Discovering an 11-circuit Chartres-style Labyrinth
Symbols, Shapes, Natural Wonders
A few days ago I found Womanspace in Rockford, Illinois. It's situated on a 7-acre campus surrounded
by nature and includes walking trails, meditative gardens,
and an 11-circuit Chartres-style labyrinth made of stones.
Anticipating the Labyrinth
I walked through a small forest of evergreen trees before
coming out into an open area displaying the labyrinth with
a winged sculpture in its center. Except for a few homes peppering
the landscape off in the distance, the labyrinth seemed to
present itself as a wonder of an ancient world. You know those
images you see of ancient ruins in biblical lands? That's what
I saw. I felt as if I were transformed into another space in
I stood before the labyrinth for a few minutes trying
to decide what to do. Is this a maze?
Will I get stuck? Should I go in?
Although I didn't get instruction on how to 'properly use'
the labyrinth, I knew it was for meditative, contemplative
purposes. It was not a game, and finding the center quickly
like a newspaper puzzle wasn't its goal. I quietly entered
and began my walk.
As I walked, I listened to the chirping of the birds. The
buzzing of the bees. And felt the morning sun mix with wetness
in the grass from last night's rain.
I walked slowly towards the center, and when I arrived
I saw offerings of stones at the base of the sculpture.
I looked around and found a fragmented piece from the labyrinth
itself and humbly put it forth. I don't know if I did the
right thing, but I had to say, "I'm here." And
the pain from the previous week became known. Tears welled
in my eyes, and pressure from my heart rose. I wanted to
sit down and tell the sculpture with the stone offerings
everything I carried to it.
After a few moments, I turned around and followed the labyrinth
path outward. Nobody told me how to walk the path, or what
to think about. I just followed my instincts and hope I didn't
I knew this labyrinth held the delicate journeys
of a thousand women before me. It was beautiful.
After allowing my labyrinth experience to settle
in for a day, I realized that the center of the labyrinth
featured the same rosetta symbol discussed in Panchyk's folk
art book. In addition, it had a sculpture in
the center of the rosetta reminiscent of a winged
It's cool when things synchronicitly coincide in life: here
I was discussing folk art symbols in Panchyk's book, and on
witnessed application of a rosetta symbol used in a
modern day "ancient" labyrinth. AMAZEing, isn't