Labyrinths are different from mazes. A maze has branches and dead ends, and is intended to confuse you and get you lost—a labyrinth, on the other hand is unicursal: it only has one path, though that path folds back on itself and winds around in a confusing way. You can’t get lost in a labyrinth (no matter what the minotaur might say about it).
Humans have been drawing labyrinths for thousands of years. The classical seven-circuit labyrinth has been found all over the world but is especially prevalent in certain European neolithic sites. During medieval times the Christian church incorporated labyrinths into the tile floors of cathedrals like Chartes, and congregants would walk them as a spiritual meditation.
Labyrinths are great. If you’ve never walked one, you might be surprised by how they can manipulate your emotions. You think you’re almost at the center, but no! The path doubles back and you find you’ve got another however many circuits. Then just as you think you’ll never get there, suddenly you find yourself at your goal. It’s a good metaphor for life.
The Lady Eight
The Lady Eight is a half mile long geoglyph containing a labyrinth, under contract to be built in Box Elder County, Utah on the north side of the salt flats. She’ll contain about two miles of a walkable and bike able loop track, and a labyrinth in her belly. She will also be an art walk—a venue for outdoor permanent sculpture placed along the track.
Dragon Wyrm Forest at Dreamscapes 2019-2020
Currently running at Dreamscapes in downtown Salt Lake City. It was obvious that participants might need a little time to work up some courage to face this dragon—so it was natural to give them a labyrinth to walk first!
Salt Flats Labyrinth
In late October 2019 we wanted to find out how quickly we could draw out a 60 foot diameter classical seven-circuit labyrinth, so we went out to the flats near Saltair with marked measuring twine, pegs, and rakes. Turns out it takes about half an hour—not too shabby! However, we also discovered that it’s not a great idea to try to fly your drone in the path of a microwave cellphone repeater. The drone survived but none of our aerial shots did.
Dubois, Wyoming, 2019 (under construction)
Currently under construction in Dubois, Wyoming, the Byrd Labyrinth measures 185 feet from wingtip to wingtip. We surveyed and laid out the design on the land in summer 2019 but ran out of time in the season to finish cutting it in. We winterized the layout with fence wire and ground staples and will return in summer 2020 to finalize the work.
Element 11 2015 Twelvefold Temple of the Cosmos
At the Utah regional Burning Man event, Element 11, in summer 2015, we laid out a very simple double-spiral labyrinth around the Temple.
Element 11 2013 Goddess Effigy
Utah Builder Bobby Gittins designed and constructed a triangular castle effigy for the Element 11 festival in 2013. We put the Snake Goddess in the center of it and wrapped a rope light seven-circuit labyrinth around and inside it.