Visitors to a handful of special area
gardens and churchyards might find
puzzling, winding paths laid out in
secluded clearings and quiet spaces.
Though they may appear confusing at
first, these are not mazes filled with
tricks or dead ends. Rather, they are
labyrinths used for prayer, medita-tion,
and sometimes just for fun.
A prayer labyrinth is a unicursal
(single) path followed to the center
of a geometric pattern and then
back out again along the same
route. The exact origins are
unknown, but the earliest exam-ples
are at least 4,000 years old.
Employed by various cultures
and religions over the millennia,
labyrinths have reappeared in
the Western cultural landscape
over the past few decades, and the
Cape Fear region has several.
The labyrinth became import-ant
during the Middle Ages. As
the Christian faith spread across
the Middle East and beyond, a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem was
recommended for all the faithful.
When ongoing wars made travel too
dangerous and expensive, the church
introduced the practice of labyrinth
IF A MAZE IS A PLACE YOU GO TO GET LOST, walks as a substitute for the journey to
the Holy Land.
BY MELISSA SUTTON-SENG
january 2020 26