Labyrinths go back further in time than anyone can trace, appearing in many different patterns across the world. UUCE’s labyrinth is fashioned after the famous 11-circuit design laid into the floor of the medieval cathedral at Chartres, France.
The Earth-Wisdom Labyrinth is not a maze designed to confuse or frustrate. It is a well-defined path that leads to the center and back out again. The intent of the labyrinth is not to engage rational, problem-solving mind, but rather the intuitive, introspective mind.
Our labyrinth was donated by Neal and Mary Harris of Barrington in the spring of 1997. It is the largest permanent outdoor labyrinth in Illinois, spanning more than 94 feet in diameter, and winding inward for 1/3 a mile, and then outward again for 1/3 a mile. It is made up of more than 165 tons of stone and crushed limestone, and was moved by hand by the congregation from its original location. The labyrinth was dedicated in a ceremony during the Summer Solstice of 1997.
Who is it for?
There are as many reasons for walking the labyrinth as there are people, world views, or spiritual traditions. All are welcome to walk our labyrinth, drawing what meaning from it that speaks to them.
- For those seeking the wisdom of the earth, the sky, and the human heart – you are welcome.
- For those who draw energy from the elements of the earth – may it be an opening to life.
- For those who dance with the Goddess – may Her presence be felt.
- For those who love to meditate in natural surroundings – may it provide quiet in this busy world.
- For those who seek to experience Christ more closely – walk in his footsteps.
- For those children who anticipate the adventure of a path winding inward – may you rejoice as you explore.
- For those who are fascinated by the physics of an echo which has been heard at the center – may it increase your sense of wonder.
- For those who follow Eastern traditions – may it lead to wisdom, compassion, and peace.
- For those who would have nothing to do with the labyrinth – may it remind you that there are numerous spiritual paths.
Guide for a Walk
The labyrinth walk begins and ends on the east side, at the opening in the perimeter.
As you begin your walk, let go of your thoughts as you follow the path.
Allow yourself to find your own pace, without hurry or hesitation. Many who walk the labyrinth like to focus their awareness on their breathing, the sounds of nature, or the feel of their footsteps upon the ground.
When you reach the center, rest for as long as you’d like.
Traveling into the labyrinth can also be a time to travel into yourself, and the center of the labyrinth is a peaceful place for introspection and meditation. There are benches in the center for those who wish to sit and experience the labyrinth for longer.
When you are ready, retrace your path.
The path out of the labyrinth is the same as the path in, but many use this time to reemerge from their inner focus, slowly bringing their energy and attention outward again. When leaving the labyrinth, be mindful of your thoughts and feelings, and carry your experience out into the world.
This Labyrinth is for you. If you choose to use it, may the experience enrich and deepen your life!