August 20, 2008

Labyrinth: A Maze or Something More?

Some use the terms labyrinth and maze interchangeably but there are differences. A maze, like a corn maze, is a puzzle of multiple paths, dead ends and separate entrances and exits.

Looking at the picture above, you will notice that the labyrinth's winding pathway does not have dead ends and is not hidden by high walls. In fact, you can see the layout of the entire design at a single glance. Ultimately, where a maze is a fun way to lose yourself, a labyrinth can be a way to find what you have lost.

There is only one path in a labyrinth and it takes you to the center of the circuitous design. To exit, you must reverse your steps and the entrance becomes the exit. A walker who allows her mind to become peaceful as she travels the labyrinth's path will experience an inner adventure. According to, "...there are three stages to the walk: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center and returning when you follow the return path back out of the labyrinth. Symbolically, and sometimes actually, you are taking back out into the world that which you have received. "

Dating back as far as 5,000 years, labyrinths are found around the globe in many cultures and many spiritual traditions. To find a labyrinth near you, use VeriditasWorld-wide labyrinth locator.

If you are housebound or you need a break at the office, try a virtual labyrinth walk. Labyrinth Online offers two virtual options. The first is modeled after the famous design found in France's Chartres Cathedral. You can “walk” this labyrinth by visually following the ball along the path. The second, classical labyrinth, offers a shorter virtual walk.

Photo credit: Roberta Sautter, Veriditas
updated 1/19/2012

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