TLS Members e-Newsletter

Members eNewsletter
At least four times a year, TLS members are rewarded at their inboxes with a copy of the Labyrinth Society e-newsletter. It serves as a means of direct communication with the membership and provides an historical record of the Society.

A New Design for Hudson: The Spiral~Chartres Labyrinth

A very special part of the Annual Gatherings is the opportunity to search out—and sometimes help build!—and walk the temporary labyrinths created for the occasion. Tom Vetter from Crystal, Minnesota, who describes himself as a “prolific (obsessive!) designer and builder of unique, temporary labyrinths" designed a beautiful variation on the 11-circuit Chartres. Here is his account of the design process. 

Tom Vetter's

photo: Jeff Saward

My labyrinth at our recent TLS gathering at Hudson, Wisconsin, was inspired by our theme: "Timeless Flow ~ Reflections and Currents in the Labyrinth". Matching the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth in its 42 ft. diameter size, it also has 11 circuits (as counted diagonally along the spirals), four quadrants, and an offset entrance. In addition, it incorporates double-spirals inspired by the stone carvings at Newgrange (circa 3000 BC).

Because of my synthesis of spirals along with elements from the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth, I call my design "The Spiral~Chartres Labyrinth". It is meant to be a bridge across time which trancends time. As William Blake notes, the eternal and the temporal are co-existant: "Eternity is in love with the productions of time." Using both left-handed and right-handed spirals in my ruler and compass construction results in one half of the labyrinth "reflecting" the other half, a bilateral symmetry both left/right and top/bottom.

The spirals also function to create a "flow" and a rhythm as one moves into and out of them and from one quadrant to another. Instead of using the six "petals" from the Chartres design, I reimagined and relocated them as six "islands" within the left, right, and top arms, two in each. These are meant to be places where one can step off the path to rest, reflect, or just be. At the center of the labyrinth I created a "nest", a small, distinct circle of yellow pine needles about one path-width in diameter. I was happy to hear that Rev. Jill Geoffrion and others actually sat on the nest as part of their walk!

This labyrinth was "birthed", and I thank Leslie Pettis from Farmington, Minnesota (a co-member of the Minnesota Labyrinth Network) and Carol (my wife) for being my "midwives" in this creation. I couldn't have done it without them. I also thank the author/authors of the "Timeless Flow" theme for inspiring me.

Tom Vetter can be reached by email.