Join us on Saturday, February 23rd and Sunday, February 24th as the Calgary Public Library presents the Mind, Body, Spirit Weekend. It is a weekend full of insight, rejuvenation, and inspiration held in the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library. Over the next four weeks we will interview four of the nine presenters. This week we have Joanne Graham, who will be presenting Introduction to the Labyrinth on Sunday, February 24th from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. If you missed the first two interviews, don't worry you can still see them on our Good Life blog. For more information on our Mind, Body, Spirit Weekend and to register please see our program page.
Are there different types of labyrinths?
There are two main types, or designs, of labyrinths: classical and cruciform.
The classical design is also known as Cretan or Minoan and is like a simple spiral in which there is a continuous circular path towards the center. Its existence dates back to 1530 BCE on the Isle of Crete.
The best example of the cruciform design is the eleven circuit labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral, France. Developed by Christians, and installed c. 1200CE, it has a cross in the pattern. The path takes one closer to then away from the center whilst constantly moving in to the central space. There are many turns and changes in direction, requiring one to give up to simply follow the path to the heart (center). This design employs sacred geometry and proportion for its whole.
What will your program at Mind, Body, and Spirit include?
I am thrilled to be introducing the labyrinth to you as a presenter during the Mind, Body and Spirit Weekend, late February. I will be taking you on a short, but packed, journey through the history of the labyrinth as it is found throughout the world. I bring my own portable labyrinths for you to walk, and a resource table to appeal to your senses.
What are some more famous labyrinths?
Some famous cathedral labyrinths include:
Chartres, Amiens, Rheims, and Bayeux; all located in Europe.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, has both an indoor and an outdoor permanent labyrinth.
Saffron Walden, UK, has a turf labyrinth on its central common.
The outdoor labyrinth at Milton Keynes, UK, is made of paving stones.
Glastonbury Tor, UK (think Arthurian legends and Camelot) has a labyrinthine path leading to the medieval chapel at the top.
Labyrinths are often associated with Christianity. Are they found in other faiths and cultures?
Labyrinths are found around the world. They were used throughout the Baltic, Mediterranean, India, Afghanistan, the British Isles, and North America to tell a story.
In Scandinavian countries there are many of turf and stones, usually beside the water. Since the 1300's CE sailors have been walking them to entrap bad weather and bring them good luck before sailing.
Many stories of pagan (of the earth) rituals, celebrations for birth, fertility, good crops, come with the variety of turf and stone labyrinths located throughout the British Isles.
In North America they are used as pathways for rites of passage by the Pima and Hopi Indians of Arizona.
In India they have been used as both a protective symbol in childbirth and as plans of military defences of cities and armies at war.
Documented information from the early 20th Century shows how the Zulu tribes of south Africa used labyrinth games to prepare boys for hunting and herding in adult life.
Joanne Graham lives in Edmonton and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics as well as a Holistic Health Practitioner Diploma. She was introduced to labyrinths through her local church prayer circle as a meditation tool. They quickly became one of her life’s passions.