We invite our guests to walk Rachael’s Labyrinth a circular pathway 60 feet in diameter laid out in local fieldstone in one of the Inn’s meadows. It is one of the largest meditation labyrinths in the United States.
The labyrinth is named in honor of Dr. Rachael Young who was its inspiration. Dr. Young and her family purchased the Inn from its founder Douglas Bebb in 1979. In her years as Buckhorn Innkeeper, Rachael sought to continue and to advance Doug Bebb’s original ideals for the Inn– to provide a haven for travelers, a respite from the stresses of everyday life, an opportunity to renew their spirits in the tranquility of nature’s bounty.
Dr. Young had an abiding interest in giving people opportunities to explore their spiritual selves and to reconnect to nature. She is one of the founders of Knoxville’s Wellness Center which assists cancer patients and their families in coping with cancer. She has a special interest in the effect of meditation on physical and spiritual well-being, and it was this interest which led to the creation of the labyrinth at Buckhorn Inn.
Labyrinths have provided a vehicle for meditation and prayer in cultures around the world for thousands of years. There are now more than 900 labyrinths of various designs in use in the U.S. Many are in health care facilities because the process of walking and meditation has been found to have a positive effect on people suffering from disease.
Rachael’s Labyrinth is laid out in a circular pattern, each circle inside the other. Walkers start at the outside and meditate or pray while walking in circles until reaching the center. Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends or tricks, just a single path that leads the walker to the center and out again. The knowledge that one will get to the center helps focus and quiet the mind.
A Pilgrim’s Path
To walk the Labyrinth is to take a Pilgrim’s Path. It offers an opportunity to shed the cares and worries of everyday life, to reflect on the true meaning in life, and to discover new truths. Opportunities for reflection are so rare in our society that they take on an extraordinary value for many people when encountered. The opportunity to stand inside a sheltered space and see the path one is walking is a blessing not to be taken lightly.
There is no prescribed way to walk the Labyrinth. Approach it in any way you feel appropriate – as long as you are respectful of this special place. We have several books, pamphlets and other literature about the use of labyrinths as a spiritual tool and about meditation and prayer.
The Labyrinth at Buckhorn Inn is open to people of all faiths and creeds from sunrise to sunset.