Labyrinths

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol of cosmic order. Labyrinths can be small artistic designs meant to be traced with the eye or a finger, or -- like the ones shown here -- big enough to actually walk through (indeed, I have personally walked all of the labyrinths shown here). Although they appear similar at first glance, a labyrinth is not a maze. There are no puzzles, tricks, or dead ends here. This may be hard to understand at first, because modern life trains us to expect tests, concrete goals and destinations. The journey through the labyrinth is a metaphorical one, mirroring the longer journey through life. It is also a tool for meditation; by forcing us to slow down on an unambiguous, predetermined path, the labyrinth forces vision inward. Outside cares and worries are left behind; time itself falls away. The journey brings one to a center, both physically and personally, then back into the world. What is to be found in there? Some have spoken of peace and a quieted mind, a contemplative or enlightened state. But the experience is perhaps beyond words, and even if the words existed they are no substitute for the experience itself. Like life, the labyrinth is a path that each must walk themselves.

Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image.



Unity Church of Prescott

145 S. Arizona Avenue, Prescott, Arizona

This labyrinth is an unusual design; the pathway is made of flat stones, separated by strips of hard rubber edging. Located at the northwest corner of the main church building, is accessed from the sidewalk or the church parking lot, and is open to the public at all times.
Last visited: May 2010.

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St. Rose Parish

2825 W. Rose Canyon Circle, Anthem, Arizona

Along this path one will find dedicatory tags and stones inscribed with Biblical sayings. Located behind the building at the north end of the church parking lot; open to the public at all times.
Last visited: June 2010.

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Spirit in the Desert Lutheran Retreat Center

7415 E. Elbow Bend Road, Carefree, Arizona

This labyrinth is between Bloody Basin Road and the center parking lot, and is open to the public during the hours that the center is open.
Last visited: January 2010.

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Unity Church of Sun City

10101 W. Coggins Dr, Sun City, Arizona

This labyrinth is in a small walled courtyard on the north end of the church, and is open to the public at all times.
Last visited: March 2011.

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Unity Labyrinth of Light
dedicated March 2010 in loving memory of Charline Gow White by John G. White
Painted by Carl Bock, Betsy Dreyfus and Dede Sullivan.



Circle of Peace Church

8430 W. Deer Valley Road, Peoria, Arizona

This labyrinth is immediately west of the church and is open to the public at all times.
Last visited: March 2011.

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Foothills Christian Church

3951 W. Happy Valley Road, Glendale, Arizona

This labyrinth is next to the church parking lot and is open to the public at all times.
Last visited: June 2009.

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The Fountains United Methodist Church

15300 N. Fountain Hills Blvd., Fountain Hills, Arizona

This labyrinth is off the church parking lot at the northwest corner of the church buildings, and is always open .
Last visited: May 2010.

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Paradise Valley United Methodist Church

4455 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, Arizona

This labyrinth is next to the southeast corner of the west parking lot at the church, and is open to the public at all times.
Last visited: July 2009.

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Franciscan Renewal Center

5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona

This labyrinth is towards the rear of the renewal center grounds; signs lead the way. The center is only open to the public during certain hours; there is no charge but donations are accepted.
Last visited: July 2009.

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Chaparral Christian Church

6451 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, Arizona

This labyrinth, constructed of colored paving stones, is located among the church buildings in the gated Dr. William S. Boice Prayer Garden. The labyrinth is only open to the public on Sundays, and during business hours on weekdays.
Last visited: September 2010.

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Church of the Holy Spirit

2501 E. Cactus Road, Phoenix, Arizona

This small labyrinth is behind the Church and Columbarium, and is open to the public at all times.
Last visited: December 2009.

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Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

100 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, Arizona

This brick labyrinth is in the courtyard that faces Roosevelt St, and is open to the public during daylight hours.
Last visited: January 2010.

