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LABYRINTH GUILD

See also Spiritual Practices: Labyrinth

Read the San Jose Mercury News article about our labyrinth.

Labyrinth at First UnitarianThe labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in many religious traditions in various forms around the world. Our labyrinth is a seven-circuit adaptation of the 11-circuit labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral around 1220. This labyrinth has only one path that leads to and from the center. There are no tricks and no choices to make. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for our lives. It touches our sorrows and releases our joys, so walk it with an open mind and an open heart.

There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth as long as the desire to walk it is consciously chosen.

Labyrinth walking is not a perfectionist act; it is often necessary to step outside the lines. Whatever happens during the spiritual exercise of labyrinth walking can be used as a metaphor for our spiritual lives. It is important to understand before entering the labyrinth that it is a two-way street. When one person is going into the center and another is exiting from the center, they will meet somewhere on the winding path. When meeting people on the path, do what comes naturally. Sometimes people hug or smile. If someone is inwardly focused, they keep their eyes lowered and continue on their way. It is all up to the individual.

A second guideline is the importance of finding and honoring your own pace which may change throughout the three stages of the walk. The walker is to follow the pace his or her body wants to go, not the pace the mind may think he or she should go. In order to honor their pace, participants need permission to move around one another is key to discovering and staying with one's own flow.

Some people may want to meditate within the labyrs, the area at the turns in the path. Others may want to stop and sit on the path. People should be thoughtful of one another and let those behind them by before they sit. It is important to note that there is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. It is a tool to be used unselfconsciously to nurture ourselves spiritually.

We request that you remove your shoes to honor this sacred space and help preserve it. However, if you need shoes for support ,please leave them on.

Guidelines for the walk:

  • Clear your mind and become aware of your breath.
  • Release the details of your life. Empty the mind; let it become quiet.
  • Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. You may "pass" people or let others step around you at the turns. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. When you meet someone coming the other way, do whatever feels natural.
  • The center is a place for meditation and prayer.
  • Stay as long as you like.
  • Receive what is there for you to receive.

Join the Great Mystery, God, your Higher Power, the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul is reaching for.

The Labyrinth Guild provides information on the Labyrinth at the First Unitarian Church of San José. Members also help those who walk the Labyrinth have the best possible experience. The Labyrinth is currently open during the lunch hour Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.. For more information about the Labyrinth Guild, contact the church .

View the San José Mercury News article of January 9, 1999 on the First Unitarian Church of San José Labyrinth.  

For more information on the World Wide Labyrinth Project or to locate a labyrinth near you, visit Veriditas.

A labyrinth may be many things to many people, and yet, not be the same experience for the same person at a different time.

The journey through a labyrinth helps us to focus on our faith, understand the contradictions we endure, and love ourselves and others whom we may overlook within our "warp factor" society.

Although primarily a tool derived from the Christian faith, this is a path for anyone to use to help develop ourselves and our relationships with our creator, family, friends, associates, and acquaintances.

All of nature is built upon subtle, but absolutely critical patterns. From our own DNA chains, to the migration patterns of wildlife, we exist within patterns.

The labyrinth is, in essence, a simple pattern that encourages tranquility, understanding, peace, and love.

When walking through a labyrinth, we reach within ourselves and find the essence of our creation.

A simple pattern, but critical to our being.

- J.W. Brown