“Movement and Meditation Beyond Words”
The labyrinth is a sacred pattern that leads you on a path to its center and back out again. It’s a way of praying with the body that invites God into an active conversation with the heart and soul.
This autumn, Cathedral Labyrinth Walks now offers you more opportunities to walk the labyrinth at the Cathedral. Drop in the crypt to walk the labyrinth in St. Joseph’s Chapel on the dates listed below (see Cathedral calendar). Walks are free and open to the public. No tickets are required for Cathedral Labyrinth Walks or Cathedral Crossroads.
- Tuesday, September 24, 5—9 pm
- Sunday, October 6, 1—4 pm
- Tuesday, October 29, 5—9 pm
- Sunday, November 3, 1—4 pm
Cathedral Crossroads Returns! Tuesday, November 26
Join us for an evening of contemplative practices. Labyrinths open for walkers at 6:30 pm in the nave. Healing Ministers are available in Holy Spirit Chapel for prayer throughout the evening. The Crossroads special program returns from 7:30—8:30 pm in St. Joseph’s Chapel. Compline (nighttime prayers) are read at 8:45 pm in the Great Choir to close the evening.
What is a Labyrinth?
While the labyrinth is an ancient pattern that pre-dates Christianity, it was adopted as a decorative motif by churches quite early and soon became a symbol used for meditation and prayer. There are finger labyrinths carved into the stone walls of churches in the Mediterranean dating back to the 4th century. These well-worn designs tell the story of generations of worshipers who would trace the patterns with their fingers before entering church for prayer and worship.
In the Middle Ages, cathedrals in Europe began to construct larger labyrinths, inlaid in floors of the nave or outbuildings of the churches. These larger labyrinths were walked or even danced during special services, such as during the celebration of Easter morning. The labyrinth in the floor of the nave at Chartres Cathedral in France is the most well-known of the medieval designs and is the pattern used in the canvas replicas at Washington National Cathedral. The Chartres labyrinth is composed of eleven circuits or paths and is divided into four quadrants, clearly defined by a cross. The center of the labyrinth is a six petal rose-shaped area for resting, prayer, or meditation.