Join us as we walk the giant Labyrinth at the Washington National Cathedral. Walking the Labyrinth is as much an ancient form of "walking prayer" as a "prayful pilgrimage." The National Cathedral's labyrinth is a replica of the one found in the famous Chartres Cathedral in France. The Labyrinth is especially important for those of us looking to find concrete 21st Century spiritual practices that go along with the "new kind of Christianity" we are reading about in books by Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, Curt Thompson, and Diana Butler Bass! Many people find the practice of walking this prayer path and it's accompanying music (flute or harp) to be deeply moving, restful, and spiritually enriching. The Labyrinth is a great way to experiment with new ways of encountering the divine!
The National Cathedral suffered damage in last August's earthquake but now has reopened. The Labyrinth in located in the main Nave (the center part) of the Cathedral, but we will meet in the Narthex at first. (You have to walk through the admission line, but tell them you are there for a program not a sightseer, I don't think you have to pay the admission fee that way.) The Narthex is the 20-foot space between the outer entrance of the Cathedral and the inner doors of the sanctuary itself where the Labyrinth is sketched on the floor.
If you want to arrive early and explore the space yourself (or do a practice walk on the Labyrinth by yourself), feel free to do so yourself. The Cathedral typically has a number of other events (lectures, etc.) during the monthly Labyrinth night. Unless there is an enormous crowd of people, our spiritual walk usually should take about 20 or 30 minutes. There is usually an instrumentalist playing meditative music for those walking the circle.
About the Cathedral: The Washington National Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world (the 6th largest according to some sources), and one of the most fascinating buildings in Washington, DC. It's worth a trip to see and experience. They have an organized Labyrinth walk once a month.
About the history of the Labyrinth: The origins of this spiritual practice are shrouded in the mists of history but seem to have been around as early as 300 AD. By the Middle Ages, the Labyrinth was a way people could go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (and experience the spiritual benefits of that journey) without leaving their native regions.
More Details: As you will see, the Washington National Cathedral is a complicated building, especially if you are driving and parking, so I've included information below on Metro arrangements, finding parking, the Nave, and more information on what to expect as you walk the Labyrinth itself. I invite you to experience the journey to the Cathedral & Labyrinth as part of the pilgrimage itself!
Metro: The Tenleytown/AU metro stop (red line) is about 1 mile north from the Cathedral on Wisconsin Ave. Write in your RSVP comment line if you want to carpool with others from the metro stop at around 7:10PM. Maybe we can get someone to pick up people from the metro at 7:10PM. Or you can take the bus going south along Wisconsin Ave. from the metro stop (if you miss the car ride or want to arrive early).
Parking: Cathedral has an underground parking garage off of Wisconsin Ave. $10 fee (click here for more info)
Program Schedule for Evening: There are usually four other related events and discussion groups that take place before, during, and after the Labyrinth Walk (click here for the link). You are welcome to check out these other events also.
What is a Labyrinth?: Basic information (see above link).
Map of the Cathedral: Basic outlay of the Cathedral to figure out where the Nave and the Narthex are! (clink here).