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Camino Labyrinths?

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Aside from the fabulous and famous medieval labyrinth in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres in France, and the ancient drawings up above Pontevedra in Galicia, do any of you wise people know of other labyrinths along the Caminos to Santiago?

With all these Templar and other hermetic doings along this path, and all our latter-day searchers for spiritual truth and enlightenment, you´d think there would be some walkable labyrinth here somewhere. I remember hearing about one being installed on the Way out of Castrojeriz, but I´ve not seen it for myself, nor heard much more of it.

If there was one, would you use it? Can anyone here enlighten us on this ancient spiritual practice?

Reb. (whose mind is turning and twisting)
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
There is a Labyrinth Society with a website where you can search for Labyrinths: http://www.labyrinthsociety.org/

It shows three for Spain - the Laberint d'Horta in Barcelona
There is also a child's labyrinth outside Barcelona's Museum of Geology.

A private one in La Granja (Segovia) Located in the gardens of the Royal Palace of La Granja, which was the summer vacation place for the Kings of Spain.

And, a Corn Labyrinth on the Way to Santiago - http://www.orbigo.org/LABERINTO.htm

Go to the gallery to see an aerial photograph: http://www.orbigo.org/LGALERIA2002.htm


You can read about this sand maze: http://blogmymaze.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/the-sandbag-labyrinth-at-aguilar-de-campoo-spain/

http://www.labyrinthos.net/centre.htm

In Europe the labyrinth symbol is widespread and varied in its forms. Prehistoric labyrinths are found carved on rockfaces at Pontevedra, and Arcera, Spain.

Carved on an ancient cave wall in Galicia, Spain is a pattern that twists and turns, looping back upon itself, circling ever inward. You can run your finger along its cool rocky surface and follow the path to a central point. Nothing blocks your way as you trace the design, easily sliding your finger back and forth from the outside to the inside and back again. Doing that is oddly calming, almost soothing, and one can’t help but wonder who it was that placed the petroglyph there almost 2000 years ago and why?

http://www.labyrinthsinnc.com/keyfeatures.html There are labyrinth petroglyphs in Spain that could be as old as 2000 BC.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
And one more - in Huesca.
The monastery of San Pedro de Siresa, from the IX century which has a Labyrinth inside the church.
 

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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
How cool! The Huesca one looks wonderfully Arab! And Aguilar de Campoo is only about 40 km. from here...

(I am thinking of building one of these for pilgrims to use, seeing as we are almost exactly halfway along the Frances, and we´re not using all our space..)
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Reb, this is a lovely website with pictures of laid out labyrinths and explanations on how to use your labyrinth.

http://www.evensongretreat.com/Chaplab.html
These labyrinths served as symbolic journeys for pilgrims unable to reach the Holy Land because of war, disease, and inaccessibility of Jerusalem at different times in history. In fact, the centers of these labyrinths were known as "The New Jerusalem." Pilgrimage to one of these cathedrals, and walking the labyrinths within them, fulfilled the seeker's religious commitment of journeying to Jerusalem.

and

The three-fold path of the pilgrim, as coined by the 16th century mystic Theresa of Avila, provides a guideline that can be applied to walking the labyrinth. Our walk in, towards center, we begin the symbolic path of purgation, of releasing, letting-go, quieting the mind and surrendering. The center represents illumination, opening to the Divine. Our return path is union or communion, strengthened from our journey and being granted the power to act within our community. Although we walk this path as individuals, and sometimes we may feel lost and not know where we are on the path, we are walking with others, who may also feel the same. We each find our own natural rhythm, a pace that may change throughout our time on the labyrinth. This is the pace our body wants to go, not our mind. We may feel a need to stop along the way. We may need to pass someone whose pace is slower than our own. We may follow in another's footsteps. We will also come 'face to face' with others along the path. How do we negotiate our meetings with others as we move along the path? What concerns, joys, or questions come up for us as we walk our spiritual paths? Our journey within the vessel of the labyrinth thus becomes a metaphor for our journey through life.
 

Ian Holdsworth

Active Member
There is also a crude one on the ground at the top of the hill near the cross just before you get to Burgos. I think it has been laid by some pilgrims on the way. A strange thing to do when you are walking a pilgrimage and so there is no need of a condensed version
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Here´s the latest one. I think they´re not so much a substitute for a pilgrimage but a concentrated form of walking meditation. Pilgrims don´t have to use them if they don´t want to, but the locals might make good use of them.

This one´s at Villa Oreja, the site of a medieval village along the Rio Templarios just beyond Calzadilla.
 

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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
sorry I´m still figuring out the photo upload thing... I am fighting with my "intuitive" Mac picture program that knows SO much better than I do what ought to be in the picture! Scroll DOWN to see the little labyrinth.

