Memorial Labyrinths and Prayer Labyrinths

by HealthfulMD

Memorial Labyrinths are a way of commemorating the life and honoring the memory of someone who has died. Prayer labyrinths can be used as a place to connect and to remember.

The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress introduced the use of the labyrinth as a spiritual practice. A labyrinth is a twisting, turning path that has a beginning, a middle and an end. This archetype symbol serves as a meaningful metaphor for a life's journey from the beginning to the end.

Labyrinths are commonly used as a meditation tool to calm and quite the mind. They are also used for healing the body and healing the mind after a loss or a death. As a healing tool, memorial labyrinths have been used as ways to honor and remember.

Remembering and Reflecting

From Spaceamoeba
Labyrinth at Night
Labyrinth at Night

Labyrinths Help with the Grieving Process

 

I knew something good could come out of such pain.

The new labyrinth will provide a point of focus to help people collect their thoughts

during the grieving process.

 

 

Linda Matney    

Labyrinth Donor. Founder of the Jack and Linda Matney Family Foundation    

 

Vote - Have you walked a Memorial Labyrinth, or walked a labyrinth in memory of someone?

Different Paths for Using the Labyrinth

In her book, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool, Dr. Artress describes four different paths for using the labyrinth.

Each different path the labyrinth walker utilizes a different meditation focuses:

  • The Path of Image: Follow whatever memories, dreams or images that come to mind or the imagination brings forth. 
  • The Path of Silence: Open the mind and heart by emptying the agitation of the outer world, allowing the walker to move into the present moment and become more centered. 
  • The Path of Prayer: Recite a traditional or original prayer, scripture, verse or line of poetry. This pattern can be repeated several times. It may or may not be rhythmic.
  • The Path of Questioning: Pose a question and seek an answer upon entering the labyrinth. The process of walking allows one to explore and become aware of possible solutions. 

Sources: Artress, Lauren. Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool. Riverhead Books, 1995.

More on the Benefits of Walking Labyrinths

Nature Awareness as a Therapeutic Modality: Part 2: Coping with Loss using Nature
By blending visual symbolism with the process of walking, labyrinths create a walking meditation that can be used to enhance awareness, reduce stress, quiet the mind and open the heart.

Nature Therapy - Walking in Nature
In the past 10 years there has been an increased interest in Labyrinths. These archetypes are being used as a spiritual tool, or a healing modality in a variety of settings from churches and schools to hospitals and prisons.

Memorial Labyrinth

From Widosu
Boston College Memorial Labyrinth
Boston College Memorial Labyrinth

A Place of Healing, Consolation and Peace

 

May this labyrinth,

influenced by the faith of medieval pilgrims,

built in loving memory,

dedicated today in prayer and community,

forever be a place of healing, consolation, and peace.

 

William P. Leahy, President Boston College    

September 11, 2003    

 

Dedicating the Memorial Labyrinth

Boston College

On September 11, 2003 William P. Leahy, President of Boston College dedicated the Memorial Labyrinth in memory of the 22 Boston College alumni who died on September 22, 2002 as an eternal memorial labyrinth.

The labyrinth chosen for their memorial was a copy of the 13th-century labyrinth from the Chartres Cathedral in France. The labyrinth provides walkers with an opportunity for meditation and mindful walking. The meandering labyrinth path is viewed by many as a symbol of the journey of life and as a path of truth through the maze of choices that the world presents.

The ceremony was a time to "remember, to pray, and to be a sign of support for all those who still grieve" and a time to bless the memorial place as an "everlasting place of prayer."

9/11 Memorial Labyrinth

Located behind the Burns Library, Corner of Commonwealth Avenue and College Road

A Place of Healing and Enlightenment

 

Not only is the labyrinth a place of healing and makes one feel enlightened, but the memorial plants bring it alive with beauty and spirit.

When I go to the labyrinth, I feel the spirit of God.

But with the memorial plants, others' spirits will live on, too.


Rahven Kemper    

Northglenn United Church of Christ, Church member     

More about the Boston College Memorial Labyrinth

Memorial Labyrinth
On September 11, 2003, a memorial labyrinth was dedicated to the 22 Boston College alumni lost in the 9/11 tragedy. This labyrinth is a copy of the 13th-century labyrinth laid in stone on the floor of the nave of Chartres Cathedral.

