Kincardine Labyrinth
Peace
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Enter Here With Peace In Your Heart

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History of Labyrinths

Much of the information on this page is courtesy of
'Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses'
by Sig Lonegren at
Mid-Atlantic Geomancy
A highly recommended book and website.



 
Drawing of a mosaic tile labyrinth built into the floor of the cathedral at Chartres, FranceThe earliest recognizable labyrinth dates back some five thousand or so years.  Small ones called finger labyrinths are found in neolithic caves and as pictoglyphs on 'sacred' rocks.  The larger labyrinths, those which can be walked, seem  to have emerged during the Classical times of the ancient world. The great labyrinth at Knossos, Crete is perhaps the best known of the ancient labyrinths.  Today, one can see where the Minotaur chased Theseus and Ariadne through seemingly endless corridors beneath the huge palace.  Even in ruins,This seven circuit labyrinth is an amazing spectacle.

Perhaps the oldest survivng labyrinth is found in a rock carving at Luzzanas in Sardinia, dating from 2500-2000 BCE.  The earliest surviving labyrinth designs on a ceramic vessel (c. 1300 BCE) were found at Tell Rifa'at, Syria.  Another dated c. 1200 BCE was found at Pylos, Greece.  According to Dr. Lauren Atress (Walking a Sacred Path) the first labyrinth which could actually be walked through was probably constructed by King Amenemhet III around 1800 BCE at Fayum in Egypt.

Today, labyrinths are making an incredible comeback.  There are to be found just about anywhere.  Those who walk the 'sacred' path find an inner peace which is often reflected in the outside world.  The labyrinth can be seen as a metaphor for life.  For example, one woman found that she could not walk the labyrinth without stopping to pick out weeds.  On reflection, she realized that in her life she was so focused on the 'weeds' of everyday life, she was missing the joy of just 'being'. 

To get the most of walking The Labyrinth Peace Garden, we suggest you clear your mind as much as possible of the humdrum of daily life.  Contemplate the steps you are taking as you move through the labyrinth.  Be guided by whatever may come to mind.   In the silence of meditation often the most profund wisdom will present itself.  Often a wonderful sense of peace envlopes the walker.  Whatever comes to you is right.  There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth.  Each trip is as individual as you are.

A simple maze designIt has been asked ... "What is the difference between a maze and a labyrinth?" 

The answer: Labyrinths are unicursal -- that is, they have one well-defined path which leads to the centre and out again.  Unlike a maze, there are no dead-ends, cul-de-sacs, intersecting paths or other tricks.  Some mazes even have multiple entrances and exits.  They challenge our logic, rather than open our inner wisdom.  You could say that the labyrinth experience is right brained while the maze experience is left-brained; female / male; yang / yin.

So it is the unicursal path which sets the labyrinth apart from its cousin the maze, and which is the basis for its use as a spiritual tool.  To quote Lauren Artress, "It invites our intuitive, pattern-seeking, symbolic mind to come forth.  It presents us with only one, but profound, choice.  To enter a labyrinth is to choose to walk a spiritual path.

Become a friend of the Labyrinth

Solivitur ambulando ... It is solved by walking.

                     ... Saint Augustine