What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a singular curving path leading to a center. Labyrinths are an ancient feature that dates back 4,000 years (possibly more). They are used symbolically, most commonly as a walking meditation. Sometimes they are used for choreographed dances or places for rituals and ceremonies.
In Greek mythology, a Labyrinth was an elaborate, confusing structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. The function of the labyrinth was to hold the Minotaur, the monster eventually killed by the hero Theseus.
Labyrinths appear in many churches. One of the most famous is in the Chartres Cathedral near Paris France. The labyrinth in Chartres was built around the year 1200. In churches, the labyrinth sometimes represents a symbolic pilgrimage or repentance.
The difference between a labyrinth and a maze in modern times is that there are no wrong turns in a labyrinth, only a single winding path to the center. Most labyrinths are created as a flat pattern on the ground that is easy to follow whereas a maze usually has a high hedge so you can’t see where you are going.
Today Labyrinths are used as a tool for personal, psychological, and spiritual transformation, and they are thought to enhance right-brain activity. Further, Labyrinths evoke metaphors, usage of sacred geometry, focused spiritual pilgrimage, religious practice, mindfulness, environmental art, and community building. Some people simply walk a labyrinth to relax or have fun.
How to Walk a Labyrinth
While there is no formal way to walk a labyrinth, the basic advice is to enter the labyrinth slowly, clearing and calming your mind. Some people will do this by repeating prayer or chant.
You want to open your senses and focus on taking slow and intentional steps, leading to the center of the labyrinth. When you reach the center of the labyrinth you may choose to pause and reflect, perhaps pray or even listen to the universe for deeper revelations.
Then to return, you retrace your steps while reflecting or praying. When you exit, you will want to absorb the energy with continued reflection, prayer, or journaling.
About Our Labyrinth
The labyrinth at Falling Water Gardens is a large 7 circuit, classic, left winding labyrinth. We dug the labyrinth down into the earth about 4’ below the existing grade to provide privacy while walking the path. The labyrinth is aligned with the earth’s poles. Approximately 76 tons of granite were installed to create the walls holding the soil back. 1100 feet of path was laid down.
At the center of the labyrinth is a water feature composed of small basalt columns and water geysers. Eventually, the basalt columns will be engraved with the names of our relatives who have passed before us as a memorial to them. Within the labyrinth area, we have installed benches to relax and enjoy the space. The plant material surrounding the labyrinth has been chosen to provide scent and enhance the experience of the walk. Carnation with the scent of clove, Rosemary, Lavender, and Thyme are some of the plants used in the design.
We encourage you to visit our labyrinth during our normal operating hours. Relax, de-stress, meditate or just get your steps in!
Please check our current hours at www.FallingWaterGardens.com as they change seasonally.
If you’re making a special trip to enjoy the labyrinth we encourage you to call ahead during the spring and summer because when an event is scheduled the labyrinth will not be available. In the fall and winter the labyrinth is always available during our normal operating hours because we do not schedule events.