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Unicursal Labyrinths

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make a labyrinthicon About Unicursal Labyrinths

  • Labyrinths are geometric unicursal patterns that define sacred space. There is only one entrance to a path marked with designated areas for meditative pauses that leads to a predetermined destination, usually the center of the design. Many people use labyrinths as a spiritual pilgrimage to a sacred mental place.
  • Maze: are muticursal patterns which are more complex with several paths or branches and dead ends through which the solver must find a route to the destination.

Unicursal Labyrinths Three Main Categories

There are three main categories for unicursal labyrinths:

  • Roman labyrinth - Classical or Cretan, four sectored symmetrical standard layout
  • Church labyrinth - Chartres or Medieval style
  • Simple alternative transitive (SAT) - these are the simplest labyrinths

Labyrinths have only one winding path that leads from the entrance of the design to the center of the labyrinth then back to the entrance. Labyrinths frequently have designated stopping points along the way for prayer or meditation.

How are Labyrinths Made and Used?

 

Both mazes and labyrinths can be created with many different materials. They can be cut into the ground such as turf Labyrinths, built with walls and rooms, or simply drawn into sand, on sidewalks or driveways with chalk, built with mirrors, rocks, corn stalks, hay bales, books or with different colored paving stones, string, sticks or paving tiles such as bricks. Permanent labyrinth are created using concrete, marble or granite. Many semi-permanent labyrinths are grown using flowers, dwarf shrubs and other hedges or other foliage planted in a labyrinth pattern and maintained by gardeners. Labyrinths can also be drawn or painted on the outside walls of churches, frequently near the entrance ways.

Some people make labyrinths by sewing fabrics and carpet materials together. Many stone labyrinths can be found in Lapland, Finland and Sweden.

Labyrinths and mazes created out of crops or otherwise temporary and seasonal materials are frequently promoted as seasonal tourist attractions. Two good examples of crop mazes are the Dole Plantation Pineapple maze in Hawaii, and the Carter County Fairgrounds Corn Maze in Kentucky.

Labyrinths and mazes can also be printed or drawn on to be followed by a pencil or fingertip such as with the images on this web site. Make a bird seed maze or labyrinth and watch the birds flitter as they eat the delicious treat.

Some institutions use labyrinths and mazes:

  • peace - are built to help promote religious tolerance and peace and raise awareness about other religions, cultures, and communities
  • goddess - earliest labyrinths are through to have been used to worship the great goddesses
  • church - many churches use labyrinths for spiritual practices and activities and to build community and attract new members
  • school - children play and dance on labyrinths as well as learn relaxation techniques
  • prison - prisons are stressful places. Labyrinths can help provide calming relief from stress.
  • hospital - hospitals, health care facilities, spas and wellness centers use labyrinths for relaxation, support groups, and therapy treatments
  • tattoo - some people have labyrinths tattooed onto their skin
  • text - Christian designers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries used word manuscript labyrinths to meditate and teach scripture