Difference Between Labyrinth and Maze

Labyrinth vs Maze
 

Whenever one hears the words labyrinth and maze, the images of pathways that are complex and confusing come to his mind. It is true that there are many similarities in mazes and labyrinths. However, the two terms are not synonymous to be used interchangeably that some people do. This article takes a closer look at the two terms to highlight the differences between mazes and labyrinths.

Labyrinth

A labyrinth is a confusing pathway that normally has a single path leading up to the centre of the structure. One can consider it as a guided path that has many turns and twists but always takes the individual to the centre of the structure. Ever since they were first made, labyrinths have always been associated with spirituality and rituals. These structures allowed one to walk and get some needed rest and calm. Often people coming out of labyrinths describe the experience as calming and invigorating. There are people who find that after walking through labyrinths, they not only get profound rest, they also become charged with energy. A labyrinth is designed to reassure us and not to confuse us as it always leads to the centre of the structure.

Maze

A maze is a big puzzle in the form of a pathway that is meant to confuse people. It has many branches that look similar and confuse people as they find their way out of the tour puzzle. There are lots of choices making people confused as to which pathway to take to get out of the puzzle. Mazes are multicursal in nature meaning they have many pathways. Most of these pathways are, in fact, dead ends that are made to frustrate people while they are trying to find their way out. Mazes are unsettling with hedges and walls made to obscure the centre. Different paths are there to waste the time of the visitor and to frustrate him. One has to make intelligent choices to get through a maze quickly. This is because if he chooses a wrong path, he is forced to return to the starting position. Making mistakes is quite easy in mazes as paths are made in such a manner so as to look the same.

What is the difference between Labyrinth and Maze?

• Mazes have many paths and choices but a labyrinth has a single path that leads up to the centre of the structure.

• Mazes are meant to confuse and frustrate whereas labyrinths are made to provide rest and calm to the visitors.

• Mazes are multicursal, whereas labyrinths are unicursal in nature.

• Maze is meant to be a tour puzzle.

• Mazes are used in science experiments whereas labyrinths have long been associated with spirituality and rituals.

• There are many different entry and exit points in mazes, whereas there is only a single entry point leading up to the centre in a labyrinth.