On my recent trip to Tucson’s Sonoran Desert Museum, I took time to walk paths and really enjoy the scenery. I was drawn to a garden area with a spiral path. The path was a labyrinth design and following it I became quietly thoughtful. I was focused on the here and now as I looked at the rocks and plants beside me. Quite the Zen experience!
Later I read the signage about the path and was intrigued. A labyrinth is a combination of a circle and a spiral that meanders into a meaningful experience. There are two types of labyrinth patterns. The archetypal design is classical – about 4000 years old. It is a single pathway that loops back and forth to form 7 circuits around a single goal. The one at the Desert Museum is a variation with 5 circuits. The medieval labyrinth is the second pattern and is very symmetrical. It was developed in the 10th and 11th centuries and has eleven concentric circles. The Chartres labyrinth is an example of this. Wish I had been more aware when I visited Chartres. http://www.lessons4living.com/chartres_labyrinth.htm
Throughout history, labyrinths have symbolized journey and spiritual renewal. Today we are seeing this pattern in churches, schools, gardens, hospital grounds and parks. Wholeness, balance, unity, and development are qualities that have been attached to the concept.
|I came across this one in a campground in the Chiricahua Mountains.|
The ‘man in the maze’ design is a common pattern in the Tohono O’odham Indian culture and is just one of many labyrinth patterns seen throughout history. The baskets with this design are beautiful and the weavers often refer to the pattern as the floor plan to the house of the creator. http://www.rivertradingpost.com/Man%20In%20The%20Maze.htm
Thinking of building your own labyrinth garden? http://www.labyrinthbuilders.co.uk/about_labyrinths/labyrinth_building.html