A labyrinth is a thinking and praying place...
I had walked a couple of well known labyrinths (Chartres and Ely cathedral) but hadn't really thought about using them with children until I went to the Sanctum Collective summer event where we used a simple, taped on the floor labyrinth to reflect on Lent.
I had been wondering about different ways of offering spiritual space at our monthly Footsteps events where the children and adults who come are mostly from non church backgrounds.
Although we always included a prayer station, there was a lot of variation in how much it was used. I wanted to find something that would make the space for reflection and prayer more central.
I thought labyrinths would be too large for our limited space, and certainly the ones available for loan from the diocese would have been.
However a bit of research showed me that a simple three ring labyrinth should be able to fit on an old sheet, providing we reduced the width of each ring to 30cm instead of 40cm.
We drew the labyrinth using the seed pattern as outlined here at Pilgrim Paths.
We made a cardboard square 30cm wide and used this to ensure the rings were similar widths even on the curves. (We didn't get it perfect!)
We thought about painting the lines but discovered that whiteboard marker worked well and was probably less messy. We placed stones at the corners to keep it taught.
We had a couple of simple rules:
Take off your shoes and wait to enter
Walk the labyrinth quietly
The first rule meant that to enter the labyrinth you had to cross a boundary into a different kind of space - and it also saved the sheet from getting too dirty!
I hoped the children and adults would walk the labyrinth in silence and they mostly did. I try to be careful about the times when I insist on silence as for some children this is too difficult so went for the "quiet" option.
I sat with the labyrinth on this first occasion as it seemed important to monitor it and would probably do so again. As it was only a small labyrinth we had a one at a time rule except for the smallest children.
Mustard Seed: Our first experience of using the labyrinth with children, based on the parable of the Mustard Seed.