Thursday, February 09, 2006


Photo by Sonia Halliday

A photo postcard of the Chartres labyrinth hangs on the wall in my office. Chartres Cathedral, an hour from Paris, dates from the 12th century. For centuries pilgrims have trekked to Chartres as part of a holy pilgrimage and traced the labyrinth, many on their knees, in contemplation and openness.

The purpose of a labyrinth is to take you inside yourself. Following the path that turns and curves in directions you don’t expect, you’re forced to pay attention, to vacate your mind and allow the path to pull you in. Some set an intention, a question or life choice and seek an answer from God or within themselves while tracing the labyrinth.

Something about following the narrow line step after step, and being aware that others are at different points on the path, puts you into contemplation of your own inner journey.

One of our local hospitals has an outdoor healing garden with a Chartres-style labyrinth. My friend and I walked it when she was in breast cancer treatment, which happily was successful.

You can locate labyrinths around the country and world by typing in the city, state or country at this site:

Lucky me, whenever I want to stroll a labyrinth, I can pick up my stylus and trace this tabletop version Inge gave me.


Ginnie said...

After walking the Chartres labyrinth with you in 2004, I have never seen labyrinths in the same way. It made me want to stop breathing at first (because of the incredible history there) but the more I walked it, I realized that breathing in and out, deeply, was part of what it was all about. You breathe in something much bigger than you, which is maybe what Life is all about?!

Ruth said...