Labyrinth at The Anchor House

An ancient archetype for meditation, contemplation, and reflection

The Spiritual Journey & The Labyrinth

The spiritual life has often been described as a journey. But this journey is not to some other distant place or to some other time. It’s really an inward journey to the Center of our own being, where God forever dwells, as well as an outward journey, embodying God’s grace and love to our community and the world. An ancient symbol that beautifully illustrates this inward-outward journey is the labyrinth.

Here at The Center for Christian Spirituality at Chapelwood UMC we seek to companion with those who seek a deepening awareness of God that makes a difference in who they are with God, self, others, and creation. And walking a labyrinth is one practical tool to help us do that. Walking the labyrinth is a way to pray and mediate with your whole being – body, mind, and heart. It quiets the mind, opens the heart, and is a tangible way to “walk humbly with God.”

Unlike a maze, there is only one path to the center and from the center.
And while there are many twists and turns, you can’t get lost. You’re always on the path to God and with God.

Historically, labyrinths have been around for thousands of years and appear across all the continents – carved in caves, illustrated in ancient manuscripts, made with mosaic tiles, and installed in medieval cathedral floors. Over the past several decades, they have come more into the public consciousness, and many new, creative expressions of the labyrinth have developed.

The Anchor House Labyrinth

Here at The Center for Christian Spirituality, we had a vision for a well-used labyrinth in the backyard of The Anchor House, our retreat house for prayer, learning, and contemplation. This vision came to fruition in December 2023 when it was fully installed. We envision this sacred space being used for regular guided labyrinth walks, its availability for individual use, as well as a place for communal contemplative worship experiences around the labyrinth.

The Prayer Labyrinth at The Anchor House is a custom labyrinth designed by Reginald Charles Adams. It is a 7-circuit classical pattern, with a 10-foot-wide diameter center, 3-foot-wide path, all encircled within a Celtic Cross. The 3-foot-wide pathway provides ample space for group walks, as well as accommodate people with wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. The 4 points of the cross align with the 4 cardinal points, with the sole entrance to the labyrinth in the East. There are 20 turns as one walks inward to the center, as well as the same 20 turns as one retraces their steps outward. These turns can represent the twists and turns of life, as well as how we repeatedly need to practice “turning to God.”

Walking the Labyrinth

There are many ways to walk a labyrinth. The following is adapted from the work of Lauren Artress, founder of Veriditas, a nonprofit organization that offers experiences and training in walking labyrinths and facilitating communal labyrinth walks. You can think of these 4 R’s as a “map” to guide your walk.


At the Threshold of the Labyrinth

Take time to offer gratitude. You are invited to count your blessings and be thankful for people that support you and places that nourish you. You may choose to focus on a scripture, prayer, or intention. If there’s a specific situation challenging you, bring it to mind and form a healing question if possible.


Entering the Labyrinth
This is the time to quiet the mind, let go of the mental chatter and release your burdens. Open your heart to feel whatever it might feel. You may want to connect with your breath or your footsteps. Relax and move at your own pace. If you meet someone on the path, do what feels natural. You may move ahead of others, and they may pass you by. Follow your intuition and experience your experience.


Pausing in the Center
Upon reaching the center, you will find that our labyrinth’s center is a circle. The circle symbolizes the Oneness of God and our oneness with God. The center is a place of rest and wholeness for meditation, reflection, prayer, or contemplation. This is a time of openness and peacefulness; you experience or receive what the moment offers you. Stay here as long as you feel the need. Open yourself to God. Listen to that still, small inner voice. In the safety of the labyrinth have a heart-to-heart talk with God.


Outward through the Labyrinth

When you are ready, retrace your steps. On the return journey, the integration of your experience happens. You may feel a sense of well-being, healing, excitement, calm or peace. You may also Reclaim, Restore, Renew some aspect of your life. Symbolically, you are taking back out into the world what you have received.

Each labyrinth experience is different. You may Remember, Release, Receive & Return anywhere and in any order on the labyrinth. You might not notice anything or have an insightful, transformative journey. Whatever occurs, listen to your heart and take your time. See what happens on a different day. The above description is only a thumbnail sketch. You provide the bigger picture.