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Abstract

Di Williams’s book Labyrinth - landscape of the soul. (2011) states that labyrinths have been known to the human race for well over 4000 years. They seem to have emerged and re-emerged in several time waves and in slightly differing forms throughout this period. The various forms of labyrinth have a long history, stretching back thousands of years. As a primeval archetype they occur in many parts of the world and in almost all religious traditions. The term is of ancient Greek origin, and the labyrinth in the palace of Knossos in Crete figures in Greek mythology. It is found in Hindu and Hopi images among many others. In Christian usage, a labyrinth was constructed in stone in the floor of Charters cathedral near Paris, around the year 1200. The faithful could make a pilgrimage journey to the cathedral and complete it by walking the labyrinth as the final symbol of a journey to the Holy Land. Having historical, cultural, and religious roots, humans have been walking the path of the labyrinth for centuries be it on the beach or in a cathedral.

Labyrinth are experiencing a revival in modern life, showing up everywhere from universities, retreat centres, rehabilitation centres and hospitals, to prisons and back garden and bog landscapes. The process of walking the labyrinth is in response to the growing felt need for a spirituality to counter the materialism and chaos of our time. This research focus on a comparative study of the visitor’s experience of walking a spiritual labyrinth in Ireland with that in Lithuania.

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