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.).

Listening to the labyrinth: An organic and intuitive inquiry

Sholem, J.

Abstract:  This dissertation explored the experience of walking the labyrinth as a tool for self-reflection. The labyrinth, an archetypal pattern, is a unicursal, meandering spiral which winds into center and back out again. The study used the emerging qualitative methodologies of organic and intuitive inquiries, which consider the researcher the primary research instrument and utilize alternative ways of knowing to study subjective experience. Indepth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 middle-class women (ages 23 to 70; 7 white, 1 African American) who participated in ritualized labyrinth walk included in a conference focusing on compassion. All had a high level of psychological sophistication and were involved in spiritual development.

Participants were asked about their experience in the earth labyrinth, the finger labyrinth (a wooden representation used at the onset of the interview to reinduct an earlier state of consciousness), and intervening related experiences.

Thinking (logical analysis), feeling (affective experience), creative (haiku), and intuitive (dreams and synchronistic experiences) methods were employed in editing the interviews into personal narratives and in generating personal and transpersonal themes. Edited transcripts of the interviews were returned to the participants for validation.  Themes were presented in two categories: the trigger for the theme and the theme itself. A threefold model of pilgrimage (purgation, illumination, and union) was used to conceptualize the themes which included pain, trust, silence, mystery, dual consciousness, healing, relationship, and connection with the divine.

This study demonstrated the experience of walking the labyrinth as (a) a mirror reflecting inner process, (b) a container focusing attention and holding potential for accessing intuition, and (c) a trigger stimulating insight. It also substantiates this as a practice which connects body to spirit, induces altered states of consciousness, inspires transformation and enhances self-reflection. This study serves as foundation for future research on an experience which had been reported only anecdotally. Potential personal, political, and therapeutic uses are suggested.

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