The idea to construct a labyrinth in the Forecourt of the Cathedral as part of the Cathedral Precinct Project, 2013-2017, came from the Diocesan Director of Heritage Fr Robert Cross and he researched the dimensions of one of the most famous of the remaining 11 Circuit Designs from the Middle Ages in Chartres Cathedral in France.  Our labyrinth is based on this design with exactly the same dimensions.

A labyrinth comes from ancient traditions, physically used as a contemplative tool for reflection or meditation in many cultures throughout history. Unlike a maze, which has several different pathways, a labyrinth has only a single path and there are no dead ends.

The use of a labyrinth has received much attention within the last decade, particularly for its acknowledged therapeutic and medical benefits.

Evidence suggests that a labyrinth walk is a 'right brain exercise' which can activate the intuitive, imaginative and creative side of your brain. Indeed, the evidence of a mentally calming and meditative effect has led to more than 200 labyrinths being built in hospitals in the US, and - locally - the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The first major public labyrinth in Australia was constructed in Centennial Park in Sydney at a cost of $500,000.

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How do you walk a labyrinth?

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Some people come with questions, others just to slow down and take time out from a busy life. Some come to find strength to take the next step. Many use it during times of grief and loss, and others use it just for fun.

It is said that a labyrinth involves three stages:

  • the 'inward' journey: conventionally been associated with letting go or releasing things which hinder the self

  • the centre: represents a space of centring and illumination

  • the 'outward' journey: symbolises a return back into the world

Further Reading:

Guidelines for Walking a Labyrinth

Labyrinth Walking:  An ancient Activity that Could Ease Anxiety