History of the Labyrinth . . .

Chartres Labyrinth

The origin of the first labyrinth is unclear however it is known that this unique pattern dates back thousands of years and has been associated with many religious traditions. Throughout the ages the labyrinth has been represented in many forms and associated with different religious practices.

The labyrinth has been found on coins, vessels, walls and the floors of religious buildings for thousands of years, most often in a religious or sacred context. Much of the original significance of the labyrinth has been lost in time, though this enduring symbol has survived to the present day.

Labyrinths have been rediscovered in an age where pilgrimage is seen as a way of drawing nearer to God through self-knowledge and meditation which are believed to be vital aids to peace of mind, healing and reconciliation with God.

The most celebrated labyrinth is to be found on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France where it is believed to have been used as a meditation aid by those making a symbolic journey. It is believed to date back to medieval times and is surrounded by many legends of its powers and significance. Being a complex pattern it is not surprising that many have found geometrical and mathematical significance in its design.

Today we regard the labyrinth as having no special or supernatural power of its own. It does, however, provide a unique and engaging framework for personal meditation. It may also be regarded as a piece of human art that draws us closer to God just as religious icons are regarded as divine or sacred works of human hands.


Download and listen to a Radio Program about the Labyrinth.