Question: About Labyrinths…
After a long journey I find myself at the doors of Orthodoxy. I will soon be a catechumen. The Labyrinth has long held a place in my heart and helped me through my spiritual journey. We had planned on constructing one in our back yard. My question does this in any way conflict with Orthodox practices?
Labyrinths are not part of Orthodox worship, prayer, or contemplation as in some Catholic/protestant/ or New Age traditions.
I used the labyrinth in my book for I found its meaning quite connected to my wanderings prior to Orthodoxy. I was in a maze of false spirituality and a labyrinth best explained where I had been. The only time I walked one was at Chartres Cathedral in France. At the time I was really into energy vortexes, etc.
I do not think a labyrinth in your garden is a problem unless you want to use it as part of a ritual, prayer practice or something you used to do spiritually – then I would suggest talking with your priest about it or even better – waiting a while before acting on this thought.
I found that a lot of things that spiritually feed me in the past naturally faded from use or were replaced by traditions in Orthodoxy as I matured into my faith. So perhaps waiting for a while after you are received into the Church would be a way to see if you feel the same way about putting a labyrinth in your garden? It takes time to see who you are becoming in Christ in Orthodoxy and what will best serve you.
Thank you so much for your quick response and your sound advice. The labyrinth played a large part in leading us to Orthodoxy and I myself have many time asked myself if I am hanging onto something from my past or if it something I need to grow beyond, so I have taken your advice and contacted my priest to help guide me in this.
You are welcome! I think that running most things like this by your priest at this stage of your journey is the best. I am in the process of writing my second book about the struggles and challenges of converts after being received into the Church. Integrating an Orthodox world view and truly becoming Orthodox takes time and patience. Even if we have ‘put off the old man’, the process of illumination and purification is ongoing. Christian conversion is something that continues until we die.
God bless you,