CELTIC MYTHS & SYMBOLS


Chartres Labyrinth
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Chartres Labyrinth

Labyrinth means "house of the double ax", deriving from "labrys", the sacred ax of ancient Crete. The form of the Labyrinth is to be found in many places and cultures; in the world of the ancient near east, it represented the soul's journey into the center of the uterine underworld and its return toward eventual rebirth. A labyrinth was not the same as a maze, as it had only one path, winding but without divisions or branches; a path that moved inevitably toward the center of the labyrinth, and then outwards again.

This motif was later Christianized, and could be interpreted to mean the journey within to find Christ the savior, and the path to redemption. Labyrinths can be seen on the floor plans of cathedrals throughout Europe; here, as it occurs in the great Cathedral at Chartres.


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