This article is part of a series on labyrinths. Additional information, especially about the history of labyrinths, is available in many of the previous articles listed below. Author, Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler, is a founding member of The Labyrinth Society and has been building labyrinths since 1992.
So, what is a labyrinth, anyway?
Labyrinths are different from mazes, although the terms are often used interchangeably. To labyrinthophiles, the two differ greatly in definition, design and 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.
Two of the primary labyrinth patterns include Chartres and Classical (sometimes called "Cretan") styles. Labyrinths may be temporary or permanent, round or square, indoor or outdoor, and those made for walking may be made of a wide variety of materials from canvas or carpet to rocks, sand, paving stones or even masking tape.
A labyrinth has only one path. Therefore, there is no need for walls or hedges to obscure the view, and most labyrinths, unlike mazes, 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 unicursal path.
The Labyrinth Society (TLS) invites you to 'Walk as One at 1"(pm) on World Labyrinth Day, joining other participants around the globe in creating a wave of peaceful energy washing across the time zones as you walk a labyrinth. Many of these participants are "meeting" online. Individuals or groups can get involved in private or public walks on a full-sized labyrinth in some areas, although, this year, many are participating by or letting their fingers do the walking on a finger labyrinth.
If you'd like to try this yourself, you can use a printed paper labyrinth. You can use just one of the labyrinth images, or, to enhance brain integration, l like to use mirror images of three-circuit labyrinths, as shown below. You can download the printable pdf , "Fingerwalking Dual Labyrinths Pattern and Instructions," here.
For more information on labyrinths please see the previous articles in this series listed below, and the TLS info page.
I visited with BJ Mosher, a labyrinth builder and member of The Labyrinth Society who was trained by Dr. Lauren Artress as a certified Veriditas Labyrinth in 2009. Since 1977 B.J. and her husband Alex, have owned and operated the Treasure Island Jewelry and Gift Shop and The Realm Shift Healing Energy Center in Alex Bay, NY.
Meryl Ann Butler: Thanks for visiting with us, BJ! Along with so many other labyrinth enthusiasts, you and I have offered outdoor labyrinth walks on World Labyrinth Day, but this year is different! I'm offering an online interactive walk. And you are sort of "captive in Paradise""but I guess that is better than being back in NY, which is where you'd be if the schedule had gone as planned" I guess there are plenty of New Yorkers who would love to be "detained" in the Bahamas with you right now!
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