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Walking the labyrinth is an ancient Christian spiritual practice of embodied prayer.
It is important to note that the labyrinth differs from a maze in that there is one path in and out with no dead ends. The structure is a tool to facilitate contemplation by directing the mind in a way that allows one to meditate, pray and connect with God, through the journey as well as at the center of our being.
To most Christians who walk the labyrinth journey today, the walk in is called Purgation--a time for releasing, letting go of the cares and concerns that keep one distracted and stressed.
The center of the labyrinth represents divine Illumination and Christ within, a place for receiving clarity and insight. The return walk is viewed as the path of Union, joining God, bringing back to the world a renewed vision or a refreshed spirit. To others the labyrinth enhances their prayer life as a symbol of the world’s complexities and difficulties, which we experience in our journey through life. These are but some of the historic uses for the labyrinth embraced by Catholics and Christians throughout the world.