In the southern churchyard of St Giles’, a labyrinth has been laid
out for people to walk around. It takes about twenty to thirty
minutes to walk the Labyrinth into the centre and then out again.
Walking the Labyrinth helps to refocus the mind and enables us to
centre our attention on the present moment. The location of the
Labyrinth at St Giles’ helps to remind us of the wider context
within which we live. By walking it, you are encouraged to
recognise the impact of nature, the rush of daily life and are also
reminded of other key influences on our daily lives. Yet, when
acknowledging all these factors, it is perfectly possible to
experience the calmness of God at the centre of our being.
Walking the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in
Christian traditions in various forms around the world. The
labyrinth has only one path, so there are no tricks to it and
no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds into
the centre. The person walking it uses the same path to return
and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view,
which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.
Generally there are three stages to the walk: ‘releasing’, or
opening your mind to what God might want to say to you, on
the way in, ‘receiving’ in the centre and ‘returning’; that is,
taking back out into the world that which you have received.
“Stand at the crossroads, and look, and
ask for the ancient path, where the good
way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for
|Guidelines for the walking the Labyrinth:
- Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath.
- Leave a minute between you and anyone in front of you before you enter the labyrinth.
- The entrance is marked with an arrow.
- Find a pace that is comfortable for you and keep to it.
- Feel free to move around others and let them move around you.The path is a two-way street; you will meet others
coming out as you go in.
- When you arrive at the centre, pause for as long as you like, then follow the same path out.
There are many ways to describe a labyrinth. It is a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit and a mirror of the soul. There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets your need.
Labyrinth at St Giles
A plan of the Labyrinth at St Giles is shown in the adjoining figure. The head-stones of the churchyard have been incorporated into the design in two ways: 1) Those to pass alongside – marked with an A on the plan 2) Those that act as a turning point in the Labyrinth – marked as type B The tree is used as a turning point. The head-stones are marked on the plan below by a thick black line. Click on the figure to enlarge its display.