Labyrinth Research Bibliography

Bibliography of Studies Related to Labyrinth Research (.pdf 517K)

This downloadable Bibliography has all entries sorted by author. The entries in the bibliography have been categorized below by topic and also by type (doctoral dissertation, journal article etc.).

Ariadne's thread: The transformative potential of labyrinth walking

Saward, K. L.

Abstract: Labyrinth walking may provide a unique experience of direct interaction with an archetype and is an opportunity for engaging the imagination. This research explores the experience of labyrinth walking as it is expressed through imagery and story in order to address the question, How can walking the labyrinth potentially be transformative? Imaginal Inquiry was used to test the hypothesis that imagery reflective of the walker’s core issues and deep values would be evoked by walking a labyrinth Literature pertaining to the labyrinth was reviewed, first from historical and mythological perspectives, then by considering it as a cross-cultural symbol. The review subsequently focused on the experience of labyrinth walking before broadening the scope and considering imaginal perspectives on the labyrinth. Study participants, all of whom had prior experience with labyrinth walking, met twice to walk the labyrinth. Exploring their experiences through art and narrative, they reflected on the question, If you were to metaphorically step back and view your life as a huge and artistic story panel or mural, how would the imagery from your walk fit into that picture? Images generated were categorized and participants were invited to reflect on the themes. The major learnings, derived by reviewing journal entries, artwork, and interview transcriptions, indicate that 1) reflection on the labyrinth walking experience revealed the presence of collective experience and story; 2) a significant amount of imagery was evoked by labyrinth walking; 3) the collective imagery suggested a cycle of archetypal themes; 4) the imagery and stories presented by the participants reflected their core issues and deep values. Labyrinth walking was shown to be a psychologically significant practice. This study can serve as a foundation for future research on labyrinths in specific settings. It concludes by considering the viability of implementing the practice in both clinical and community settings.

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