9/11 Memorial Labyrinth at Boston College
Photograph of the Memorial Labyrinth on Flickr.

Memorial Labyrinth for 9/11 Victims Dedicated
Dedicating a memorial labyrinth as "a place of healing, consolation and peace," Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ, last Thursday permanently honored the 22 University alumni who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The names of the 22 deceased alumni are etched into the outer ring of the 50-foot wide labyrinth, a medieval prayer circle of concentric rings forming a single path to the center.

Boston College 9/11 Memorial Labyrinth (Chestnut Hill)
On September 11, 2003, a memorial labyrinth was dedicated to the 22 Boston College alumni lost in the 9/11 tragedy.

A Tour of the Labyrinth and Memorial Garden

Church of Our Redeemer Labyrinth and Memorial Garden in Lexington

More about the Labyrinth and Memorial Garden

Our Labyrinth and Memorial Garden
The Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, MA created their own labyrinth and memorial garden that is open to the public 24 hours a day.

Labyrinth in Toronto

From Bluelemur
Labyrinth in the Centre of Toronto
Labyrinth in the Centre of Toronto

More Memorial Labyrinths

Memorial Labyrinth
A considerable percentage of the labyrinths that we build are memorials. While a memorial suggests the departure of a loved one, which can be sad, the labyrinth itself is a wonderful symbol of birth and rebirth from the Labyrinth Project.

Melvin M. Swig Interfaith Memorial Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral
Atop Nob Hill, surrounded by some of the priciest property in town, a space has been set aside for reflection and meditation. Just to the right of the entrance to Grace Cathedral, up a flight of stairs above the street, a circular labyrinth on the ground serves as a path, a resting place, and an art installation.

The Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth
We all felt that a Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth would be a splendid commemoration for Manitoba's beloved citizen and writer

Adrienne McMillan Burns Memorial Labyrinth
Adrienne McMillan Burns Memorial Labyrinth. Given in loving memory of Adrienne McMillan Burns '88, who found peace, love, strength and solace on its path. We invite you to walk along this path as an inward and outward journey for self-reflection and spiritual renewal

David A. Dimeo Memorial Labyrinth
This Labyrinth was built in Henrietta NY in memory of David A. Dimeo: a loving husband, devoted father, loyal friend, teacher, engineer, scout leader, mentor, and a lover of nature. This labyrinth hopes to capture the multiple facets of his life; the geometry of engineering, the beauty of nature, and the inspiring nature of his leadership.

Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth
Through a partnership with Presbyterian Hospice & Palliative Care, the Jack and Linda Matney Foundation established a fund to construct a labyrinth within Presbyterian Hospital. Now open in Presbyterian Hospital's center courtyard, the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth offers a place of peace, solace and comfort to patients, families, visitors and staff.

The Memorial Labyrinth
Northglenn United Church of Christ has begun the installation of a memorial garden on their grounds located at 105th and Grant. Volunteers have planted approximately 25 perennials in the garden so far with plans for another 75 perennials to be planted in 2008.

Living Memorial Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth
Upon the Northwest Slope of Mount Shasta Off Hwy 97, Siskiyou Co., Northern California in a small forest of trees, a living tribute, to many fallen considering war, and the effects of war a place for reflection & remembrance a place for healing & reconciliation.

David’s Labyrinth at Clarian Hospital North - Flickr Set
A labyrinth created in September, 2009, in Indianapolis, Indiana. This labyrinth is a memorial to a remarkable young man, David Zoll.

Memorial Labyrinths on YouTube

Experience Different Memorial Labyrinths

Other Uses of a Labyrinth

Labyrinths are used for many different reasons. They are used to

  • As a walking meditation tool
  • Calm the mind
  • Reduce stress
  • Restore balance
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Discover insights
  • Integrate the mind, body and spirit
  • Improve health and wellness
  • Remember and honor

Portable Labyrinths

Chartres Hand Held Pewter Labyrinth
Labyrinth Healing Supplies
Only $38.95
The Sand Labyrinth Kit: Meditation at...
Journey Editions
$44.95  $24.86
Labyrinth Chartres Charm FCAB
Earth Solutions
$70.00  $24.00

The Sacred Path

Labyrinth Poem by Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS

An excerpt from my poem, "The Sacred Walk"

Step by step,

each turn and twist

I progress to the center,

closer to finding my truth.

