Each Chartres finger labyrinth is manufactured as closely as possible to the original labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. Many pilgrims find solace in "walking" this sacred path as a way of undertaking a reflective journey. It provides a way of spending time on a short excursion with God at the centre of their thoughts.
Not everyone can visit Chartres Cathedral or one of the many churches that have installed a labyrinth in their nave or garden. Finger labyrinths are a more accessable way of participating in the same experience in a less public space such as a chapel or in the privacy of your home. Having your own finger labyrinth is a convenient way to meditate daily.
Every part of the labyrinth has a deep spiritual meaning that aids meditation.
The path leads along eleven concentric circles to a rosette with six petals in the centre. The rings are in the form of a unicursal path that winds its way from the outside to the six-petaled rosette in the centre. This unique pattern may be considered a metaphor for the journey we all face throughout life. Using the finger, one traces this path from the outside to the rosette at the centre and then back to the outside again.
Along its path there are a total of thirty-four turns, some right angled and some at 180 degrees. This is reminicient of life's journey that takes through many twists and turns. Sometimes we nearly reach our goal, only to turn a corner and head in the opposite direction. Through perserverence, the dedicated pilgrim eventually reaches the centre; the place of peace in the heart of God.
There are ten double-sided axe heads or "labyrs" which, when viewed from a distance, appear in the shape of an inverted Tau cross similar to that adopted by the Order of St Francis. Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
The labyrinth has 112 lunations or cusps around the outside which are said to relate to time and can be used to count four lunar months. These are unique to the Chartres labyrinth and are regarded by some as its distinctively feminine features. Many labyrinth pilgrims view the lunations as a representation of the radiating energy they feel when they reflect on its pattern.
No matter how you use the labyrinth, its power lies in its ability to provide a disciplined approach to prayerful and reflective meditation and to focus the mind on a short journey with God, even in the midst of our busy working day.