Movement: Finding Peace in the Labyrinth

Movement: Finding Peace in the Labyrinth

Labyrinth Art

By Pam Knepper, Communications Director, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland

You don’t have to watch TV or scan social media for too long to know we live in a divided and unpeaceful world. Gun violence, nuclear weapons, sexual discrimination, you name it, these are just a handful of the realities plaguing our world. To help deal with these issues, more and more people are walking labyrinths to help them connect their psyche with their soul, provide clarity, vision, focus, healing, discernment, peace, and many times, spiritual insight.

Trinity Cathedral, who had an inlaid Chartres-style labyrinth installed almost 20 years ago, knows firsthand the impact a labyrinth can have on an individual, a community, and the world. “We have ministered to thousands of people who have walked our labyrinth,” says Ann Schneider, a member of Trinity’s Labyrinth Guild. “They have come from all walks of life, from both inside and outside the church.”

As a member of Labyrinth Network Northwest and The Labyrinth Society, Trinity is associated with communities not only in the Pacific Northwest, but all over the world. “We are connected with people interested in the labyrinth as a tool for meditation, creativity, healing, and as a path of peace for people of all faiths, nationalities, ethnicities, and spiritual practices,” explains Ann.

As part of this connectivity, Trinity has participated for the last three years in World Labyrinth Day. Created ten years ago by The Labyrinth Society, this year the event occurred on May 5 locally at Trinity and at locations around the world, as people were invited to cross mental borders in a shared symbolic walk for peace.

“This year, Trinity was among a number of churches offering the opportunity for the public to take time to reflect on peace and healing in our world,” says Ann. “Around the world, in each time zone, people of all faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds were invited to walk at 1:00 p.m. as ONE.”

The walk at Trinity also included both an opening and closing ritual performed by Spiritual Dance instructor Jane Rickenbaugh, who led with movement, music and poetry. People were invited to peruse peace prayers or create their own, visit “continent” tables where to record their own concerns or hopes for the world, and to light a candle at the altar for a part of the world, a person, community, or whatever was on your heart. As participants left the walk, each was given a world glass marble as a remembrance for the day and as a reminder of the collective desire for reconciliation, creative resolutions for conflict, and finding paths of peace.

“World Labyrinth Day is for everyone and, like the labyrinth itself, is an opportunity to develop tolerance and compassion for others from different walks of life,” explained Lars Howlett, Event Coordinator for The Labyrinth Society. “As governments and armies seem to further polarize world peoples, the labyrinth has been a bridge between cultures throughout history.”

The Trinity Labyrinth Guild also offers monthly public walks, special events, and workshops. The work of the Guild is both a contemplative ministry and a form of outreach. “Regular labyrinth walks can appeal to any person of any tradition who is seeking to find a sacred, quiet place to walk reflectively. It is a journey, a pilgrimage, a walking meditation, and a path of prayer. It speaks to the faith traditions of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists, or to anyone seeking a spiritual path towards the Divine,” explains Ann. “The Trinity Labyrinth Guild is reaching out to our neighbors, the ecumenical community, the Diocese, and to other faith communities with a message that all are welcome. Walking the labyrinth is all about trusting that this is one way of finding the still voice, the inner guide, the light, the divine spark of the Spirit of God, and to listen and respond.”

For more information about Trinity’s Labyrinth Guild, visit trinity-episcopal.org.

 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of In Conversation, the semi-annual magazine from the Diocese of Oregon. Click here to read more stories from In Conversation online.

Posted in