May 22, 2013
A friend of mine is getting married next weekend and she wants to have the ceremony in a labyrinth. Knowing that I've researched and visited labyrinths around the world--as well as written about them in Skeptical Inquirer magazine and on this very blog--she asked me to write a short piece about "love labyrinths" to be read during the ceremony for her guests who are unfamiliar with them. (My mother was married in a labyrinth years ago, as well.)
I've also agreed to be one of her bridesmaids, for reasons I've forgotten but it sounded like a fun way to bash gender stereotypes. Anyway, here's the piece:
The labyrinth is an ancient symbol, and though its origins are murky, early versions have been found in Crete, Italy, and Egypt. Labyrinths are designed in grass fields, inlaid in beautiful floors, carved in hedges, and painted on giant canvas sheets. While most people are content to simply walk the labyrinth, some dance or sing. The walking itself is simple, following the same path in and back out. Unlike a maze, which has different paths and choices, one cannot get lost in a labyrinth. The way forward is simple and clear, leading to the center, a place of happiness and contemplation, called the rosette.
There are many types of labyrinths, but perhaps the most special is a love labyrinth, which symbolizes the joining of two spirits in one journey. There are many paths in the world, but a marriage-like a labyrinth-provides one path forward together through life's journeys, its joys and trials.
Some couples enter the love labyrinth together, one entering first and the second following a few steps behind. They follow their individual paths but soon meet at the center where they spend a few moments in contemplation and appreciation for the life partner they have found there. Then, after a kiss or the exchange of a token of their love, they leave the labyrinth returning to the outside world, walking closer together and with renewed purpose and comfort. On the way back out, the couple focus on any revelations, healings, experiences, or answers that may have come to them on their journey, knowing that their path forward together has already begun.