Labyrinths date back to 4,000 years ago or more. They are used for walking meditation, choreographed dances, rituals, ceremonies, and the like. Many refer to labyrinths as tools for personal, psychological, and spiritual growth. One of the most striking and famous labyrinths in the world is on the Chartres Cathedral floor. But what does this labyrinth mean?
According to experts, the labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral is sacred. It is not a maze, and it is not a mindless trick. Many referred to it as “Chemin de Jérusalem,” “Iherusalem,” or “City of God.” Many labyrinths were later patterned from this design at the Cathedral as mentioned above. One of those who studied the labyrinth, John James, said that this labyrinth’s design included eleven concentric rings that got split into four parts, a path leading from the outside to the inside, and a picture on an inscription.
Although many labyrinths got named after the master architects of buildings, it is not believed that this is why labyrinths got made. As for this specific labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral, James believes it means so much more. Accordingly, the Chartres Cathedral is famous for its Platonic scholarship. Hence, he thinks that Chartres Cathedral wanted every object in it to “help the pilgrim find the correct and proven path, to give him Ariadne’s thread to lead him through life’s maze.” Thus, he believes that the Chartres Cathedral’s labyrinth, being composed of symbols related to an individual’s subconscious, can get linked to a man’s inner world.
James continued to share in his studies that the labyrinth represents how humans should attain the knowledge to arrive at the center. There are eleven circles, and one must pass through all to get to the circle.
About getting to the circle, James and many other experts link the Zodiac signs to the labyrinth. From the center going outwards, the signs’ arrangement is as follows: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. They believe that from Aries to Leo, it covers the creation of life and matter. However, it is notable to remember that Aries is given the representation of “primal energy” as it precedes even the first breath of God. It represents the ultimate whole.
Virgo, on the other hand, is the creation of man. Libra pertains to a man’s essence, his potential, his powers, and his ego. Scorpio is said to be a man’s notion of himself, his attachment to himself, and matters around him. In the stage of Scorpio, it is where a wrong decision will result in spiritual death. From Sagittarius to Pisces, it is believed to represent the “way back to God through understanding and spiritual consciousness.”
This is just one of the different and many meanings that experts and researchers came up with. It remains unknown to this day which of these studies rings true about the labyrinth. The image is indeed full of different meanings, so it is up to you to dig deep into what you believe this labyrinth means.