Labyrinths in Places

Labyrinths are found in many places. Some are permanent and some are brought in temporarily for events. The challenge for labyrinth enthusiasts is often how to get permission to introduce a labyrinth into a specific environment. This section of the website examines some of the places where labyrinths may be found, the benefits of having them there, how they are used, and how people were able to install them there in the first place!

3. What Kind of Labyrinth?

Broadly speaking, there are five options, with some overlap between these.

1. A temporary, portable labyrinth such as a canvas that can be spread out on the floor. They may be made professionally (see TLS Marketplace for examples) or made by a team of volunteers - not necessarily with a professional finish, but such labours of love can be much appreciated.

2. A permanent labyrinth. These vary from fully paved installations to labyrinths that have a lighter impact on the environment and may overlap with the 'ephemeral' category below.

3. An ephemeral labyrinth, short-term or otherwise, that may draw on local materials and does not involve permanent paving. This can be as simple as a labyrinth mown in grass, laid out with rope or marked with surveyor paint. 'Found materials' can be used indoors and outdoors, and tape is also a good solution indoors. The Labyrinth Society provides advice on drawing classical and medieval labyrinths.

  • The Circle Women's Centre, Brescia University College, Canada: rocks on grass
  • Southern Cross University, Australia: chalked labyrinth

4. Finger labyrinths. Also known as table-top labyrinths, these may be permanently fixed in place (often near a permanent outdoor labyrinth) or may be hand-held or used at a desk or in other classroom situations. They are especially useful for people with mobility difficulties; for classroom settings when a walkable labyrinth is not an option; and as a means to enhance a labyrinth walk event. Choices include precisely cut wood labyrinths; labyrinth patterns on small pieces of cloth; and paper labyrinths which may be laminated. There are numerous sources for these. Students may also be interested in making their own finger labyrinths.

5. Other labyrinths, labyrinths that defy definition and remind us how creatively the concept of the labyrinth can be used.

  • Labyrinths that are unique to their academic discipline: for example the labyrinth designed for horses and people, created by Lisa Gidlow Moriarty for a nature-based therapy workshop at the University of Minnesota's Leatherdale Equine Center
  • Temporary installations such as the labyrinths of light (select 'Light' on Projects page) created by artist Jim Buchanan, at the Hochschule für Technik, Stuttgart, Germany, the University of Nottingham, England and Writtle University College (Essex, England)

Prepared for the Labyrinth Society by Jan Sellers, lead editor of Learning with the Labyrinth (2016). Web pages revised 2018 by Jan Sellers, Jodi Lorimer, and Diane Rudebock. Visit Jan Sellers' website for more information.