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Path of Peace and Magic: World Labyrinth Day, May 4

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Debi Kermeen dancing the Nature-Inspired painted canvas labyrinth by Labyrinths in Stone, used with permission

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

May 4th, 2013 is the fifth annual World Labyrinth Day (WLD)  and  people around the world will participate by walking labyrinths. An initiative of The Labyrinth Society (TLS), World Labyrinth Day is celebrated every year on the first Saturday in May.

TLS World Labyrinth Day Coordinator, Carol House, encourages participants to "Walk as One at 1" by walking the labyrinth at 1 pm in local time zones in order to "be part of a rolling wave of peaceful energy" around the Earth.

A variety of events during past WLDs have been held at locations around the world, including the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., public parks, churches, a maximum-security women's prison, and at many private labyrinths in the United States, Canada, England, the Bahamas, France, Spain, New Zealand, China, South Africa, and Australia, among others.

Two labyrinth styles by Meryl Ann Butler

Two main styles of labyrinths are the classical (or Cretan) and Chartres (Medieval).

17-month-old Judah romps in Alex Champion's labyrinth at Huntington Gardens. by Photo Credit: Darin Mark
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People of all ages enjoy walking the magical labyrinth. 17-month-old Judah romps in Alex Champion's Earthworks labyrinth at Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, CA.  Judah's dad said, "thank you, Alex. My boy truly loved his time in your labyrinth."

Alex Champion's labyrinth at Huntington Gardens, 1999 by Alex Champion

I asked Jeff and Kimberly Saward of Thundersley, England, co-directors of Labyrinthos: the Labyrinth Resource Centre, Photo Library and Archive,  to share some basic information with us about labyrinths.

Jeff is a world authority on the history and development of labyrinths and mazes, the author of Magical Paths and Labyrinths & Mazes, and editor of Caerdroia -- the Journal of Mazes and Labyrinths.

Magical Paths by Jeff Saward by Jeff Saward
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MAB: Jeff, thank you for joining us! Can you share with us the difference between a maze and a labyrinth, and tell us how long they have been in use?

JS: Yes, thanks for inviting me! Labyrinths have a history that is as circuitous as their designs might suggest, and although they are often confused with mazes, their forms hide an important difference:

Mazes invariably have choices in their pathways, and often contain dead-ends. These multi-cursal (many-path) creations first appeared around 500-600 years ago for the express purpose of perplexing visitors, and are familiar as traditional hedge mazes, and more modern installations created from a variety of materials in parks, gardens and other attractions.

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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 since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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