The Labyrinth: Invitation

The Labyrinth invites.  That was certainly my first experience of a labyrinth.  I saw a photograph of the labyrinth in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres, France.Chartres_Cath+Gare  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  The mere image of that path bending and curving, in and around, back and forth, invited me to draw closer, to keep looking, to feel something.  To this day, it is difficult to put words to the feeling that I experience, but I would call it something like feeling safe, feeling like I am in familiar surroundings, feeling like I am at home.

Walking Chartres labyrinth

Used with permission,

Years ago, while teaching at a Catholic high school, I and some fellow faculty in the theology department created a Chartres style labyrinth on a large grassy area beside the school with white field paint.  The path was three feet wide, and the path from beginning to the center measured a half mile. We had many great experiences with it, but what surprised me most was how often people would drive off of the nearby highway just to stand on the hill next to the school and look at the labyrinth.  The Labyrinth invites us.

Have a look at the two images below, that of the Chartres style labyrinth and that of the classical labyrinth.  Do you find the images drawing you to themselves?  Does one draw you more than the other?  If you find yourself being invited sit for a moment with the image and allow the invitation to express itself.  Are there feelings?  Images?  Words that come to mind?  Don’t rush to make sense of it or talk about it, but allow The Labyrinth to invite you into your own depth.  That is it’s particular power.  The Labyrinth draws us down into our own souls.  It sends an invitation through the movements within it that some part of us (and I believe that it is some deep, essential part of us) recognizes.  Have a look.  The invitation is there.

Bob Patrick

Chartres line drawing

Chartres line drawing, used with permission,


Classical style labyrinth, used with permission,

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