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.