St George's Cathedral, Cape Town
Sacred Geometry of the Labyrinth
The Sacred Path
The classic eleven-circuit Labyrinth consists of a single path meandering through eleven concentric circles in a complex but precise spiral pattern. There are 34 turns in a single navigation of the path (going in or coming out). The geometry is based on an invisible thirteen-pointed star radiating out from the centre, which guides the location of the centre and the entrance, after which the rest of the Labyrinth falls into place. These 13 unseen points provide the Labyrinth with its balance and perfection, and probably its power.
The LabyrsThe Labyrs, from which the word Labyrinth comes, are the symbols visible at the U-turns, which together create a cruciform – the shape of a cross – when the Labyrinth is viewed from above.
The Lunations are the ring of semicircles that decorate and complete the outside circle of the Labyrinth, but they are not simply ornamental. It is thought that ancient Labyrinths served as a calendar, with each quadrant representing a quarter of a year. There are 28 cusps in each quadrant, corresponding to the lunar cycle.
The Centre: The Rosette, or Kingdoms
The Centre of the Labyrinth is composed of six petals, symbolic of a rose, which is in turn a well-known symbol for the Virgin Mary. The Rose can also represent the Holy Spirit, manifesting in the six days of Creation. The Rose, and its Eastern equivalent, the Lotus, have been regarded for millennia as symbols of enlightenment.
The Centre space can also be seen as representing the six stages of evolution, or the six “kingdoms”. Starting with the first petal on the left as the seeker enters the centre of the Labyrinth, the first stage or kingdom is mineral, then proceeding clockwise, plant, animal, human, angelic, and the unknown.