New Day Herald

AN EVENING IN JUNE: Sacred Mysteries of the Labyrinth, A Candlelight Labyrinth Walk


It’s dusk at Prana—Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens—on an Evening In June, to borrow the title and lyrics of one of my favorite songs by the mystical musician and poet, Van Morrison:

By the light of the moon
When the night holds the secrets
Of the sleepy lagoon …
When I’m walking with you
On an evening in June

And I would defy anyone not to feel the magic in the air.

Settled on sofas, cocooned in the comfort and beauty of Prana: our glorious oasis in the city, this particular evening in June begins with an insightful and thought-provoking, historical introduction to the labyrinth, from our facilitators, architect, Charles Bernstein, and Carol Jones, MSIA’s director of Visitor Services. We learn about the ancient labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, on which our own is fashioned. We hear how the idea for Prana’s labyrinth was built at John-Roger’s suggestion, during a visit to the iconic French Cathedral in 2000.

We hear about the power of the labyrinth as Charles discusses its sacred geometry, its metaphors and the intrinsic, arcane mysteries within its harmonic pattern. Carol explains how to walk the labyrinth, how the center is a symbol for the Soul. Their sheer enthusiasm is infectious. We listen to J-R, we meditate and we prepare for our walk. Long-time ministers and MSIA Discourse subscribers are joined by newcomers to Prana. We are here to walk the labyrinth by candlelight – in all we number fifty-six.

And now it is dark outside. In quiet, reverential procession, we meditators, timeless but present—like spiritual seekers in centuries gone by—glide down the steps of Prana, past the Blessings Tree, holding our candles aloft—ushered by a team of radiant assistants. We walk past the reflecting pool, to the edge of the labyrinth, and pause together in silence.

Evening In June—three words infused with a kind of alchemy in their simplicity, containing within them all the anticipation and promise of summer: the heady scent, the celebration, the heat, the joy, the presence of Spirit.

On an evening in June
By the light of the moon …

And here we stand; tranquil in MSIA’s outdoor cathedral, surrounded and protected by the regal palm trees, giant, graceful angels guarding the labyrinth, the sacred garden and Prana itself, with gentle power. We pause, then guided by a serene and smiling Victoria Montgomery, we step onto the cool stone and start our journey. We walk; some serious, some smiling, some reflective, some pausing, some praying, some intent on reaching the center, the symbol for the Soul, the heart of the matter, our Selves. Sometimes we rub shoulders as we wind around the curves, unwinding our thoughts, sometimes soul-gazing, some assisting others on their journeys, a few rest on benches as the beauty unfolds.

We become one.

For me, it’s a trust walk: trusting the Traveler, trusting the labyrinth to take me where I need to go, free of outer direction, trusting my words, making peace with the sounds of nature, punctuated by the sounds of the city around us. I marvel at the wondrously orchestrated cacophony: a screeching brake, a honking horn, a wind chime, crickets, birds, a fabulous symphony, all in balance. I pray for Manchester, city of my childhood and youth, for London, city of my 20s, and for the here and now in the City Of Angels. I am grateful for the labyrinth, for my life, for my Mystery School, for the Traveler …  for the journey Home.

And afterwards we share our experiences. Someone talks about ‘recalibrating the heart,’ another talks of ‘space and awareness and peace.’  ‘I feel different, you can let the path do everything,’ shares one walker. There is talk of ‘whisperings of wisdom.’

I reflect on the words of J-R:

There are nine positive aspects of this planet, which reside in you and only awaken as a result of your activating them. They are love, life, light, peace, power, beauty, joy, harmony, and abundance. John-Roger DSS

Harmony – it’s a theme that resonates tonight. I chant my tone and listen to the song in my head:

On an evening in June
Well it lifts me up
When I’m talking to you
On an evening in June

Later in the evening, over late night tea and cookies in Prana’s dining room, I talk to Charles Bernstein: architect, designer, facilitator, minister, labyrinth lover!

What is a labyrinth?

It’s a device for a walking meditation and the purpose for it is to go deeper into ourselves and to experience ourselves as Souls.

How do you think it originated?

