The Tree of Life Labyrinth

  • Peace or Chaos: Perspectives on the Labyrinth

    The origin of our word labyrinth is found in Greek mythology. According to the myth, King Minos of Crete commissioned the famous architect Daedalus to create the Labyrinth. The complex would serve as a prison for the Minotaur, a monster with a human body and a bull’s head. The Labyrinth was so complicated that even Daedalus barely knew how to navigate it. To protect the secrets of the structure, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son, Icarus, in the Labyrinth. However, they both escaped using ingenious wings held together by wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to both the sun or the ocean, in order to keep the wings intact. Icarus, though, disregarded his father’s advice and impetuously flew too close to the sun. He fell to his death when the heat from the sun melted the wax holding his wings together.

  • Reflection and Jubilee: Labyrinths in the Middle Ages

     In the medieval period, labyrinths represented a union of art and design with a cosmological worldview, suggesting a greater harmony in the universe.  A labyrinth has symbolic winding curves, relating to the challenges and difficulties of life. The act of mindfully walking the path purges the walker, allowing him or her to reach illumination. Although labyrinths have origins in Greek mythology, the Roman Catholic Church used the concept in a number of cathedrals throughout the late medieval period.

  • The Tree and the Ocean: Labyrinth as Mandala

     The Tree of Life Labyrinth™ reminds me of Tibetan cosmology, which is depicted in the famous sand mandalas made by Tibetan Buddhist monks. In their religion, at the center of the universe is a pyramid-shaped mountain called Mount Meru (rirab lhungpo, in Tibetan) with precious stones on every face. A great ocean (chi gyatso) surrounds it, and an ancient tree called Yongdö Dölba grows on top. The tree-shape of the labyrinth is like Yongdö Dölba, and the nearby lake like the gyatso.

  • The Tree of Life Labyrinth™

    Labyrinths have mythological origins from classical times. In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church created them for use in both meditation and religious festivals. The Tree of Life Labyrinth™ has a unicursal pattern, with one through-path rather than many. It is reminiscent of Yongdö Dölba, the tree that grows in the center of the sand mandalas made by Tibetan Buddhist monks. As you walk through it, contemplate its design, noting how it affects your experience. The labyrinth at Ariel-Foundation Park was designed by Virginia Ficarra, a Michigan designer of aesthetic and healing environments.

    The Tree of Life Labyrinth