"Labyrinth Experiences"
       A Collection of Stories, Impressions 
     & Insights from
Walking a Labyrinth

Sara Reistad-Long quoting Lauren Artress in "O: The Oprah Magazine", Rest Cures, January 2008
   "For anyone not sold on the idea of meditation, walking a labyrinth is another avenue to restfulness, coaxing you into flow as you yield control... 'I came to labyrinths through my own meditative practice,' writes Lauren Artress, an Episcopal priest and psychotherapist largely considered responsible for sparking the movement here when, 16 years ago, she re-created the labyrinth in the cathedral of Chartes, France, in her own parish, at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.  'I could sit still and meditate fine when my life was calm, but once I was under any kind of stress, I needed to feel that I was physically moving forward. The practice presents an exercise in receptiveness,' Artress explains. Describing what you might feel, she says that as you begin to walk within the lines, you start to accept that you're on a path.  Looking around you, seeing others doing the same thing, you think abuot the fact that you're not alone. 'You're all going the same way, and you're all in it together,' she says. Noticing that each person is at a different point on the map, yet everybody is working toward one center, you're surroudned by images of a journey.  From there, you may want to interpret the experience on any level - from a lesson on a particular challenge you're facing to a life metaphor.' 

Marc Champion
award-winning cinematographer, was born and raised in Chartre, France and yet had never walked the world's most famous,  Chartre Labyrinth.  In the fall of 2007, over 40 years later, Marc finally walked the Toronto Public Labyrinth at
Trinity Square, Toronto.  The first words he spoke about it were over the phone to Janine:  "I was with God".   Below is his experience in both English and French.

Chartre Cathedral, France

In English:  "As I came out from the center of the labyrinth I felt as if I was leaving my old life behind, and I was walking out with the beginning of my new life.  The total reality of the event caused me to immediately walk the labyrinth again as though to confirm this truth I had discovered.  I have been meditating daily for 10 years under Zen Buddhist training and guidance.  Since my "labyrinth experience", my meditations have confirmed what happened to me that day as I walk forward into the light."

En Français: "Dès que j'ai commencé a quitter le centre du labyrinth, j'ai ressente l'impression de laisser derrière moi toute ma vie passée et de commencer une nouvelle vie.  Le caractere authentique de ces deux impressions n'a incité a recommencer une deuxiénne marche pour une confirmation.  Je gratique pratique meditation quotidienne depuis 10 ans sous la direction d'un maître Zen.  Et depuis mon experience labyrinth mes méditations ont confirme au me cette intuition d'avoir commencé a marcher vers la lumière."

Janine's "Walks"

"A force, an energy has dominated every labyrinth walk I've ever taken, and there are many. From the second I place my foot onto the sacred space, I'm given no choice,  I must dance!  l leap, sway, twirl, waltz, improvise. But I never  walk. I'm not allowed.. Often I've not been able to take my prayer directly to the heart, the core. I've found myself back at the beginning or circling confused -  turning the labyrinth into a maze -  then finding my way ahead again until I do arrive at my destination. The same has occurred on leaving, on returning from within possessing whatever gift of insight I've been given. Each of us must surrender to our own way of walking. That is how  "it is solved.". Bless yourself with a labyrinth experience and share it with us."

From Cathryn Bauer, submitted through the Labyrinth
submitted January 8/08

I lost my beautiful and much-loved Maine Coon cat, Scrapper, to adenocarcinoma. After rescuing him from a wooded area near our home where he had apparently been dumped, he rewarded us with five years of loyalty and love before he became severely ill. I held him while the vet gently helped him to the Rainbow Bridge before his weakness got worse and his pain began. A day later, I stood at the beginning of the labyrinth and formed the intention: how am I ever going to live without this dear cat? As I began my walk, I found myself thinking, "Is feeling like this something that Scrapper would wish for me?" Of course not. I remembered my dear, cuddly companion with a smile and found myself thinking that what he'd want was happy memories, a warm blanket, and comfort. I had a relaxing evening. And thereafter, instead of grieving, I was able to be thankful for our time together.


Feel free to respond, and offer your own insights into the labyrinth using our CONTACT US page.  Some of your experiences may be featured in "Labyrinth Experiences".  
If you have never walked a labyrinth, why not walk the beautiful outdoor Toronto Labyrinth at Timothy Eaton/Trinity Square in the heart of Toronto (other labyrinths are also featured on this link).  Write your response, send it in, and join all of us who have walked the labyrinth and have insights and experiences to share...