THE HEART OF CHARTRES
Personal Labyrinth

At 12 feet in diameter, the Heart of Chartres labyrinth is able to be used in homes, small chapels, classrooms, and other normal-sized rooms. Popular with children, they are also used effectively by adults. In fact, we have one client who changed apartments in New York City, just to have room for her personal labyrinth. She also takes the labyrinth regularly to a grade school, where the teacher reports beneficial changes in the kids due to their encounter with the labyrinth (they ask "when is the labyrinth coming back?").

The pattern of the personal labyrinth consists of five circuits, derived from the inner left-side circuits of the Chartres pattern. For that reason, we have dubbed the labyrinth the "Heart of Chartres." (Pronounced in French, "Chartres" is a single syllable, which rhymes with "heart.") Since it is a variation, the petals and lunations are stylized.

There is still symbolism, however. In the full Chartres, there are a total of 28 180-degree turns (seven in each quadrant), and 112 lunation circles, which is four times 28. In the personal labyrinth design, there are a total of 12 full turns (three in each quadrant), and 48 lunations (four times 12). To conserve space, the lunations are half circles.

For two years this design was sold through a national catalogue for $950. When you think of it, our 36-foot labyrinth is $3,300, our 24-foot labyrinth is $2,200, so our 12-foot labyrinth should be $1,100.
But we have priced it at $800, cutting our profit to a bare minimum, in order to offer a labyrinth that people can afford to buy for their personal use. If you paint it yourself, the cost is even lower ($680)

Photo of canvas Heart of Chartres labyrinth.

 

Painted, the personal labyrinth weighs slightly over ten pounds and can be carried under one arm. We ship it in a five-gallo paint bucket. The canvas is the same durable #12, 100% natural, untreated, cotton duck canvas used for our larger labyrinths.

A few years ago, I had been thinking about doing a smaller labyrinth for personal use. But, as so often happens, I never seemed to get around to it. One night I went to bed at my usual time, only to awaken at 3 a.m. with the design of the Heart of Chartres in my head. I said to myself, "Self, this has some possibilities. I'll look into it in the morning." Then I rolled over to go back to sleep. Nothing doing. The inspiration wouldn't leave my mind or allow me to go back to sleep. So, I got up and went to my drawing table. In a few hours, the pattern was finished. For eight more hours I tried variations, but in the end, I came back to the original inspiration. It seemed the most simple and consistent.

There aren't that many variations that you can make with five circuits. What is unique about this one is the entrance path, going straight to the first circuit. This is what happens with the Chartres pattern. You quickly come very close to your goal (the center), and then seemingly get further and further away. In fact, that isn't the case. Although the path is going outward, every bit of path must be traversed in order to reach the center. There are no shortcuts. Thus, you are really getting closer with every step, regardless of the appearance. Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg uses that tantalizing feature of the labyrinth to make a point about life. "The only thing we can do is to follow the path, wherever it leads, and have the faith that we're going the right way."

To place an order, please click here (Personal). We don't have a shopping cart, so you can follow the order link for more information without obligating yourself. Click on these links to see where your labyrinth will be made: Studio, and who will be making it: Judy Hopen.

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