Grace Cathedral is home to not just one but two labyrinths — and to the Modern Labyrinth Movement. Labyrinths have appeared in many cultures since ancient times and in Christian spirituality since the fourth century. We welcome you to our labyrinths as a walking meditation, a spiritual practice or simply an opportunity to calm the mind and enjoy peace, quiet and reflection.
With the cathedral closed and San Francisco focused on community health, we have a unique opportunity to experience community, faith and one another in new ways. We invite you to stay connected with Grace through our online events, blog and social media.
The labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition.
Grace Cathedral has an indoor and an outdoor labyrinth. The indoor one is available to you during cathedral hours, and the latter is available to you 24/7! Occasionally, a special event may affect access to the indoor labyrinth, so please call our main number if you are making a special trip to visit our labyrinths.
We offer monthly candlelight labyrinth walks with beautiful live music. These events are typically held from 6 – 8 pm on the second Friday of each month. They offer a unique and relaxed experience that you can sample on a drop-in basis. Check the calendar to find the next walk.
In addition to being available for walking on a daily basis and during the monthly candlelight walks, our labyrinths play a regular role in the cathedral’s life. Yoga on the indoor labyrinth occurs each Tuesday at 6:15 pm. On Sundays, the evening Eucharist occurs on the indoor labyrinth at 6 pm.
The Labyrinth Guild
The Labyrinth Guild draws volunteers from the cathedral congregation, as well as the Bay Area labyrinth community. The Guild supports the weekly Friday peace walks and the monthly candlelight labyrinth walks. We welcome volunteers who are trained labyrinth facilitators and individuals who have an interest in the labyrinth as a spiritual practice. To learn more about the Guild and what is involved in volunteering with it, email or telephone us at 415-749-6300.
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How to walk the labyrinth
Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has just one path, so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It is a two-way path, so you may meet others coming or going on the path.
Three stages of the walk
- Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
- Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
- Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, 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 for which you feel your soul is reaching.
Guidelines for the walk
Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. Since the path is two-way, those going in will meet those coming out. You may “pass” people or let others step around you. Do what feels natural. Walk the labyrinth with an open mind and an open heart.
The Modern Labyrinth Movement was founded at Grace Cathedral! Learn more.