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Exploring Portland Labyrinths: An A-Mazing Journey

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Note: This is the second in a series of Opednews articles by Meryl Ann Butler about labyrinths.  Previous articles are listed at the end of this article.


Photo: Meryl Ann Butler

Portland, Oregon, is home to at least 50 labyrinths, according to The Labyrinth Society's Labyrinth Locator . http://labyrinthlocator.com/

Labyrinths differ in design from mazes, and are nearly opposite in function. A maze offers several paths to choose from, and making one's way through a maze therefore engages logic and analytical processes, and is focused on achieving a particular outcome. Mazes often have walls designed to obscure the view of the correct path.

A labyrinth is has only one path, so there are no choices to be made. Therefore, there is no need for walls or hedges to obscure the view, and most labyrinths are flat, or relatively so. Walking the labyrinth is not done to achieve a goal, but in order to experience the journey. Most people report experiencing a feeling of peace, joy, or wellbeing as a result of walking the labyrinth's path.

Although there are two primary types of labyrinths, Classical and Chartres-style, many new designs have sprung up from the creativity of labyrinthophiles in the last two decades.

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The annual TLS Labyrinth Society Gathering was held in the greater metropolitan Portland area at McMenamins Historic Edgefield, in Troutdale, Oct 8-10, 2009. Attendees were offered the opportunity to tour five local labyrinths on the day following the event.

Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth

12003 NE Shaver St, Portland 97220

www.peacelabyrinth.wordpress.com


Photo: Meryl Ann Butler

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The creation of a labyrinth can bring members of the community together, as evidenced by the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth project. It was built in 2007-2008 on the grounds of Parkrose High School, which has a diverse student body of over 1000 students speaking over 30 languages.


Photo: Meryl Ann Butler

Built as a joint effort between students, staff and community members, over 200 volunteers worked on the 78' diameter outdoor labyrinth, which offers views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.

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http://www.merylannbutler.com

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had (more...)
 

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As usual, your photos and words made me feel like ... by Gail Davis on Thursday, Oct 29, 2009 at 3:52:49 PM
Meryl Ann,Thank you for posting that. I've recentl... by Jim Arnold on Monday, Nov 2, 2009 at 7:00:30 PM
I'm glad you liked the article! The Labyrinth Soci... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Nov 2, 2009 at 10:49:42 PM