Abbey ruins to host unique meditative labyrinth
Visitors to Kirkstall Abbey are being invited to follow in the footsteps of Cistercian monks in a new meditative labyrinth.
To celebrate Holy Week, the 12th Century abbey will be giving people the chance for some quiet reflection in the very same place where monks used to meditate hundreds of years ago.
The labyrinth, which is open from today (March 22) until March 27, will be made from twigs blown down by winter storms and will weave around in a circular route, leading visitors into the centre and back out again.
Reverend Jude Smith, pioneer team vicar of the Abbeylands Team said: “For centuries, people of faith and people of none, have walked paths like this.
“We have used them as a tool to help us think, sometimes to focus on something, at other times to help us lose our focus on unhelpful things.
“We have used them as we contemplate the infinite, we have used them as we have sought to find joy in life’s detail. Labyrinths have been walked in joy and sorrow, hope and anger, with faith and with doubt.”
The labyrinth will be set out in the church part of Kirkstall Abbey and will be available to walk through between 10am and 4pm.
Anyone is welcome to come and walk along the path and those who visit are encouraged to add leaves and their own flowers.
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said:
“For hundreds of years, the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey have been a place of tranquility, where people have visited not only to enjoy the surroundings, but to appreciate the peaceful atmosphere.
“It’s wonderful that visitors will be able to keep up that tradition and even participate in the creation of something special and unique for the whole community.”
Written guides will be available at the labyrinth as well as further resources at www.themonastery.org.uk
Anyone who would like to arrange a group visit to the labyrinth can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The labyrinth is suitable for people of all ages and has flat access, with paths wide enough for a wheelchair or pushchair.
In order to retain this as a quiet space for reflection, and for health and safety reasons it is recommended that children are accompanied.