There are actually two walk-able labyrinths in New Harmony. But how is this one related to 12th Century Paris? Read on to learn more!!
What IS a Labyrinth?
It’s usually a meandering, concentric path leading to a center. They date back at least 4,000 years and have been used in many cultural traditions. They are used for walking meditation, dance, rituals and ceremony. Labyrinths are tools to promote personal and psychological transformation, evoking spirituality and mindfulness. It is also believed that they enhance right-brain activity, which stimulates creativity!
Cathedral Labyrinth and Sacred Garden
It’s a bit of medieval Paris right in Southern Indiana! This ancient pattern duplicates (see photo above) the original labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral outside of Paris, France, built in the 12th century! Medieval Gothic Cathedrals across Europe often had labyrinths built into their floors with their geometric pattern conveying the unity of each cathedral’s design. A rose shape in the middle of New Harmony’s Cathedral Labyrinth identifies it to its origin of Chartres Cathedral.
New Harmony Labyrinth
This labyrinth is a 1939 recreation based on the original Harmonist labyrinth and is located adjacent to that site. The paths were created as a place for contemplation and meditation. Original plantings for the walking paths were shrubs, vines and flowering plants like currant and hazel bushes, dogwood trees and an assortment of flowers instead of the privet hedge today. This compilation of fragrance and beauty led to the center, where originally there stood a circular log house. The trek to the center is not an easy, direct one, symbolizing life’s challenging route in trying to attain true harmony.
What’s up next? New Harmony’s Roofless Church and Markerless Cemetery!