What is a labyrinth?

A labyrinth is a complex and circuitous path that leads from a beginning point to a center.


There are two primary varieties:

  1. A Maze, with repeatedly dividing paths that force the traveler to choose among options, some of which may be dead ends. Other paths may double back on themselves so that the traveler has no assurance of ever reaching the goal and is constantly faced with decisions and frustrations. Simultaneously, when the right path is chosen the traveler may experience the relief and surprise of having reached a goal.
  2. A Meander, with a single, undivided path and no choices to make other than traveling onward through the winding pattern to an assured goal. The meandering pattern may tease the traveler by leading inward, then suddenly outward, but eventually it arrives surely at the goal.

Of meandering labyrinths, the two best-known types are the seven-circuit Cretan pattern (used for the labyrinth at Olcott) and the eleven-circuit pattern on the floor of the cathedral at Chartres (chosen by many churches today). This is the type used to construct the Counseling Center's Labyrinth.