Steady on the path

to dreams, to healing, and to answers.

Cleansing the mind.

Mending the spirit.

Healing the soul.

 

At the heart of this labyrinth-- a quiet solitude

A tranquil place to stay, to escape

A respite from the turmoil of the outside world

A place of rest and peace, of renewal.

Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS     

 

This poem was inspired after walking the Labyrinth at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in the Summer 1997. I did not know at that time, that part of my path would be creating a healing place in cyberspace with the Journey of Hearts website.

Twists and Turns of a Labyrinth Path on Flickr

From lecates
labyrinth
labyrinth
starting somewhere
starting somewhere
road ahead
road ahead
quiet corner
quiet corner

Prayer Labyrinth - White Chapel

From QuesterMark
White's Chapel Prayer Labyrinth
White's Chapel Prayer Labyrinth

Prayer Labyrinths on Wikipedia

A prayer labyrinth, also known as a meditation labyrinth, is a labyrinth used for prayer, ritual, initiation, and spiritual growth.

Using a Prayer Labyrinth

Dr. Artress has discovered in her work with the labyrinth that it can be used as a healing tool to allow labyrinth walkers to find a place of stillness, the place where psyche and spirit can come together.

For many people this place of stillness, the place there the boundaries between mind, body and spirit disappear is the place where people find their connection with a higher force, their God.

The stillness found in the labyrinth allows users to integrate their psyche with spirit and find a place where they can speak with and hear their God.

Some walkers use traditional prayers, others recite a scripture or verse or a line of poetry. Still others may use an original prayer, or use the experience as a time to dialogue with their higher force or God.

Prayer labyrinths can also be used as a place to remember to reflect and connect with a loved one who has died.

Simple Labyrinth Prayer

To be said before entering the labyrinth:

Be with me in my walking.

Be with me in my listening.

Open my heart, mind and body to receive.

 

J.K. H. Geoffrion, E.C. Nagel

The Labyrinth and the Enneagram

More Prayers for Walking the Labyrinth

Labyrinth Prayers
Different Labyrinth Prayers from the High River United Church.

A Prayer Labyrinth: "Stations of the Cross"
A prayer of the Stations of the Cross that can be used with a labyrinth from beliefnet.

Walking the Labyrinth – Walking Prayers
A labyrinth is a complex path that doubles back upon itself, leading to a center in a way that is not obvious. There is a tradition in the Christian church of walking this path while praying. The labyrinth can be thought of as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or a symbol of the Christian spiritual journey, which is always seeking God.

We Explore Prayer as We Walk the Labyrinth
As we begin our adult relationships with God through prayer, walking the labyrinth can introduce us to another type of prayer - prayer in motion, instead of prayer in absolute stillness. Walking the labyrinth is also an excellent way to begin longer forms of prayer: the walk itself takes from 30 to 45 minutes, a longer time period than most of our students have spent in prayer.

News Articles on Memorial Walking Labyrinths

CapitalGazette.comMy Time: Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church to dedicate labyrinthCapitalGazette.comWorkshops on the history, purpose and benefits of labyrinth walkin...
SILive.comHoliday Events 2016: Concerts, Christmas lights, Santa workshops (updates)SILive.comStarting at 10 a.m, Staten Islanders will line up to run, or walk, around...
Monroe News StarAIDS, HIV more preventable now than everMonroe News StarGO CARE will have a luminary memorial service for the 718 people in northeastern Louisiana who ...
Boulder Daily CameraTransgender community, allies mourn those killed this year at Longmont vigilBoulder Daily CameraThose at the vigil also had the opportunity to refl...

More on Experiencing a Labyrinth

The ancient labyrinths are finding their ways into modern society as sacred, healing symbols. One can experience the calming, healing effects by walking or with finger labyrinths.
Updated: 06/11/2011, HealthfulMD
 
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