Modern Labyrinths

As we begin to see a resurgence of interest in symbolism and metaphor, it seems natural that there is also a resurgence in the usage of labyrinths.

In the last several decades, labyrinths have become increasingly more popular as tools of a spiritual search. In churches, parks, hospitals and retreat centers around the world, both permanent and temporary labyrinths have been built and continue to be used. Because of wide distribution through a variety of cultures, it appeals not just to Christians, but generally to anyone spiritually seeking, and as such has seen a very broad response across religious boundaries.

Contemporary labyrinths take various forms, from traditional, like the classical seed and the roman or medieval geometric patterns, to artistically unique or intentionally purposeful. The Santa Rosa design is a seven circuit medieval type that incorporates a circular open space for an object. Marty and Debi Kermeen’s Reconciliation labyrinth allows two individuals to walk in mirror image paths, meet and transition across to walk the path just completed by the other. Labyrinths have been designed as heart, animal, fingerprints and in a variety of other forms. The commonality of the modern labyrinth is still in the single path, its complexity and ambiguity.

As exploration of the labyrinth form has varied widely, so also has application. Literature abounds today with ideas of different guided labyrinth “experiences” that range from crisis management to seeking inner peace. Because the symbolism and metaphors that the labyrinth convey have not changed and are as common to us now as they were in ancient times, there is a wide variety of possible applications.