The Springdale Labyrinth is designed after the Chartres, 11-circuit labyrinth found in the stone floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France.
The Springdale Labyrinth is currently open for use by the general public free of charge.
What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a winding path, with no dead-ends or blind alleys. A labyrinth has only one spiral-designed path; the way in is the way out.
All labyrinths share the basic features of an entrance or mouth, a single circuitous path and a center or goal. Labyrinths are found in many cultures dating back as much as 3500 years. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that the church in the Middle Ages used to help people make symbolic journeys of faith.
Medieval Christians visited Chartres (and other cathedrals) and walked the labyrinth as an alternative to taking the hazardous pilgrimage to Jerusalem to walk in the “footsteps of Christ.” Modern “pilgrims” walk the labyrinthine path as one of many tools to enhance prayer, contemplation, meditation and/or personal growth.
Walking the Labyrinth
There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. You only have to enter and follow the path.
Adults are often serious in the labyrinth, while children most often run in and out as fast as they can in a playful manner.
When you walk a labyrinth choose your attitude. Make it serious, prayerful or playful. Play music or sing. Pray out loud. Walk alone or with a crowd. Notice the sky. Listen to the sounds. Most of all: pay attention to your experience!
Here is one popular way to walk the labyrinth:
- Entering: During this stage you walk the path toward the center, and should try to acquire a relaxed, peaceful state, temporarily release concerns and quiet the mind.
- Illumination: The time in the center. This is a time of openness and peacefulness: experience, learn or receive what this unique moment offers. Take your time.
- Union: The journey outward. You choose when to leave the center, following the same path. This is a time to review and consider what occurred in the center and how it may be applied in your life.
Other approaches to the walk may include:
- Intentional walks: where you address a specific intention, issue or concern as you walk.
- Intercessory walks: offer prayer for people or needs. Perhaps praying for a different person at each turn on the path.
- Meditative walks: meditate on a specific word or passage, or pray repetitively, such as the Jesus prayer (Lord have mercy…) or the universal prayer for world peace. (Let peace prevail on Earth!)
Of course these are only guidelines, don’t be limited by them, feel free to be creative and walk the labyrinth uniquely based on your needs.
The Springdale Labyrinth was made possible by Springdale Lutheran Church and its members. The bench, picnic table, sign post and rocks in the center lobes were part of an Eagle Scout project done by Daniel Heindl and Troop 62 in May of 2009. We hope that you enjoy walking the labyrinth and will come back often!
If you wish to contribute to the upkeep and improvement of the labyrinth, a tax deductible donation can be made thru Springdale Lutheran Church, 2752 Town Hall Road Mount Horeb WI 53572. Please make checks payable to Springdale Lutheran Church and write “Labyrinth” on the memo line.
Please feel free to contact the church office if you have any questions regarding the labyrinth.
Virtual Labyrinth Walk
One of the most famous labyrinths, and that which Springdale’s is based upon, can be found in Chartres Cathedral in France. During the middle ages, pilgrims walked the labyrinths as part of their spiritual journey.
I invite you to play your favorite relaxing music during the “walk” and open to the healing and peace the labyrinth offers. You can push the Stop button at any time during your walk… and Restart to continue.
Approximate time: 20 minutes
Now that you see how it works, come visit the real thing, and walk the full-size labyrinth behind our Springdale Campus!