The labyrinth is a walking meditation, a path of prayer and an archetypal blueprint where psyche meets Spirit. It has only one path that leads from the outer edge in a circuitous way to the center. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. Unlike a maze where you lose your way, the labyrinth is a spiritual tool that can help you find your way. (Veriditas.org)
Two archetypal patterns (the oldest being about 4-5,000 years old) have been frequently found and represent the oldest labyrinth patterns that we are aware of:
1) THE 7-CIRCUIT CLASSICAL PATTERN (a circuit is the number of times around the center the pattern takes you) Classical Labyrinth shown to the left.
2) THE 11-CIRCUIT MEDIEVAL CHARTRES PATTERN originated in 120l, being inlaid in stone in the France's Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France. The labyrinth pictured to the left is the oldest example of this kind of labyrinth still being used in a European cathedral. It is inlaid in stone in the nave of the cathedral and is open to walk on Fridays to pilgrims who wish to walk it.
A CONTEMPORARY DESIGN BASED ON THE 7- CIRCUIT CLASSICAL PATTERN IS THE THE WORLD PEACE LABYRINTH.
Itwas developed in cooperation with the inter-faith Chaplains Office of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games. It is an elliptical seven circuit 24’ x 35’ portable labyrinth that was available in the Olympic Village Chapel about 6 hours a day during the 2002 Winter Olympics and the associated Paralympics. Visitors, athletes and staff could walk the labyrinth in preparation, in prayer, in meditation, and for peaceful intent. A central theme of the labyrinth is the Tree of Life - found in many cultures. In the Bible book of Genesis, the tree of life is in the center of the Garden of Eden, and four rivers flow from its roots in four directions.
The original overall design consisted of seven paths in concentric ellipses with proportions set by Sacred Geometric ratios. The lines are painted in Green, Brown & Blue to represent harmony with the Earth. The labyrinth is divided in quadrants, which can represent the four winds or four directions. The material is white, a color representing peace. Symbols of peace taken from many cultures are encountered along the path. A Medicine Wheel, The Peace Crane, a Torch, A Handshake, The Dolphin, A Rainbow, & Dove with Olive Branch. The original World Peace Labyrinth has appeared at other events since the Olympics is available for World Peace Walk firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2014 I helped draw and paint an adaptation of the original World Peace Labyrinth, which is circular instead of elliptical, and the 7 circular focal points are blank, so that art or symbols with particular themes may be used. It is painted in 4 shades of blue and has been featured at clergy renewal retreats, walks of peace and remembrance, in retirement communities, Lenten and memorial services, meditative walks and environmental focused walks. It is pictured above.