Lord God of Mysteries,

Lead me, Your wandering servant,
safely through the labyrinth of my life.

Keep me alert at every turn to see my way clearly and to avoid the pitfalls of evil
and temptation.

Stay with me each day of my journey,
I beg of You. Let me remember that You
walk with me always, and are my Closest Companion and my Ultimate Destination.

I will not know how far I have progressed through the maze of my life until I turn
that final corner, and see You standing before me in blinding light
and radiant glory.

Please, Oh, Lord, please let me not
be lacking when I exit from the winding passage of my earthly existence,
to make an accounting for my life.

Please forgive all my missteps now,
in advance, and keep me moving forward
in humility, wisdom and charity, negotiating successfully the turning hallways of my own personal journey.

All this I ask in humility and hope,
in gratitude and great burning love,



Early Christians often took a vow to make
a pilgrimage to the Holy City of jerusalem. Over the centuries as Christianity grew
in Western Europe, this pledge became increasingly difficult to fulfill.

Practices emerged which enabled the devout
to honor their sacred pilgrimage commitment symbolically.

One of these was the labyrinth. These were created on the floors of many European cathedrals, and people walked them prayerfully, as a substitute for the great pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The most famous of these labyrinths is
on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France (circa 1200).


The labyrinth design is an archetype found
in the symbiology of virtually all religions. It has a single entrance, and a single route, which winds in a circular pattern to the center and back again. That is, from the labyrinth's center point the same path will take the pilgrim out again. A labyrinth differs from a maze in that there are no wrong turns or dead ends. you cannot "get lost."


Labyrinths date back thousands of years
and are not limited to any single culture
or religious tradition. The earliest examples are more than 3,000 years old. They have been found in various designs. Archeology suggests that these designs were often connected with holy places of worship. The winding path
of most labyrinths creates a circular pattern, the circle being a universal symbol of unity, wholeness and infinity.


Notes from the Shrine Mont Labyrinth at Orkney Springs, a Retreat Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

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(c) Donn B. Murphy 2012
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