The labyrinth is an archetype of unity and wholeness found in various forms in spiritual traditions around the world. For about 4,000 years seekers have used the labyrinth as a walking meditation or prayer and a path to communion with their God. The intricately winding, unbroken path that leads us to the center of the labyrinth is a metaphor for the spiritual journey of life.
Unlike a maze, the labyrinth has no tricks and no dead ends. There is a single path leading to the center and back out again. The labyrinth journey can be seen as a pilgrimage or quest, its winding path mirroring our lives. We may come to it to seek, to cleanse, to release, to celebrate, to accept, to heal. As we walk, the labyrinth may touch our sorrows, release our joys, and open to the way to healing.
Some guidelines for the walk:
Pause at the entrance to clear your mind and become fully conscious of the act of stepping onto the labyrinth.
Allow yourself to find the pace that feels comfortable to you.
Do whatever comes naturally. If at some point you want to bow your head or lift your hands or make some other ritual gesture, allow yourself to do so.
If you meet others on the path, you may either pass them or let them step around you, whichever is easier.
There are three symbolic phases of the walk:
Release: As you begin to make your way to the center, allow your mid to quiet. This is a time of letting go of the details of life, a time of emptying and of opening to the divine/spirit/God.
Illumination: When you reach the center feel free to sit or stand as long as you like. This is a place of meditation, prayer, and opening to grace. Allow yourself to receive what is there for you to receive.
Return: The walk back from the center might be a time of integration, of bringing back with you and into your life that which you have received. You may have a sense of things falling into place, or a first step being revealed. You may see circumstances in a different way.
How our Labyrinth Came To be & Our Hopes for it
Our labyrinth was built in November of 2018. Kestrel Carlough, a young man who grew up in our Quaker community, decided to build the labyrinth for us as his Eagle Scout Project. Even though the bulk of the work was completed on one Saturday morning, the project took several more months to reach completion.
The labyrinth has been an important tool of prayer and meditation for many in our community. We have always longed to have one readily available to us. When this possibility emerged, we were overjoyed. We recognize the complexity of being a church in a neighborhood. The Christian Church has done incredible harm in the world, and sometimes a church building can symbolize all of that pain and trauma.
It is our deepest hope to provide healing. We want to be a wholesome, and healing presence in the Maplewood neighborhood of SW Portland. We want to make our space more accessible, we want to be a gathering place for conversation, for contemplation, for engagement. Having this labyrinth available to our neighbors is, we hope, just a first step in creating that space for our neighbors. So, please, feel free to come and walk our labyrinth. It is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Have you already walked our labyrinth? Would you like to share your experience with us? We’d love to hear how it is being utilized. Fill out the form below to get in contact with us