People, formal cultures, and traditions have used the spiral and labyrinth designs as a symbol of their search for meaning and guidance. The labyrinth is a “unicursal” or one path design – there are no tricks or decisions to be made – much as the surrender to walking a sacred spiritual path in life – our only decision is to choose spirit/God and surrender to divine guidance. The labyrinth is non -denominational . People of all faiths and people longing to re-connect to faith come to walk labyrinths. “I found peace and a sense of God’s presence that I had not experienced since childhood,” responds a labyrinth walker.
Some of the earliest forms of labyrinths are found in Greece, dating back to 2500-2000 B.C.E. This labyrinth is called the Cretan labyrinth or classical seven-circuit labyrinth. So much a part of the fabric of this early society was the labyrinth, that it was embossed on coins and pottery. Early Christian labyrinths date back to 4th century, a basilica in Algeria. The Chartres design labyrinth is a replica of the labyrinth laid into the cathedral floor at Chartres, France in the thirteenth century. The Chartres design is a classical eleven-circuit labyrinth (eleven concentric circles) with the twelfth being in the center of the labyrinth.
One walks a labyrinth by stepping into the entrance and putting one foot in front of the other. After traveling through all the paths and windings, the walker comes into the center – the six – petal rosette, after a time there, the walker returns out to cover the same path out as in. Total travel is approximately one third mile, depending on the size of the labyrinth. The Chartress Cathedral Labyrinth is 42′ in diameter.