Frequently Asked Questions

When people call the Labyrinth Society with questions, they usually want answers to the questions on this page.

What is a labyrinth? See About Labyrinths

How are they used? People walk the labyrinth for many reasons. Some do it to relax, some as a walking meditation, some just for fun. There are benefits to walking a labyrinth, which are being studied by our Research Committee. See the Research area of this website for more information.

Aren't they strictly some sort of New Age phenomenon? No. Labyrinths are ancient. The labyrinth was a central feature in many of the European Roman Catholic churches in the middle ages and many of these still exist today. The most famous of these remaining labyrinths is at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France. The labyrinth at Chartres was built around 1200. It was walked as a pilgrimage and/or for repentance. As a pilgrimage, it was a journey to become closer to God. When used for repentance, the pilgrims would walk on their knees. Sometimes this eleven-circuit labyrinth would serve as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The cross is at the center of the pattern of the labyrinth and is used in the construction as a guide. Even today, churches with labyrinths encourage people to walk the labyrinth during Lent and Advent.

Where did they come from originally? Labyrinths have been found all over the world dating from the earliest antiquity. Their origins are lost in the mists of time.

How many labyrinths are there in the United States (or Canada, or New York, or wherever you live)? We can't tell you for certain, but a good way to find out is to check out the World Wide Labyrinth Locator and search for the area for which you want statistics. The Locator will give you the number of labyrinths that have been entered into the site. There will be many more labyrinths than have been entered, but the Locator will give you a base number to start from. You will know there are at least as many as that number.