Tuesday, August 20, 2013



I want to construct a labyrinth.

The Cretans had Daedulus construct one for the Minotaur, later Theseus slew him. For centuries, such a scene was represented in the center. Early in church history, they appeared in churches. Some[click] still survive centuries later. The most famous, and copied one is the one of Chartres cathedral which was in place c. 1220. That one is circular in form. Others are rectangular, square, hexagonal, octagonal, and various lobed shapes.

These are different than mazes, for they have only one entrance, and one suggested path. The simplest one would be similar to a spiral, without reversals and other sorts of bends, and windings.

There are a few in this area. Some are painted on parking lots. Some are on large roll up mats. Some, few, are purposely and uniquely created in paved space only for use as a labyrinth. I choose that. Soon, i plan to go to one in Bath Ohio of the Dominican Sisters, they have one (i am told) in turf and meadow, i will see.

Early Monday morning, i went out to a large one in Westlake. It is about 90' in diameter, Chartres is c. 42'. Unity Spirit church has theirs modelled after Chartres, but it is not set stone; it is gravel divided by brick. I want stone mosaic [San Vitale Ravenna].

Shape? these things are a circuit, circuits do not have to be circular, although since this will have center, and in a circle all points of a diameter are equally distant from the center, there is a certain poetry in that; and a circle often suggests life. Chartres has eleven tracks of circles about the center, that was never a standard. Biblically seven, ten, and twelve are often used.  

How these  were used in worship, centuries ago, is sketchy and debatable. Walk one, and you find out immediately you are on a journey, you are on a road with a set start, and a set destination; but a straight line from start to finish would only be a small fraction of the total route; as in the Way of the Cross, this may be a pilgrimage of prayer in miniature and imitation.

The one in Westlake, has a tile before start. My nephew  completed the walk to the center, and then walked back to the beginning. He made sure to definitely step on that tile, it was reminiscent of a ball player stepping on home after a home run. The
labyrinth in Westlake had six tiles center, sort of like the teleportation ports on Star Trek.

Walking a labyrinth is calming, it is conducive to meditation. They have been in hospitals. I could see seniors walking the labyrinth instead of 'mall walking' for exercise, and well-being. A bench is needed. An outdoor, i think, is better than an indoor one (except in wicked weather). Some vegetative landscaping may do well with the stone.

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