The Labyrinth at Ravens Retreat
When you drive down the lane to Ravens Retreat you will undoubtedly notice a "prehistoric" round formation made of stone with an open doorway. It is The Labyrinth at Ravens Retreat, and it was created for the exclusive use of Ravens Retreat guests. For those uninitiated to labyrinths, their historical significance, and their purpose and use, please read on...
The History of Labyrinths
Labyrinths date back to early Crete, Egypt, Peru and India, and were used for ritual walking and spiritual contemplation. Dating back some 4,500 years, there are thousands to be found in various forms throughout the world, and hundreds in the U.S. The labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions. They are known as sacred gateways. Historically they have been used both in group ritual and for private meditation and self discovery.
Why This Labyrinth and Why Here?
The design of The Labyrinth at Ravens Retreat has been replicated many times. It is an "Eaglecrest" five-circuit labyrinth based on the inner circle of the 13th century labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. A 19th century terra cotta angel that adorns the Watts Chapel in England carries the same design.
Hundreds of year ago, Native American Indians inhabited, hunted, harvested, and conducted ceremonies on this beautiful land by the ever-flowing creek. Many guests coming to stay at Ravens Retreat today are seeking release and renewal from their daily lives and a spiritual awakening. The labyrinth was created here to honor the past inhabitants and to provide a spiritual gateway to the new.
Walking the Labyrinth
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. It should be walked with an open mind and an open heart, at the pace your body wants to go.
Many people who walk labyrinths approach it in three stages:
1. Entering (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of life's details. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
2. Reaching the Center (Receiving) ~ This is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive. Stay there as long as you like.
3. Returning (Union) ~ Following the same path out of the center begins the third stage, which is joining God, a Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world.
Although there are no promises of revelation, the rhythms and movement of a labyrinth coax us toward contemplation. And if we follow St. Augustine's inspired belief; "It is solved by walking"; old problems might just find new solutions.
Respecting the Labyrinth
While not all guests of Ravens Retreat will have a desire to walk the labyrinth, we do ask all to treat it with honor and respect. Please do not allow children and dogs to run rampantly through this sacred space. The upper back yard provides another quiet space for pure meditation.