Three Fold Path
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There are many approaches to the labyrinth. One Christian approach to the labyrinth is based on the "threefold path"* of Purgation, Illumination, and Union. These represent three stages in a labyrinth walk.
1. Releasing (Purgation). From the entrance to the goal is the path of shedding or "letting go." There is a release and an emptying of worries and concerns.
2. Receiving (Illumination). At the center there is illumination, insight, clarity, and focus. It is here that you are in a receptive, prayerful, meditative state.
3. Integrating (Union). Empowerment and taking ownership. The path out is that of becoming grounded and integrating the insight. It is being energized and making what was received manifest in the world.
There are three stages but one path, and it is different for everyone.
"Palms Up, Palms Down"
These three stages can be symbolized with a "palms down, palms up" approach to walking the labyrinth.
"Palms down" symbolizes release
or letting go while "palms up" indicates receiving. Enter the labyrinth and walk
to the center with palms down and center your thoughts on releasing conflictual issues and
concerns in your life. When you reach the center turn your palms up to be receptive to
insight. As you walk out of the labyrinth keep your palms up to receive strength and
guidance to make your insight manifest. As you leave the labyrinth turn to face the center
and bring you palms together for a prayerful end to your walk.