These two messages were posted on a
column inside the grand cathedral:
The Labyrinth Project at Grace Cathedral:
“The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, that served as the
central symbol for pilgrimage throughout the middle Ages. … Christians
made a commitment to travel to the Holy land once during their
lifetimes. When the Crusade swept across Europe and travel became
expensive and dangerous, several pilgrimage cathedrals were designated
to be the pilgrim's destination. Chartres Cathedral was a central place
of pilgrimage and housed one of the largest and most magnificent
labyrinths in the Christian world.
“For the pilgrim, walking the labyrinth was a ritual enactment of life's
journey and served as an entryway into the spiritual life. The goal of
pilgrimage was single: to reach the New Jerusalem, the place of clarity
and union at the center of the labyrinth, where the inward path
re-directs itself outward into the world.
“When we walk the labyrinth, the mysterious winding path becomes a
metaphor for our spiritual journey. It becomes a mirror reflecting the
place where we stand in our lives. We invite you to walk it with an open
mind, and an open heart. By walking the labyrinth, you are rediscovering
a long-forgotten Christian mystical tradition.
“The labyrinth is a mandala
that meets our longing
for a change of heart, for a change of ways in how we live together on
this fragile island home, and for the energy, the vision, and the
courage to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
“The goal of the labyrinth project is to recover the act of Pilgrimage
You are invited to join workshops focused on Co-Creation work and
See also the last part of
Chapter 1 in a Twist of Faith: "Our
Father in Heaven or Our Mother the Earth?"
Natalie Angelier, "A Twisting Walk to Inner Peace on a Painted Purple
Canvas," New York Times, August 29, 1992.
the nave floor [of Grace Cathedral] like a tarpaulin hauled in from a
football field, the 35-foot-wide labyrinth is nothing more than a bright
purple pattern painted on an expanse of bleached canvas, a replica of a
labyrinth built into the stone floor of the Chartres.
“It’s ‘a ceremony that is at once ancient and New Age mysticism called
‘walking the Labyrinth,’ explained Rev. Lauren Artress.
“At Grace, Rev. Lauren Artress, canon pastor of the Episcopal
Cathedral, is trying to revive the ancient tradition as a tool for
encouraging introspection and spiritual transformation, whatever
“The Labyrinth, says Ms Artress, is a profound archetype seen in most
cultures throughout history. The ancient Greeks had the labyrinth at
Minos, whose serpentine corridors on the island of Crete led to the
Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull, the body of a man, and a
bottomless appetite for sacrificial young men and maidens.
“Hindus and Buddhist have the Mandala, a circular design symbolizing the
universe and totality. For medieval Christians, the Labyrinth became a
manageable substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
“Going into the center, a walk is supposed to shed the solipsistic
obsession of everyday life. At the center of the labyrinth, a six-petal
design [lotus?], the pilgrim looks for illumination. "I call it
clarity," Ms Artress says, "You get insight into yourself."
“On the way out from the center, the walker should feel a sense of
communion with the cosmos, God, or some sort of higher, healing power.
[One woman called her experience, "a dance I do with my soul."]
“A permanent stone labyrinth will be built into the cathedral garden….
‘You have to get the mystical figure in the center right,’ says[Rev.
Artress]. ‘Underneath the center is a 13-pointed star. When you lay
that star right, then all the paths are perfectly balanced.’"