Here´s what we do in November, when the weather is fine and we have no pilgrims about...
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don't know much/anything about labyrinths, and I don't know if you guys were referring only to walkable ones, but a post on the Spanish forum today caught my eye. If you haven't seen it (and I think maybe Reb's original post was referring to this one), the website pasted in below describes a labyrinth built into the rocks near the Beach of Mogor, which is located in the Pontevedran village of Marin. Apparently there is some feature that has something to do with the equinox, so I thought this would be an appropriate day to mention it.

http://www.labolab.net/?p=1687

Despite my ignorance, I find this fascinating, and would enjoy your commentary. Buen camino, happy equinox (I think it's at 11:30 pm central time USA, not sure about the rest of you), Laurie
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
The winter solstice is 0530 UTC on December 22. Central Standard Time is 6 hours earlier, so 2330 is correct.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Reb,
Let me encourage you in this project! The first labyrinth I walked was at Holden Village in Washington state (http://www.holdenvillage.org/2011/12/23/o-radiant-dawn-and-longest-night-a-walk-in-the-labyrinth/), where a disused softball diamond was repurposed (just to give you an idea of the size). This information is from the site of Grace Cathedral http://www.gracecathedral.org/visit/labyrinth/ in San Francisco:

Walking the Labyrinths at Grace Cathedral
The labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition.

The labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and releases our joys. Walk it with an open mind and an open heart.

Three stages of the walk
Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work for which you feel your soul is reaching.
Guidelines for the walk
Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. You may "pass" people or let others step around you. Do what feels natural.
 

cstclare

Member
Thanks, Kitsambler, for such a lovely summary of using the labyrinth as a spiritual tool! I have been hooked on labyrinths since I was trained as a facilitator by Veriditas in 2000. As part of the preparation for my Camino 2012 (I fly to Madrid on April 22:) I have just built a round 7-circuit labyrinth in my back yard. It is solved by walking--as Augustine of Hippo would say! I would love to walk a labyrinth during or after
my Camino. The labyrinth is not merely a substitute for a physical pilgrimage; it stands alone as a metaphor for the spiritual journey--the journey within.
 

Nicprinsloo

New Member
Hi,
I have walked the labyrinth on the hill before Burgos while on the Camino Frances in 2007. While walking that and directly afterwards I made certain decisions about my future etc. Only now in 2011 I built a classical Labyrinth on the guest and game farm that I manage in South Africa and the response of people walking it is amazing. It's not a very much know thing where I live and there are only between 5 or 10 in South Africa. You can locate Labyrinths all over the world on the internet on labyrinthlocator.com
 
A

AJ

Guest
This is for me a very interesting thread as it emphasises the importance of the journey, whereas the Church maintains that the destination is what matters.

A few weeks (or maybe months) ago I posted an extract of a talk from a sufi teacher which gave a possible explanation for the importance of the journey and not just (or even) the destination.

Interesting stuff indeed!
 

tomfriesen

New Member
In 2011 our London (Ontario, Canada) pilgrim group walked a Santa Rosa labryinth at the University of Western Ontario under the guidance of one of our founders, Wanda Sawicki. We then followed yellow arrows down a 2 km woodland path to walk a Chartes Labyrinth at the Medaille Retreat Center. This was all followed by wine and tapas and a free will donation which raised a $1000 Canadian which we sent to the new parochial albergue in Monesterio on the Via de la Plata.
This worked well as a local event for our group and has inspired a spiritual series on the Camino.
There is strong intention by our group to repeat this activity in 2012 and again donate the proceeds to work on the Camino probably at the same albergue as we know the money was both appreciated and well used. I was lucky enough to see pictures from a couple of our member artists decorating the walls there recently.
To me this represents a wonderful way to "unpack your camino" and keep the Camino's teachings alive in every day life.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Just an FYI for labyrinth lovers:

Today was the annual labyrinth cleanup at the Villa Oreja labyrinth between Terradillos and Moratinos. Three lines of stones were re-set and the whole lay-by was raked and spruced-up. Bring on the new Mayan energy!

...And to those who "shared" their marker-scrawls on the benches over the past year? Your personal memorial has been painted-over! Brrraaahahahaha! :twisted:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
This is for me a very interesting thread as it emphasises the importance of the journey, whereas the Church maintains that the destination is what matters.

Don't want to get too side tracked on this but which "Church"?

Where do they teach that?

As someone who is interested in the spirituality of the Camino and has been taught a little bit of church history I'm not sure you are right. The journey as well as the destination is emphasised.

