Labyrinths date back 4000 years or more, and are often unicursal singular meandering paths leading to a centre. They are ancient architypes with possibly the oldest surviving labyrinth found in a rock carving at Luzzanas Sardinia.( 2500-2000 BC). One finds the classic or seven circuit labyrinth on Greek coins from Knossos , Crete ( 5th to 3rd century BC ). They are found in almost every ancient civilization in some way or form but remain mysterious as we do not know the origin of their design. Herodotus born about 484 BC is the first person known to have used the term “labyrinth.”
In medieval times labyrinths are found in churches with Chartres Church in France one of the most well preserved ones of its time. They were thought to be used for pilgrimages in times of war or famine when long journeys to holy sites where not possible.
In modern times labyrinth are found in schools, hospitals, churches, community settings and on private properties. Many people confuse a labyrinth with a maze. They have contrary to a maze a well-defined path that leads to a centre and back again. There are no puzzles, dead ends, obstacles or intersecting paths.
Labyrinths have become a blueprint for transformation. Saint Augustine said “Solvitur ambulando…. It is solved by walking” The winding paths of the labyrinth offer a place for the psyche to meet the soul.
“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Labyrinths are used as meditation and mindfulness tools. They aid with mental focus, psychological and spiritual growth, and are places for reflection. Because there is both a kinaesthetic and an introspective process during a labyrinth walk they function as a complete mind-body interactive activity. During therapeutic proses they become a metaphor for what is happening in your life.