Sunday, February 13, 2011
The Grotto Labyrinth
We visited The Grotto once again in the
mist and rain of this mid-winter season.
Naiya now remembers it from previous
explorations and looks forward to the
elevator and also to the stone labyrinth
which we walked for the first time on our
stop there last autumn.
The Grotto Labyrinth (pictured above) has been in place since only last year as far as I can tell. It's a small copy of the medieval cathedral labyrinth of Chartres, France (about an hour outside of Paris). I went there once and, as I understand is common, it was covered with chairs and so was un-walkable. (The photo below is from a post card I purchased.) The Chartres Labyrinth is huge, about forty feet across, while this one is maybe twenty and so much more difficult to traverse. Like most labyrinths (and unlike a maze), it has a single entrance which is also the exit and it circumscribes a single unbroken path that leads to its center. Naiya thoroughly enjoys the experience of walking that path and insists on completing the entire journey before we're allowed to leave.
I've done a little reading about labyrinths and there is much speculation written regarding their purposes. They date back over 2000 years but little contemporary documentation survives of their original objective. They're mostly thought to symbolize the difficult path returning one to God or the Absolute. Today, they're generally used for various meditative practices. I've seen copies of this one and some classic Roman labyrinths made of stone, mown into grass and even sculpted into hand-held clay versions (to be traced with the finger).
For our daughter, it's just a really fun game.