Chartres Cathedral
Chartes, France
From: SECRETS OF THE MAZE by Adrian Fisher & Howard Loxton

The Chartres labyrinth lies beneath the great circular rose window, whose size and shape it echoes. The plan appeared in a 17th Century sketchbook surrounded by this array of creatures.

A LABYRINTH (isn’t that a great word!) is created as an intricate path which follows a specific circular layout, leading to a center point. This design differs from a maze in that a labyrinth has only one path to the center which is repeated on the return. A maze can be any configuration or shape and usually includes dead-end paths that purposely confuse the walker.

Barbara S. Arthur, a labyrinth enthusiast, describes the experience of labyrinth walking, “…one of awakening an inner wisdom and sense of well-being.” It stirs the imagination to realize that labyrinths and their symbols have existed throughout history in most cultures throughout the world, no matter how primitive or advanced the civilization. Think about this for a moment…in most cultures throughout the world that have had no known exchange of knowledge or contact; a profound concept when you consider the implications of this fact. Today, labyrinths are found in both public and private buildings, cultural centers, gardens, places of worship, healing, education and athletic facilities.

In the interactive and informative book SECRETS OF THE MAZE by Adrian Fisher and Howard Loxton they explain,

“…The circular architectural form has long been associated with the churches of the Knights Templar. Traditionally, Christian churches faced east, pointing toward the Holy Land. However, when the Knights Templar reached the Holy Land during their Crusades, they began to build circular churches, like those they found in Jerusalem. It may well be that the Knights Templar were responsible for creating the famous circular labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral, France.”

The Chartres Labyrinth (as in the above photo) is often graphically reproduced and used as a meditational ‘fingermaze’; using your finger along the path instead of walking. This little exercise is a fun way to relax, breath and regain a sense of perspective and balance.

Next time you’re ready for a small diversion, give this a try:
1. Clear your mind and focus on the labyrinth.
2. Take a few deep and refreshing breaths.
3. Using your index finger or a pen/pencil, begin at the arrow and trace the path…slowly.
4. Breathe slowly.
Enjoy the journey from the beginning point (your birth)
Through your life (with all of the unexpected turn of events)
That lead you onward to your ‘center’ (personal wisdom)

1 comment:

TT said...

My index finger is too big, I need a wider labyrinth lane.