There is good evidence that the introduction of the labyrinth to western religious practice was rooted (in particular at Chartres) in druidic paganism. When the labyrinth is used directly in celebration of the Winter Solstice, its connection with druidry, witchcraft, and neo-paganism is blatant. In the case of an upcoming event to which I object, the additional link to Native American spirituality (which is in no way, shape or form Christian) through the presiding leadership of a Mohawk elder adds insult to injury so to speak.

I am not (for example) against the Christmas tree despite its pagan roots, as some on the far right might be. That symbol has been thoroughly secularized if not Christianized in recent generations. But a few years ago we had occasion to know a wiccan family who were quite clear that as Christians celebrate Christmas and Jews celebrate Hanukah, they celebrate the Winter Solstice - with plenty of history on their side. So my knowledge is personal as well as evidential.

My searches on the subject of the labyrinth as associated with the solstice produced some very explicit wiccan ("the craft") and self-declared pagan references as well as several Episcopal USA references. Its association with our ecclesiastical institutions does not sanctify the labyrinth or its use in celebrating the ancient pagan festival of the Solstice any more than a declaration of our General Synod could ever sanctify same-sex marriage. Rather, these things show amongst many other examples how far departed are some of our so-called churches from Christian faith, not to mention Anglicanism.

Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is, I am afraid, a prime example of an ecclesiastical organization that is no longer a Christian church. Their Web site declares "We believe in one God, known to us in Jesus Christ, also known by different names in different traditions." - excuse me, but what happened to I Timothy 2:5? What happened to the 18th Article of Religion? (for relevant commentary on the latter, click here)

One useful analysis of the recent pseudo-church fascination with labyrinths is here. Another revealing item - a tour advertisement here - announces "Join this Pilgrimage of a Lifetime to the Seven Sacred Shrines of the Goddess that were once patronized by the Knights Templar... (includes Chartres Cathedral)... At each shrine participate in the sacred rites once performed there by the Templars to awaken Gnostic, or intuitive awareness within, and immerse yourself in the resident Goddess energies that have pervaded these holy places since the days of the Celtic Druids." Dear Lord, protect us.

Other illuminating material can be found via Google searches, for example using the search "Chartres labyrinth druid pagan".

There are many amongst us that bear the Anglican or Episcopal label but in fact practice a different faith, one that has been described as "North American post-modern folk religion". This fact far more than homosexuality per se, has driven an iron wedge between our North American provinces and the Anglican Communion. It is time to choose - whom will we serve? Israel learned long ago (the hard way) that it is impossible to both serve the Lord God and worship Baal.

In Christ's service,

Norman G. Henderson, CDP