PHOENIX - If you’re looking for an alternative method to mediation, consider walking a labyrinth. Unlike a maze, labyrinths have a singular path in and out and many use it as a walking meditation practice.
According to the Labyrinth Society, they have existed for over 4,000 years and have many patterns that represent ancient cultures, sacred geometry and even a personal sacred pilgrimage inward.
“A labyrinth is a non-denominational tool,” says Stephanie Phelps, energy medicine practitioner and founder of White Horse Journeys. “It’s a tool meant to be used as a walking or active mediation.”
Arizona has more than 100 registered labyrinths located at churches, hospitals, spiritual retreat areas and private properties.
But why does Arizona have so many?
“The tribe that’s here in Phoenix had a labyrinth, so when non-natives came in, they found it very intriguing. So they embraced it,” said Rev. De Alva Ward, a spiritual and indigenous practitioner.
Rev. De Alva Ward is a Native American of Kaibab Paiute and Hopi descent.
“Traditionally, we view the labyrinth as the womb of mother earth, and the deep center is our core, our heartbeat.”
According to Stephanie Phelps, there are three stages to walking a labyrinth.
1. Release: As you enter a labyrinth, release all the unwanted stress and baggage you’ve been carrying.
2. Receive: Once you approach the center of a labyrinth. Be open to receive any messages from your inner voice or God. You can choose to pray, make an offering and stay as long it's comfortable.
3. Return: Once you leave the center, you walk out again, renewed, and integrate your experience and reflect and reconnect with yourself and what might be.
There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth; every experience is as different as the individual. With so many labyrinths in Arizona, take advantage of walking the path, for prayer, meditation and renewal.
You can find a labyrinth near you here: https://labyrinthlocator.com/labyrinth-links.
You can find a meditation class from Stephanie Phelps here: http://www.stephaniephelps.com/.
To find a class or event with Rev. De Alva Ward, go here: http://www.earthmotherwisdom.com/index.html.