The labyrinth at Serra Retreat, a Franciscan Retreat in the hills above Malibu. I spent the afternoon there with an old friend.
I’m one of the many who confused a labyrinth with a maze, maybe because of the old story of the Minotaur (examination of that story, it is said, results in the conclusion that the Minotaur was indeed trapped in a maze).
Apparently labyrinths have been around forever, and appear in places that had no connection to each other (and thus couldn’t have transferred the work) – at the same time as the classical Greek labyrinth there were nearly identical Native American labyrinths, and the same pattern appears in 2500 BC India…
According to wikipedia (the great source of lowest-common-denominator public knowledge) The medieval “labyrinth symbolized a hard path to God with a clearly defined center (God) and one entrance (birth)…Labyrinths can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel.“
Sculptor Robin Murez recently built a cute little labyrinth in the Venice ‘hood. Churchgoers there do not see it as a hard path to God. They see it as some pagan thing that will cause people to walk around in circles instead of come inside and pray, says an article in the LA Times