September 19, 2013

Guidelines for Walking a Labyrinth

By Margaret Rappaport

After considering the unique American labyrinth in which people ride, perhaps it’s a good idea to look at some guidelines for walking a labyrinth. Don’t think, first of all, that there is a right way or a wrong way. There are guidelines not requirements and the only purpose in following those is that one wants to walk the labyrinth. People need not walk perfectly, nor are they expected to perform in exact ways. To walk freely is the point and the first guideline.

The patterns that make a labyrinth require that people do what comes naturally when they meet in the labyrinth. They step aside or around each other with or without acknowledgement. This casualness comes easily to most people because it mimics walking on trails or on roads and sidewalks. When people know each other and are walking together they greet each other in whatever way seems appropriate at the time. People are always allowed to be alone on their walks. Therefore, spontaneity is the second guideline.

Walking the labyrinth is self paced, not prescribed by others or dictated by the forms and shapes of the patterns. Walkers follow the pace that suits their own inward and outward needs. Some people walk very slowly, even stop at various points. Others prefer dance-like movements through different parts of the labyrinth. At various ages, people often show distinct styles of movement during a walk. The third guideline is to be ourselves. Following a personal flow enhances the experience of metaphor and imagination.

Think of the labyrinth as a tool to help people nurture the spirit, the body and the mind. All of us know instinctively how to use the tool. No need for self-conscious poses and attitudes. Just go for the walk and be encouraged.

Walking forward,

Margaret Rappaport
September 19, 2013