Reb thank you for starting this topic and I am still made up with the couple of days I spent with you and Paddy last March.
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide 2013-2016
Rebekah, thanks for the update on the labyrinth! That labyrinth was such a delightful surprise when I walked through in the Spring. I spent almost thirty minutes there, alone, walking the labyrinth and sending out prayers for some dear friends who were going through some very difficult times. It was early morning, but late enough that all other pilgrims from Terradillos had already walked past, and I was truly alone with myself and my prayers.

The labyrinth just before Burgos was also a wonderful surprise when I walked in 2007. That was the year I walked the entire Camino, every step. During that walk I had skipped the part from Villafranco Montes de Oca to Burgos, but then came back to it after reaching Santiago, so I could honestly say I had walked every step and earned my Compostela. So that day was my last day on the Camino, and it was incredibly moving and poignant to walk that labyrinth as the conclusion of my great accomplishment.

I remember sending up a prayer that was basically a cry for help: "NOW WHAT???" And I got the clearest answers I've ever received. It was such a special moment, it took my breath away.

That's a long way of saying, YES, more labyrinths!!!
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
.

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
for people who like the arcane, hidden, and remote, there´s a spectacular high-altitude labyrinth up above Ponferrada, on the little camino that connects Peñalba de Santiago with Las Medullas (this is a waymarked path, an alternative start to the Camino Invierno.) It´s about 5 km. out of Peñalba, past the hermit caves, at the top of a pretty stiff climb through an oak and pine forest.
It is breathtaking in so many ways!

If you leave litter up there, I will personally hunt you down.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Rebekah Scott said:
If you leave litter up there, I will personally hunt you down.
Yes. And it won't be nice. Plan for at least one rest day afterwards if she catches you. :lol:
 
A

AJ

Guest
methodist.pilgrim.98 said:
This is for me a very interesting thread as it emphasises the importance of the journey, whereas the Church maintains that the destination is what matters.

Don't want to get too side tracked on this but which "Church"?

Where do they teach that?

As someone who is interested in the spirituality of the Camino and has been taught a little bit of church history I'm not sure you are right. The journey as well as the destination is emphasised.

The Church authorities in Santiago have been quoted on this forum as saying that the purpose of the pilgrimage is visiting the tomb of St James: the journey is incidental. I think it was quoted in one of the threads about defining "true" pilgrims.

Perhaps I am wrong about this. I hope so!
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
The Pilgrim Office says that the goal is reaching the tomb:
Spiritual preparation

Although there is physical effort involved, the pilgrimage is essentially a spiritual experience and it is recommended that pilgrims take some time before starting to prepare for this.

Your motives
We urge you to think about your motives for wishing to make the pilgrimage to Santiago. Traditionally these fell into three categories: from a personal desire; to complete a vow; or in atonement for sins. Some people may be attracted to the cultural aspects of the journey. These entirely complement the religious heart of the Camino and indeed making the Way often leads the pilgrim to draw closer to God.

Here are some of the reasons which pilgrims give for making the pilgrimage:
• To find oneself
• To find the meaning of one’s life
• To find a favourable environment to think and reflect
• To fulfil a promise
• To meet other pilgrims
• To follow of millions of others that have done the Way over the centuries
• To learn more of the culture and art along the Way
• To honour St James, one of Jesus’ Apostles
• To deepen and enrich faith in God

The Apostle Saint James
The Way that you set out on (it does not matter which route) has as its goal reaching the Tomb of the Apostle Saint James.
 
A

AJ

Guest
I suspect that the material that Falcon quotes is what I had in mind, so it is the Pilgrim Office and not necessarily the Church that has the destination and not the journey as its focus.

If one accepts this view, then I suppose it would be fair to say that anyone who visits the tomb could be regarded as a pilgrim, regardless of how they got there. But then there is also the matter of intention.




falcon269 said:
The Pilgrim Office says that the goal is reaching the tomb:
Spiritual preparation

Although there is physical effort involved, the pilgrimage is essentially a spiritual experience and it is recommended that pilgrims take some time before starting to prepare for this.

Your motives
We urge you to think about your motives for wishing to make the pilgrimage to Santiago. Traditionally these fell into three categories: from a personal desire; to complete a vow; or in atonement for sins. Some people may be attracted to the cultural aspects of the journey. These entirely complement the religious heart of the Camino and indeed making the Way often leads the pilgrim to draw closer to God.

Here are some of the reasons which pilgrims give for making the pilgrimage:
• To find oneself
• To find the meaning of one’s life
• To find a favourable environment to think and reflect
• To fulfil a promise
• To meet other pilgrims
• To follow of millions of others that have done the Way over the centuries
• To learn more of the culture and art along the Way
• To honour St James, one of Jesus’ Apostles
• To deepen and enrich faith in God

The Apostle Saint James
The Way that you set out on (it does not matter which route) has as its goal reaching the Tomb of the Apostle Saint James.
 

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