Note: This is the 5th in a series of articles on Opednews about Labyrinths by Meryl Ann Butler. Previous articles are listed at the end of this article.
World Labyrinth Day is an annual global event celebrated each year on the first Saturday in May. It is sponsored by The Labyrinth Society, an international organization founded in 1998.
This year, the 4th annual World Labyrinth Day will be held on Saturday May 5, 2012 .
The Labyrinth Society invites the world to "Walk As One at 1," an opportunity to share in a wave of peaceful energy encircling the planet. Participants are invited to walk a labyrinth at 1:00 p.m. in their local time zone.
Large group events are planned, and many are listed on the TLS Events Calendar at http://labyrinthsociety.org/world-labyrinth-day
Individuals with no event nearby may take part by using a finger labyrinth. (Download a free printable one here: http://labyrinthsociety.org/download-a-labyrinth )
In previous years, events have been held at over 100 locations worldwide, including the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., churches, and even a maximum-security women's prison. Countries joining the celebration included: the United States, Canada, England, the Bahamas, France, Spain, New Zealand, China, South Africa, and Australia.
While the date of the origin of the labyrinth design is debated, it is generally agreed that some examples may be at least 4,000 -- 5,000 years old.
The World Wide Labyrinth Locator, http://www.labyrinthlocator.com , an online database, lists over 3400 labyrinths around the world. The most famous one is in the floor of Chartres Cathedral, France.
Nowadays, labyrinths are popular in schools, prisons, parks, hospitals, spas, churches, and retreat centers.
Labyrinths have been walked for a variety of reasons: to enhance creative problem solving, conflict resolution, walking meditation, modern day pilgrimage, and stress management. Walking a labyrinth is thought to enhance right brain activity.
The American Cancer Society states that walking a labyrinth "may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation."
Musicians Jeff Wolf and Mary Shapiro of Stillwaters Studios had a special reason for adding labyrinths to the grounds of their recording studio / bed & breakfast / retreat center in northern Virginia: they wanted to include the magic and mystery of the labyrinth in their wedding ceremony, coincidently planned for World Labyrinth Day.
Because they had designed a wedding ceremony to include the balance of the "Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine" principals, they created two labyrinths that they and their guests could walk on this special day.
Mary works on the Divine Masculine labyrinth within "Stumphenge."
Jeff smooths out the cement on the Divine Feminine labyrinth inside a drum circle enclosure.
After their wedding, all guests of Stillwaters Studios will be invited to enjoy walking both permanent labyrinths.
The Labyrinth Society's website offers additional information and resources about WLD and labyrinths in general. The TLS annual, online fundraiser auction continues through May 13
World Labyrinth Day http://labyrinthsociety.org/world-labyrinth-day
Find a labyrinth near you: http://www.labyrinthlocator.com/
Download a finger labyrinth: http://labyrinthsociety.org/download-a-labyrinth
Walk a Virtual labyrinth: http://labyrinthsociety.org/virtual-labyrinth-walk
Activities for kids; http://labyrinthsociety.org/activities-for-kids
Make a 7-circuit labyrinth: http://labyrinthsociety.org/make-a-labyrinth
Make a Chartres-style labyrinth: http://labyrinthsociety.org/make-a-labyrinth
TLS online fundraiser auction (through May 13) http://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/AuctionHome.action;jsessionid=qlnkag5oyCrrVG0qVHkI+w**.app4-i?auctionId=153281516
Previous articles in this series:
4. Walk as One at 1: World Labyrinth Day, May 7 (05.06.11)
3. Walk the Pavement to A-Mazement: World Labyrinth Day, May 1 (04.28.10)
2. Exploring Portland Labyrinths: An A-Mazing Journey (10.28.09)
1. May 2: First Annual World Labyrinth Day (05.01.09)