Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has one way in and one way out, without false starts or dead ends. Its curving path symbolizes the journey through life, where twists and turns are inevitable. Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, a modern labyrinth pioneer, says there are three stages to walking a labyrinth.
First, the walk to the center of the labyrinth is called purgation. During this time you let go of distractions and quiet the mind.
Next is illumination. When you reach the center you can stay as long as you need to, receiving clarity and peace.
Finally, as you follow the same path out of the laby_rinth, you join the healing forces of the world. This stage is called union.
When walking the labyrinth and you find yourself getting near the center, it’s like life when you think you have things figured out, says Linda Nowlin of Salt Lake City, a trained labyrinth coordinator. But unexpected things happen, represented by the labyrinth twisting you away from the center.
Nowlin and Paul Heath worked with the community to install the Jordan River Peace Labyrinth in Salt Lake City. Nowlin says walking the Grace Cathedral labyrinth had been one of her most transformative experiences. “It made me a little uncomfortable,” she says. “I call myself high-strung. For me, uncomfortable is interesting.”
Tim McInnis, assistant dean of development and alumni relations in the Humanities department at the University of Utah, notes that labyrinths are springing up in Utah. McInnis notes. He suggests that somehing may be “shifting.”
– Heather Williams
The Jordan River Peace Labyrinth, located at 1551 S. 1125 West (Riverside Drive), is an 11-circuit pattern, like that at Chartres Cathedral. The bricks, Heath said, were donated by “Touched By an Angel,” after an episode about labyrinths.