woman sitting on the egde of a labyrinth, meditating

The Labyrinth at Scarritt Bennett Center

The labyrinth is a powerful symbol of spiritual journey. It was introduced into Christian prayer practices in late antiquity, when traditional pilgrimages to the holy land became too dangerous for most travelers. Both in that time, and in our time, people have found it helpful for meditation.

Scarritt Bennett’s labyrinth is a seven-circuit medieval labyrinth. It labyrinth has only one path. There are no tricks or no dead ends. Instead, the path winds throughout, becoming a mirror for where we are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and releases our joys. Pilgrims are encouraged to walk the labyrinth with an open mind and open heart.

Located in the campus International Peace Garden, Scarritt Bennett Center’s outdoor labyrinth is open to the public every day during daylight hours. The labyrinth’s starting point is in front of Gibson Hall’s arched window (the corner of campus closest to 19th Avenue S. and Grand Avenue).

Three Stages of Walking the Labyrinth

woman sitting on a bench with her hands in her lap, open for prayer

Walking In: Purgation

Purgation is a releasing, a “letting go” of life’s details. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions. Purgation quiets and empties the mind

lighted candle in the center of the labyrinth

The Center: Illumination

Illumination can happen anytime, but most often when you reach the center. Stay at the center as long as you’d like. This is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.

many people walking together through the labyrinth

Walking Out: Union

Union is with God, your higher power, and/or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth, you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul is reaching for.

Guidelines for Walking the Labyrinth

Clear your mind. Become aware of your breath. Find the pace your body wants to go. You may pass people or let others step around you—whichever is easiest—at the turns. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those going out. Keep your eyes soft and your heart open. Do what feels natural.

Looking for additional opportunities for spiritual enrichment? Scarritt Bennett Center offers dozens of retreats, workshops, worship services, interfaith discussions, and more throughout the year. View all of our programs here.