To walk or not to walk: The labyrinth as a therapeutic tool

Author: 
Dr Leverne Mountany
Publication date: 
1 June 2018

To walk or not to walk: The labyrinth as a therapeutic tool

“The point of a maze is to find its centre; the point of a labyrinth is to find your centre”


Labyrinths date back 4000 years or more and are often unicursal singular meandering paths leading to a centre.  They are ancient architypes with possibly the oldest surviving labyrinth found in a rock carving at Luzzanas Sardinia. (2500-2000 BC). One finds the classic or seven circuit labyrinths on Greek coins from Knossos, Crete (5th to 3rd century BC). They are found in almost every ancient civilization in some way or form but remain mysterious as we do not know the origin of their design. Herodotus born about 484 BC is the first person known to have used the term “labyrinth.”

In medieval times labyrinths are found in churches with Chartres Church in France one of the most well preserved ones of its times. They were thought to be used for pilgrimages in times of war or famine when long journeys to holy sites where not possible.

In modern times labyrinth are found in schools, hospitals, churches, community settings and on private properties. Many people confuse a labyrinth with a maze. They have contrary to a maze a well-defined path that leads to a centre and back again. There are no puzzles, dead ends, obstacles or intersecting paths. Labyrinths have become a blueprint for transformation. Saint Augustine said “Solvitur ambulando…. It is solved by walking” The winding paths of the labyrinth offer a place for the psyche to meet the soul.

“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Labyrinths are used as meditation and mindfulness tools.  They aid with mental focus, psychological and spiritual growth, and are places for reflection. Because there is both a kinaesthetic and an introspective process during a labyrinth walk they function as a complete mind-body interactive activity. During therapeutic proses they become a metaphor for what is happening in your life.

Tabula Rasa is an organization of workshop facilitators that make use of the labyrinth as a therapeutic tool for team building, individual processes, family and couple interventions. They create a creative immersed experience where learning new tools and skills happen in an interactive nurturing environment.

For World Labyrinth day 2018 Tabula Rasa hosted a joined event with Life Riverfield Lodge by inviting teachers in the Fourways area to join an Open Day at the beautiful newly built labyrinth of Life Riverfield Lodge.  The day focused on mindfulness tools to assist young people with modern, rushed, pressured times. This included a labyrinth walk in the theme of the tenth annual World Labyrinth Day - Walk as One at One (thus walking a labyrinth at 1pm in your respective time zone all over the world.) More than 5000 people from over 35 countries participated in this year’s event.

Workshops are facilitated by two professionals with over 30 years of experience between them. Dr Leverne Mountany is a Psychiatrist whom is a well-known facilitator on national and international platforms. She is enthusiastic about wellness and imparting knowledge.

Jocelyn Hall is a Clinical Psychologist whom has done extensive corporate facilitations, team interventions and designed many workshops. They host workshops at a beautiful full sized seven circuit labyrinth at Life Riverfield Lodge or have a portable labyrinth to take to a venue of your choice.

Visit tabula-rasa.co.za or Tabula Rasa Workshop Facilitators on Facebook