This article is part of a series on labyrinths. Additional information is available in the previous articles listed in the series, below. Author, Meryl Ann Butler, is a founding member of The Labyrinth Society and has been building labyrinths since 1992.
Saturday, May 4th is the 11th annual World Labyrinth Day (WLD) and you are invited to celebrate with thousands of people around the world!
A labyrinth is an ancient, geometric pattern that has a single, meandering path that leads into the center and out again. Its design is based on a circle, the ancient symbol for healing, unity and wholeness.
The Labyrinth Society (TLS) extends an invitation to anyone to "Walk as One at 1"(pm), joining other participants around the globe in creating a wave of peaceful energy washing across local time zones. Individuals or groups can get involved in private or public walks on a full-sized labyrinth, or let their fingers do the walking on a finger labyrinth.
During the 10th WLD in 2018, more than 35 countries were represented. Over 5,000 registered participants are expected in 2019.
The Labyrinth Society suggests that you can find a labyrinth to walk in your area using the World Wide Labyrinth Locator or you can learn to draw or build a simple labyrinth with links in their resources section. And yes, there's an ap for that!
This year the Australian Labyrinth Network (ALN) has initiated the first annual "World Labyrinth Day in Schools," planned for Friday, May 3. ALN offers an exceptional resource page for teachers or others who want to participate or find out more about labyrinths.
The American Cancer Society states that walking labyrinths "may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation."
Research conducted by Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School's Mind/Body Medical Institute has found that focused walking meditations are highly effective at reducing anxiety and eliciting what Dr. Benson refers to as the relaxation response, which can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower breathing rates
- Reduce incidents of chronic pain
- Reduce insomnia
Labyrinths in History
Labyrinths have been around for thousands of years. This labyrinth petroglyph in Galicia, NW Spain is believed to date to around 2000 BCE. It is probably one of the oldest known labyrinth images in the world, according to labyrinth expert, Jeff Saward, of the labyrinth and maze resource, photo library and archive site, Labyrinthos.
The map of Jericho in a 14th Century Farhi Bible depicts the city as a labyrinth.
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