How did you spend the summer solstice last month?

I was blessed to spend the day at Kinstone in Fountain City, WI with 100 mind-body-spirit women. There were various experiences, teachings and intention setting throughout the day in an event organized by New World Women. We began serenading the sunrise with violin and Ojibwe drumming and chanting.

My friend Nada Hogan and I offered a teaching and led an experience on walking the labyrinth. I have been fortunate enough to have walked labyrinths all over the world. From many private labyrinths to public spaces in my hometown area of Minneapolis/St Paul to New Orleans Audubon Park to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to Chartres Cathedral in France to Notre Dame in Paris to Amiens in France. Every experience is unique, centering, and powerful.

Here is our summary of guiding participants walking the labyrinth.

Gifts of the Labyrinth: Release, Receive, Return at Kinstone June 21st

Release:

Before walking: Connect to your breath, invite the energy of the earth to rise through your body.

As you begin your labyrinth walking meditation, what is one aspect of your life you want to release?  A grudge, a ruminating thought, a limiting belief, a negative self-talk, inner criticism, someone you want to forgive, argument in your mind, self-sabotaging habits?

Receive:

As you continue walking: Breath and connect to earth. What does it feel like in your body? Where you have released, imagine filling in with the energy of love and frequency of light and presence. What do you want to receive?  Consider New World Women’s six WEALTH Ways: Wisdom, Enjoyment, Abundance, Love, Tranquility, Health. What downloads are you receiving while you are here? Can you take in the love from each other and Mother Earth?

Return:

At the center: When you find yourself in the center of the labyrinth, imagine returning to the center of yourself. Take a deep breath and feel the earth’s energy. Place your hand(s) over the area where you feel your center. Let your mind drop into your body and integrate mind/body/spirit-breath as one unit. Feel your powerful authentic Center Within. 

Want to learn more?

Labyrinths are found all over the world and known as a sacred meditative journey. There is evidence of the existence of the classical labyrinth symbol (the most ancient labyrinth pattern) across southern Europe and North Africa from roughly 2000 BCE. Over time it took the form of rock carvings and paintings, inscriptions on ceramics, tiles, and coins. The same basic design began to appear across Asia, the Americas, and Southern Africa in an assortment of forms including rock carvings, sand games, wall paintings, wooden sculptures, and woven baskets.

Towards the end of the 9th century the classical seven circuit labyrinth pattern was expanded. Four extra circuits were added creating the more complex eleven circuit labyrinth design we know today as the medieval labyrinth. As time went on, breaks or turns in the walls at north, south, east and west points were added to the pattern. Perhaps the most famous of these, the Chartres Labyrinth laid down in 1201, is still intact in the floor of the nave of Chartres Cathedral, France. 

Labyrinths are designed in a pattern that weaves the walker, often called a pilgrim, on a meandering path usually leading to the center contained in a circle. The labyrinth patterns provide a compass for your journey home, back to yourself and your source. The symbol represents a blueprint of both your inner world and the collective inner world. 

Before entering, you are invited to center your mind-body-heart, returning to what can be called beginners mind. You may choose to have an intention or ask a question where you are seeking clarity. You may choose to see this as an initiation to your next stage of development or a new beginning. Imagine you are being invited to walk to your deep center within. As you walk, pay attention to your breath, your feet, what feelings and thoughts arise. Each time you walk expect a different experience.

  • As you mindfully take one step at a time, what do you notice?
  • What are your thoughts, feelings, or body sensations as you move closer to the center then find yourself on the perimeter of the circle?  Or move by other pilgrims on the path?
  • Do you have a new awareness, sense of awe or wonder?
  • When you arrive at the center, what do you notice? What does the center mean to you? 
  • What arises if you have an intention or question you are reflecting upon?

Research shows us this walking meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, supports energy healing, nourishes the body, mind, and heart. Labyrinths have become increasingly popular in healthcare settings like hospitals, outpatient clinics, hospices, and elder care facilities. Mindfully walking the labyrinth facilitates our innate energy healing capacities. 

You can find labyrinths all over the world today. If you are interested in locating them in your area, this website contains information about where to find them: Worldwide labyrinth locator

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