with the labyrinth.
You could even call me a Labyrinth Evangelist!
(Don't worry. No desk pounding or Bible thumping here. That comes later. Ha ha.)

Let me show you the cool stuff I found.
First this!

Flickr photo by MomLes
Guess where they found the oldest sketch of a labyrinth? On the back of a goat delivery/inventory tablet in southern Greece!
I wonder what's on the back of their grocery lists?

There are plenty of types of labyrinths, some more complicated than others.

But they all have one entrance point and lead you on a meandering path to the center.
Unlike mazes there are no tricks and no dead ends, nothing to stop you or get in your way.
You can pray silently as you walk, or just listen to the birds.

Did you know that labyrinths are popping up everywhere, even at public schools and businesses? People find that walking them brings them peace. I think it's the God connection.

There are all kinds out there.
Ones made of sticks.

Flickr photo by jonnybaker

Or lavender. Imagine that sweet smell!

Flickr photo by Call me Koko

Here's one in Derbyshire, UK.

Flickr photo by zoreil

And another at Land's End in San Francisco.

Flickr photo by SFHandyman

Apparently even dogs enjoy labyrinths.

Flickr photo by tortuga del desierto

You can even build a labyrinth in your backyard.

Flickr photo by N. J.
What? You have no backyard? How about this finger labyrinth I found HERE at etsy? Just trace your pointer around the path.

Photo by GoldenLightCeramics
I read about classrooms in which teachers gave school kids finger labyrinths to use at their desks whenever they felt anxious. Don't laugh! Have you tried walking a labyrinth? I bet it would calm me down before a test!

So, would you like to hear the rest of the story?
Our fourth graders LOVED the labyrinth. We walked it, joyously (ten year olds are joyous any time they get to go outside!) and when we came back to the classroom and asked them to reflect, they blew us away with their wisdom.
A few quotes:
How is a labyrinth like life?

"Life can be tough. You have to keep going, and you will find your way."
"Sometimes you think you're lost but you're not really because God is always with you. Nobody or nothing can stop you from going to God."
"Nobody can stop you from being happy." "Only you can stop yourself."

How this gives me hope!
Maybe that's why I like this.

Photo by
Find it HERE.

Have a wonder-full Wednesday, y'all!
Enjoy the bird's eye view of some labyrinth walkers.
Peace to you!

Love, Becky


TattingChic said...

"...even dogs enjoy labyrinths". LOL! Good one, Becky! They are fascinating. Wouldn't it be fun to have a yard big enough to have one of lavendar...or kitchen herbs...YUM! :)

JaxPop said...

I hope Deb doesn't see this post or she'll want the brick pavers in the courtyard out back changed to one of these labrynth doohickies. She's already determined to "add more color" to the planting beds in a few weeks. Why are WIMMIN gettin' so artsy lately??? I'll be walkin' bent over like a Chimp soon.

Suzie said...

I love them I even love the movie

a Tonggu Momma said...

For some reason, my thoughts keep flashing back to the mid-eighties. David Bowie, I wish I could say I miss you, but...

Bobbie said...

A lavender labyrinth? Heaven right there. I don't think I'd even bother trying to get to the center or back out again. I'd lie down and never want to leave. My 3-year-old is fascinated by mazes and labyrinths. They're one of the few things that can settle him down for more than a few minutes, as he sits on my lap and traces his finger along the path.

ForCryingOutLoud said...

I LOVE this, Becky! I've always been intrigued by labyrinths! I'll have to check the one out at your church next time I'm down there!

I really like the lavender labyrinth, and the backyard brick one. Hey...inspiration for a brick labyrinth with lavender dividers...hmm!?

Thanks for this...I'll pretending I'm "walking the labyrinth" on my 3 hour drive to work today! - Liz

rochambeau said...

Great Post Becky!!!
Do you know Lea???
She created the Santa Rosa Labyrinth!!
If now I hope you will enjoy meeting her!!


EllenP said...

I never knew the difference between a labyrinth and a maze - how interesting. I love the lavender one and I am picturing myself in it right now. Ahhhh...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That is so cool. I do love them, too. I am inspired now to add one to my back 40...

adrienne said...

I loved this post! Even watching the people walk that labyrinth is mesmerizing. I couldn't help thinking the lavender one would be buzzing with bees...

The Things We Carried said...

I love the bricks, and sticks and flowers. I may need to add one of these beauties to my garden. Lovely!

Much better than my memeory of the labyrinth in The Shining!

May Vanderbilt said...

In San Francisco, we are labyrinth crazy! My church has two alone and I loooooove them.

In fact, my favorite picture from our wedding was one taken of me in secret while I strolled the labyrinth. I was on the phone with a vendor who was running late, trying to stay calm. HA!

lotusgirl said...

I love the lavender labyrinth. Have you ever played the game?

Kat said...

Oooo. Very cool.

Remember the movie Labyrinth from the early 80's? I used to LOVE that movie. I don't know why. ;)

The Things We Carried said...

Thank you for your encouraging words about my writing to my blog!

Renee said...

This was super dreamy. I want to walk one now.

I love the kids answers. So innocent.


Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, I loved this post! Our church just finished a labyrinth a couple years ago, and I originally thought the same thing as you! Amazing responses from your Sunday Schoolers ... wow! And, I LOVED the lavendar labyrinth! I'll take one of those!

Draffin Bears said...

Lovely post Becky.

Loved the lavender and brick Labyrinth in the back yard.

Have a happy Wednesday.


Stacy Nyikos said...

What a cool post. I didn't know that about labyrinths. Now I'm going to have to try to walk one.

Felicia said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post :)

Anonymous said...

i had fun visiting our labyrinth at church last weekend! i loved this post, especially the lavender labyrinth.

Felicity said...

This is the second labyrinth post I've read in as many days! Do you suppose God is speaking? : ) I first read about them about a year ago and was intrigued, like you with some reservations. I'm a good Protestant after all! But now I can't wait to visit one - or make one! Great post.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Becky, I love the way you explore ideas...
You are so much fun!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Love this so much. Such a great word, too.

sa said...