The labyrinth predates recorded history. In the medieval period, very highly evolved people, spiritual, mystical, intelligent people devised the idea, maybe out of need, (often things happen out of need) of incorporating it into the great cathedrals. Why did they build the cathedral? To experience heaven on earth. There are so many ways to do that. And the cathedrals are a magnificent expression of that, don’t you think?

What do you believe was specifically behind the creation of the labyrinth in ancient times?

Perhaps because most couldn’t afford to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, because they were poor and some genius thought: ‘we’ll just do a symbolic reenactment of the pilgrimage.’ Now what did they mean by Jerusalem, the Holy City? They meant Heaven.  So what is Heaven? It’s coming to our own Soul, and recognizing the experience of our own Soul.

So it’s symbolic, a metaphor in some ways. What’s the purpose of the labyrinth do you think?

I think it’s a device that becomes a mechanism by which individuals can go deeper into themselves, because of its pattern, its design and its symbolism. Each of the great cathedrals had a labyrinth with its pattern done in a particular way. The only one that remains is the one at Chartres. Why this pattern with this many turns versus that many turns? I can’t say. People have their theories, which may or may not be true—but it works in bringing one into a deeper connection with their true self, in bringing one present to the moment.

Is there a ‘correct’ way to walk the labyrinth?

No, there’s no right way and there’s no wrong way – there are many ways. But following the path is advisable.

So, for example, can you step on or over lines?

Well it’s not designed for that. I think if you don’t follow the path, you are compromising the way it works.  It’s like when you go out and sail a boat, and you know how to sail but if you don’t read the wind right and read the sail correctly, you’re not going to move much; you are not going to get to where you intend. So it’s the same with the labyrinth, it’s very particular; it’s one path with a whole lot of turns that was carefully designed. It’s not as if someone drew some circles and some lines and said ‘let’s just see how this works.’  Who knows how long they spent designing it?

What can you explain about the design?

There’s a whole lot of components to it: geometry, proportion, alternation, harmony, number, harmonics and symbolism. It’s a pattern, a winding path about 40 feet in diameter that goes around. It is circular, but switches back on itself many times, through four different quadrants that bring you into its center. It has eleven concentric circles and four quadrants. The early labyrinths had seven circles. Why four quadrants? I can theorize about all that but I don’t really know.

What do you admire and love about the labyrinth?

I love the precision of it. I love the fact that there were human beings with the spiritual attunement and conscious awareness to create and put it into that form a specific pattern so people can have their own experiences with it.

What can you share about your own experience?

Sometimes I have walked the labyrinth and nothing has happened at all; sometimes I just feel a sense of peace. I have personally never had one profound, deep experience. So for me, one of the challenges is to walk it without any expectation (laughs). Sometimes I guess I am not totally honest and I am hoping or expecting that something terrific will happen ‘this time’. But on the other hand, there’s a certainty to it that I really appreciate. It is what it is. There’s one way in and one way out—the turns are always the same. And there’s something comforting about that.

Why would you recommend that we walk the labyrinth at Prana?

It’s another tool for awakening. John-Roger has given us many, many tools. He didn’t design this but he attuned to it, he recognized the value of it and he said ‘maybe we should get one’ and then we built one. For me it’s a moving meditation. It’s different from sitting and chanting my tone, because I am moving my body. It’s meditative. It’s very calming. I can imagine my body being moved by Spirit so that I just follow along, as if I’m not even walking along the path of my own volition. That would be a wonderful experience! Maybe I will experience that and maybe I never will. Maybe it’s just one of my expectations. But I sense that it could happen. Yet even if it doesn’t happen to me, I sense that this device, this pattern has that possibility built into it. That’s the brilliance of the design. As a designer myself, it’s just astounding to me.

From Carol Jones, Director of Visitor Services:

People are asking, “When’s the next Sacred Mysteries of the Labyrinth evening!?”

Join us on Tuesday August 29, 7:30pm to once again take advantage of the pure and magical sacred geometry of the labyrinth!

Tuesday, June 20, 7:30pm, An Evening of Gratitude is sure to bring lots of joy, enthusiasm and peace as we experience the value and power of holding a consciousness of gratitude.

July and August Tuesday evenings are also chock-full of heart-opening opportunities. Welcome everyone!.
Go to to register.

1 thought on “AN EVENING IN JUNE: Sacred Mysteries of the Labyrinth, A Candlelight Labyrinth Walk”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *