What is a Labyrinth?
In English usage, a labyrinth is a maze. In Greek mythology, Daedalus built an elaborate labyrinth for the king in order to hold the monster known as the Minotaur. Daedalus made his labyrinth so complicated that he himself had trouble escaping it once he had built it.
Labyrinths have appeared in many cultures since ancient times and in Christian spirituality since the fourth century. In medieval times, labyrinths began to appear on church walls and floors around 1000. The most famous medieval labyrinth, with great influence on later practice, was created in Chartres Cathedral around 1220. Although this is far from certain, mazes on cathedral floors may have originated in the medieval period as an alternative to pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The Labyrinth at Regeneration
The labyrinth sits at the east end of the church in an open field. It is free and open to the public year round at all hours and is easily accessible. The church welcomes everybody to meditate and reflect at the labyrinth. Please sign the register at the entrance to the field.
In 2005, a parishioner at the Church of the Regeneration visited San Francisco. During this visit, he went to Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill. There he saw a beautiful labyrinth and was inspired to suggest that we have one at Regeneration. Howland Murphy – the inspiration for this project – agreed to donate all the materials.
Under the guidance of another parishioner, David Pearson, a former city planner, the parishioners built the labyrinth one summer day in 2006.
On October 7 of that year, Father Michael Shafer dedicated the labyrinth with a short ceremony and the parishioners celebrated with a cookout on the lawn.