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Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park

400 S. Power Rd., Mesa, Arizona

This large and intricate labyrinth is immediately south of the southernmost of the two entrance driveways on Power Road. The labyrinth is only accessible to the public during the hours that the memorial park is open.
Last visited: July 2009.

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Dreamland Villa Desert Nature Walk

Behind 5316 E. Colby St., Mesa, Arizona

This labyrinth, constructed of sand berms scraped from the desert soil, reflects the artistry of those who constructed it; dinosaurs are only one of the individual touches you will discover! The labyrinth is behind a private residence; access is from the Dreamland Villa Desert Nature Walk behind the houses. Park on 54th Street just north of Colby Street and walk west on the trail beneath the power lines; the labyrinth is a hundred yards or so, on the left. Always open, but respect the privacy of the residents.
Last visited: June 2010.

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Mercy Gilbert Medical Center

3555 S. Val Vista Dr., Gilbert, Arizona

This unique labyrinth is in the form of a descending walkway that is accessible to wheelchairs. In the center is a metal sculpture called Tree of Life. Located in the Gila River Indian Community Healing Garden, immediately east of the main hospital building. Always open.
Last visited: May 2010.

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Vista de la Montana United Methodist Church

3001 Miravista Lane, Tucson, Arizona

This painted concrete labyrinth is in an open area south of the church buildings; a sign points the way from the parking lot down a gravel path. Always open.
Last visited: January 2011.

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Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church

1300 N. Greasewood Rd., Tucson, Arizona

This brick labyrinth is in an open courtyard immediately to the northeast of the church. Always open.
Last visited: March 2011.

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Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church

2331 E. Adams St., Tucson, Arizona

This brick labyrinth is in an open courtyard in front of the church. Always open.
Last visited: November 2010.

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Unity of Tucson Church

3617 N. Camino Blanco, Tucson, Arizona

This unique labyrinth, a concrete curb inlaid with colored tiles, is just off of the church's overflow (unpaved) parking lot. Always open.
Last visited: November 2010.

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Corpus Christi Catholic Church

300 N. Tanque Verde Loop, Tucson, Arizona

This labyrinth, made of landscaping rock, is immediately east of the church. Open during daylight hours.
Last visited: March 2011.

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Immanuel Presbyterian Church

9252 E. 22nd St., Tucson, Arizona

This unique labyrinth, a concrete curb inlaid with colored tiles, is just off of the church's overflow (unpaved) parking lot. Always open.
Last visited: March 2011.

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Redemptorist Renewal Center

7101 W. Picture Rocks Road, Tucson, Arizona

This labyrinth, constructed of gravel and stone, is just west of the Center buildings and immediately north of the hill with the petroglyphs; signs point the way down the short paths to the labyrinth and petroglyphs. Accessible to the public during the hours the center is open; check in at the front office.
Last visited: February 2011.

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Girl Scout Camp

Tonto National Forest, Arizona

This labyrinth is on private property and is not accessible to the public.
Last visited: October 2009.

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Salt River Pima - Maricopa Indian Community

Northeast of Phoenix, Arizona

This labyrinth design can be seen on monuments at various locations on the border of the Salt River Pima - Maricopa Indian Community; the one seen in this photograph is at the corner of Highway 87 and McDowell Road.
Last visited: October 2009.

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This is an example of a labyrinth used in an artistic representation, as a key element of the monuments. Known as Man in the Maze, this design was earlier used on Native American baskets and churches. As a display at the Huhugam Ki Museum explains:


The Man in the Maze design is a traditional O'odham design with deep relevance to all O'odham People. It has many layers of meaning, some of which are related to the Creation Stories. On one level, it represents one's journey through life, which contains many challenging twists and turns. Ultimately, we reach the center and our lives are complete.

The traditional Man in the Maze design was incorporated into the official Tribal Seal of the Salt River Pima - Maricopa Indian Community. Although the traditional design is exclusively O'odham, the Great Seal represents the Community as a whole.





Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.


Revised: April 27, 2011
Copyright © 2009-2011 Joe Orman (except museum display text)
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