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What is a labyrinth?

A labyrinth is a single, winding path that leads you from the entrance to the centre. It is an ancient universal archetypal pattern that has been found in almost all cultures all over the world. The history of labyrinths dates back more than 5000 years.

There are two archetypal labyrinths, the Classical 7-circuit Labyrinth and the Medieval 11-circuit Labyrinth, and several contemporary labyrinths, of which the Reconciliation Labyrinth (a unique South African design) is an example.

A labyrinth offers one of the oldest contemplative tools known to humankind that is used for personal and spiritual growth. It is a blueprint of transformation. An ancient practice that is used as a way to calm the mind, still the thoughts, get insights, receive guidance, solve problems and set goals. Like Augustine said: "Solvitur ambulando." It is solved by walking.

Labyrinths offer a non-denominational path for self-discovery. It is open to anyone on any spiritual path and from any religious tradition. There is no dogma attached to labyrinths and also no right or wrong way to walk them. They offer neutral ground.

The labyrinth is a riddle
It is the cosmos and the world
The life of human kind, the womb of the earth
The journey, the way to the centre
The way to ourselves…
- Ursa Krattiger Tinga

A labyrinth is a sanctuary; a safe and sacred place in which we can reconnect with ourselves and the world of spirit. When you walk toward the centre of the labyrinth, you symbolically walk toward your personal spiritual centre. And this walk mirrors your journey through life as the labyrinth offers a metaphor for the journey of life. Your journey towards the centre of your deepest true self. You initiate your journey/search from the outside and conclude it in the inside: the solution lies in the middle.

It is a symbolic pilgrimage to still the mind so that the heart can open up and you can return to the world with a deeper and clearer understanding of who you are. Like with all journeys, it begins with a single step.

A labyrinth is different from a maze. A maze has twists and turns and blind alleys and one can get lost in the puzzle that must be solved. In a labyrinth one cannot get lost as the way in is the way out. It does not matter how intricate the labyrinth pattern may be, there is only a single route to the centre. Thus the only choice with a labyrinth is whether to enter or not.

Like Robert Ferré, professional labyrinth builder, said: "It is a powerful and universal spiritual tool that can lead us not only to its centre, but to ourselves and to God."

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