After last year's fun we had with Wallace Hartley's version of "Your Labyrinth Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore", I thought that the church had seen the last of this new age travelling spiritual floor show, but no, the roll out labyrinth made its reappearance today. It was greeted by huge crowds of maze walkers as you can tell from the photo above.
Let's face it, the labyrinth is nothing more than patterns on the floor. If we need it to help guide us in prayer, then the church has not been doing a very good job with its worship services and disciple development. In fact, the modern labyrinth movement came out of the mind of a San Francisco priestette by the name of Reverend Lauren Artress whose web page traces the less than Christian principles behind the enterprise.
"Walking the labyrinth is a spiritual exercise. My approach is to offer the labyrinth as a free and save space for personal exploration. There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. Using this guideline, the walker’s inner world becomes transparent to them. Dynamics not ordinarily recognized ---one’s relatioinship to rules, projections of judgment, impatience --- become crystallized into metaphor. The labyrinth is a place where the mind empties and one discovers interior silence. The path of the labyrinth becomes a metaphor for our spiritual lives. It is a safe container with clear boundaries."And it is an enterprise. These temporary labyrinths cost a dizzying 2,900 -3,400 dollars apiece, and you can shell out a few more bucks to buy books on the subject, but why bother when you can read this blog for free!
"Through walking the labyrinth, I teach a process that opens the Divine Imagination. This is based on family systems theory; psychdynamic group work based on the English school of object-relation theory. The work of symbolic fields has a Jungian base, since I am working with archetypes, symbol, shadow and encounters with collective unconscious. Transpersonal theory and methods of change is also woven into my lectures and the designing of each event."
The labyrinth itself predates Christianity and was made famous by the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. The Minotaur supposedly lived in the labyrinth at Knossos on Crete and was killed by the brave young Theseus.
The labyrinth and similar patterns are popular in Wiccan circles as well. Hecate's Wheel is one such symbol used by some traditions of Wicca.
"It seems to be most popular among feminist traditions, and represents the three aspects of the Goddess -- Maiden, Mother and Crone. This labyrinth-like symbol has origins in Greek legend, where Hecate was known as a guardian of the crossroads before she evolved into a goddess of magic and sorcery.According to fragmentary texts of the Chaldean Oracles, Hecate is connected to a maze which spiraled around like a serpent. This maze was known as the Stropholos of Hecate, or Hecate's Wheel, and refers to the power of knowledge and life. Traditionally, a Hecate-style labyrinth has a Y in the middle, rather than the typical X shape found at the center of most labyrinths. Images of Hecate and her wheel have been found on first-century c.e. curse tablets..."Personally, if one prays to God in the name of Christ Jesus, I don't think it matters if you are alone in your closet, with two or three gathered together, walking in circles, or standing on your head, but the labyrinth movement is less about Jesus and more about oneself, and for that reason it should be shunned.
"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee." Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (KJV)