How to Draw a Labyrinth
A Chalk Labyrinth
For the past several years at our church (Novi United Methodist), we have drawn a labyrinth on the carpet of our Memorial Hall every Good Friday. It's the rose-and-cross kind that is based on the labryinth in the floor of the Chartres cathedral in France. It takes three to five people with a stick, a rope and a bunch of sidewalk chalk about two and a half hours to make. The outside is decorated according to the taste of our crew, and it's amazing what people will create when you turn them loose with colored chalk! Our labyrinth is an emphemeral work of art - it only lasts a day or so until it gets vacuumed up and/or the tables and chairs come back into the middle of the room. Someday we hope to be able to afford a permanent labyrinth - or at least a permanent portable one!
Last spring (07) I agreed to teach an Adult Sunday School class about the labyrinth, its history and uses. I wanted to include a handout on how to draw a labyrinth, but could find exactly what I was looking for on the Web. In fact, I was having a hard time grasping how to draw the classical labyrinth. (I had already gotten the method for the Chartes labyrinth from the book "Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth" by Lauren Artress.) So I watched an animation over and over again, and drew my own chart, breaking it down step by step, and when it was done, I said to myself: this is actually simple! What was the problem?
So here is my chart, and also a chart for the Chartres labyrinth. I'm also including a link to pictures from our church and also a labyrinth finder so you can locate a labyrinth in your area.
Classical Labyrinth (7-Circuit)
Here's my handout for the ancient 7-circuit labyrinth. You start out with a cross, add four corners and four dots as per the diagram and then start joining the lines and dots in the order shown. (Download the Classical Labyrinth PDF file here.) It's also possible to draw a smaller labyrinth by eliminating the four corners in the seed pattern and just making a cross and four dots.
Classical Labyrinth Variation
Another interesting variation is this: when you draw the first connecting line, make a little bit of a bubble out of it. This gives you more room at the center and helps to define the center of the labyrinth. As you draw the rest of the lines you can gently accomodate the extra space in the middle. You can see how this works in the green example at right.
Chartres-Style Medieval Labyrinth
And finally, here is the chart for the Chartres labyrinth. You start out with a lot of concentric circles, and guidelines radiating out from the center. Then you can erase the lines where you don't need them, and draw the connectors to make the path. (Download the Chartres Labyrinth PDF file here.)
When we're making our chalk labyrinth, we make the guides first out of masking tape, and use a rope with the chalk like a giant compass to draw the circles. That way we can lift the chalk where we know it's not going to be needed according to the guidelines, and there's less erasing.
This is the book mentioned above.