What are Intentional Labyrinths?
The Art of Form and Function in Labyrinth Design
Labyrinths are ancient tools that were created thousands of years ago and in many cultures. A labyrinth is a pattern that is either walked or traced with the hand and has only one path to the center and a single path out. There are no decisions to be made along the path other than the initial decision to follow the pattern. Because of this single and clear path, labyrinths are tools for meditation, contemplation, healing, creativity, and more.
Labyrinths are patterns, and patterns are essential to the natural world and our lives. Nature moves through the season, through the rising and setting sun, through birth and death. These patterns are the backdrops of our lives. Within our lives, we follow the patterns of waking and sleep, of daily rituals, of holidays and family events, of work and play. Within our bodies, there are the patterns of the DNA, the movement of nutrients through the body’s systems, the flow of blood, the structures of the brain and eyes. All patterns and more patterns. When we walk or trace a labyrinth, we are following a pattern that can harmonize and heal these patterns within us and harmonize us with the patterns that exist around us.
Regardless of where an historical labyrinth has been found, the intention of the builders and creators is essentially unknown. Yet everything that humans have created and create is done with intention. This intention is always incorporated in some form in what an individual does with the object andor how the individual experiences the object. However, this intention does not have to limit the experience that the individual will have. For example, a standard claw hammer is made to bang nails into wood and to remove them. This intention to hit and pull is built into shape of the head and the angle of the claw. However, a hammer, without changing its inherent intention, can be used for other things. The hammer can be used as paper weight or door stop. Or the hammer can be suspended on a cord and used to determine if something is plumb. Or on its side, the hammer could be spun in place of a spinner in a board game to determine how many steps to take. Regardless, the original intention is always contained within the hammer’s design, and a labyrinth’s design always contains its intention. However, just as the intention of the hammer doesn’t limit us from using the hammer in other ways, the same is true for a labyrinth.
Intentional Labyrinths are labyrinths that are designed to meet such needs and are designed with conscious intention throughout the design and creation process. Conscious intention means that as I create a labyrinth, I have a stated purpose or intent, and this purpose or intent is built into the design. I am conscious of the intention as I cut paper or canvas to size. I am conscious of the intention as I slowly make the original sketch and as I do each of the trial and final sketches as I work out the details from the first sketch. I am conscious as I choose the colors for the labyrinth and as I apply the pigment to the canvas. I am conscious of this intention as I write the handbook. This consistent attention to the labyrinth’s intention results in its energy being infused into the canvas, the penciled line, the applied paint, and the text I create for the handbook.
My ideas for labyrinths come in many ways. The Two Hearts Labyrinth for Mothers and Their Children grew out of a request from a friend who was pregnant and wished to have a more conscious connection with her developing child and to become a more conscious parent. The Mourning and Loss Labyrinth was developed as a result of two events – a family death and a colleague who had been betrayed by a close friend. The As It Grows Labyrinth grew from an individual describing her ongoing struggle with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. These individuals were looking for something specifically for them, something that addressed their particular needs. Other designs, such as The Abundance Labyrinth and the Sea and Sand Labyrinth grew from my observations of our world and our need for abundance in many ways and our need to connect with the natural world.
Intentional Labyrinths are patterns that are created to harmonize and re-integrate the patterns within us with the patterns of the natural world. Sometimes, an Intentional Labyrinth is designed to address a specific individual or individuals, a specific concern or condition, or a viewpoint of self or the world, or a combination of these. However, just as with the hammer example above, these same labyrinths can be used by those who find the energy that they contain resonates with the individual’s intention.
Intentional Labyrinths unify the labyrinth designer’s intention with the power of labyrinths and patterns to enable the individual, who also has an intention, to become more whole and harmonious, more at peace, and more connected to who she or he really is. I invite you to explore the labyrinths that are presented on the website.