Looking at Spiritual Labyrinths

The spiritual practice of pilgrimage is very important in the Christian life, even though it’s usually only practiced in more liturgical churches (specifically Catholic and Episcopalian). It provides Christians with a way to get out of their current environment, to become more devoted to Christ and to help them seek out God in a way that is truly “away” from the world.

That’s where labyrinths can come in. Many churches overseas have labyrinths as a part of what they have available for meditation, but in the United States, they are not very common at all. It can be difficult to find this experience. But, what is a labyrinth and why would it even matter that you would want to use one in that context?

Historically, physical labyrinths were used as a substitute for pilgrimages during the Crusades. It was unsafe for Christians to go to the Holy Land, and these labyrinths would be “places away from the world” where Christians could pray and seek out the Lord as they worked their way through the maze.  These are not difficult mazes – instead, they are just meant to be hidden away and are supposed to take a while to get through.

The time within the labyrinth is meant to imitate the spiritual pilgrimage that we are all on, every single day, but in a safe place away from the worries and distractions of the world that they have to face every day. For those people who are looking to go deeper into their faith and the life that they want to live, the time in the labyrinth could also be a time of refreshing and recalling their journey so that they can be encouraged to go deeper within that journey.