On my own behalf

Welcome to the Labyrinth

The topic of this blog is the labyrinth. Under nearly all aspects, I would like to arouse your interest on the fascinating lines and the meaning of this old object. Being an old surveyor I put my focus on the geometrical shape.
A new post should be published about twice a month. Meanwhile I am accompanied by Andreas Frei as coauthor.


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The Chartres labyrinth occurs in many variations. Here I speak of the 11 circuit Chartres labyrinth as a type. Some elements of the original labyrinth in the Cathedral at Chartres, such as the six petals in the middle and the lunations  around the outermost perimeter, belong to the style Chartres.

For me the type Chartres exists above all in the layout of the paths.  One goes in quickly (on the 5th circuit) and one quickly approaches the middle (6th and 11th circuit). Then follows the wandering through all quadrants. The access of the centre happens from completely outside (1st circuit) quickly about the 6th and 7th circuit into the centre.

Theoretically there are lot of possibilities to build similar types to the Chartres labyrinth. They can be found worldwide. However, the original Chartres labyrinth owns many special qualities which make it an extraordinary example among the Medieval labyrinths. Among others, it is self-dual and symmetrical.

Layout of the 11 circuit Chartres labyrinth

Layout of the 11 circuit Chartres labyrinth

Hence, the original can be divided in labyrinthine mathematics (11:2=5) in two equal labyrinths. I cut it into two parts, by omitting the 6th circuit. Thereby I get two new, yet identical 5 circuit labyrinths in a Chartres-like layout: I quickly reach the middle and finally enter the centre directly from the outermost circuit. The way in between shows the labyrinthine pendular movement, that Hermann Kern describes as characteristic for a labyrinth.

Layout of the 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth (Demi-Chartres)

Layout of the 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth (Demi-Chartres)

How should we now name this type of labyrinth? To me the name 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth seems properly to differentiate it from other 5 circuit Medieval labyrinths with another layout for the paths.
I would like to call it Demi-Chartres.

Just now you may see a nice example for the practical realisation in Vienna on the Schwarzenbergplatz in the temporary plant labyrinth to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018:

The temporary plant labyrinth on the Schwarzenbergplatz at Vienna © Lisa Rastl

The temporary plant labyrinth on the Schwarzenbergplatz at Vienna © Lisa Rastl

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Further Links

Just like the labyrinth from Ravenna, the Wayland’s House labyrinth is also a historical type of labyrinth with 4 arms and 7 circuits. There exist even two different Wayland’s House labyrinths (figure 1).

Figure 1. The Two Wayland’s House Labyrinths


I have named them as Wayland’s House 1 and Wayland’s House 2. Wayland’s House 1 first appeared in a manuscript of the 14th century, Wayland’s House 2 in a manuscript of the 15th century, both from Iceland. This can be easily looked up in Kern. In the following I refer to Wayland’s House 1.

In this type of labyrinth, the pathway does not enter on the first circuit and does not reach the center from the last circuit either. Therefore it is an interesting labyrinth. And also the complementary of it is an interesting labyrinth. This, however, is not the most important reason for why I present this type of labyrinth and its’ relatives here. Whereas no existing examples of any relative of the Ravenna labyrinth are known, there exists a contemporary type of labyrinth for each, the dual, complementary and complementary-dual of the Wayland’s House labyrinth.

Figure 2 shows the patterns of the original Wayland’s House labyrinth (a), the dual (b), complementary (c) and complementary-dual (d) labyrinths.

Figure 2. The Relatives of the Wayland’s House Type – Patterns

The original (a) and dual (b) both are interesting labyrinths. The complementaries of them, (c) and (d), are likewise interesting labyrinths.

Figure 3 shows the labyrinths corresponding to the patterns in their basic form with the walls delimiting the pathway shown on concentric layout and in clockwise rotation.

Figure 3. The Relatives of the Wayland’s House Type – Basic Forms

The relatives of the Wayland’s House type (a) are three of the so-called neo-medieval labyirnth types (there are other neo-medieval types of labyrinths too). These relatives are: dual (b) = „Petit Chartres“, complementary (c) = „Santa Rosa“, and complementary-dual (d) = „World Peace“ labyrinth.

So these contemporary types of labyrinths can be easily generated simply by rotating or mirroring of the pattern of Wayland’s House. This having stated I do not mean to pretend, these types of labyrinths have intentionally or knowingly been derived in such a way from the Wayland’s House type. Rather, available information suggests that they were created in a naive way, i.e without their designers having known about this relationship with the Wayland’s House type labyrinth. Nevertheless, actually, these modern neo-medieval labyrinths are the relatives of Wayland’s House.

The Wayland’s House labyrinth at first glance has some similarities with the Chartres type labyrinth. However it is not self dual and its course of the pathway is guided by an other principle yet. And this applies to its relatives too. Therefore the choice of the name „Petit Chartres“ to me seems inconvenient. It seems like this name was chosen because this type of labyrinth originally was designed in the Chartres-style. So this type seems to have been named after its style.

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World Labyrinth Day 2018

Again you are invited from The Labyrinth Society to celebrate the World Labyrinth Day:

Celebrate the 10th Annual World Labyrinth Day on May 5, 2018 and join over 5,000 people taking steps for peace, ‘Walking as One at 1’ in the afternoon. Last year gatherings were held in over 20 countries and 45 US states!

Flyer of the TLS

Flyer of the TLS

Most nicely it would be if everybody which is able would walk a labyrinth. But it is also possible, as a substitute to trace a finger labyrinth, to make a labyrinth meditation or to be active labyrinthine in some way.

More here:

If you are looking for a labyrinth near you, maybe you will find one here:

Among labyrinths with mulitple arms it is also common that one labyrinth is interesting and the complementary to it is uninteresting. An example for this is the labyrinth of the type Ravenna (figure 1).

Figure 1. The Labyrinth of Ravenna

This labyrinth has 4 arms and 7 circuits. The pathway enters it on the innermost circuit and reaches the center from the fifth circuit. It is, thus, an interesting labyrinth. This type of labyrinth has been named after the example laid in church San Vitale from Ravenna. What is really special in this example is the graphical design of the pathway. This is designed by a sequence of triangles pointing outwards. The effect is, that the direction from the inside out is strongly highlighted. This stands in contrast to the common way we use to approach a labyrinth and seems just an invitation to look up the dual of this labyrinth. Because the course of the pathway from the inside out of an original labyrinth is the same as the course from the outside into the dual labyrinth.

I term as relatives of an original labyrinth the dual, complementary, and complementary-dual labyrinths of it. In fig. 2 the patterns of the Ravenna-type labyrinth (a, original), the dual (b), the complementary (c), and the complementary-dual (d) of it are presented.

Figure 2. The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth – Patterns

The original (a) and the dual (b) are interesting labyrinths. The complementaries of them are uninteresting labyrinths, because in these the pathway enters the labyrinth on the outermost circuit (c) or reaches the center from the innermost circuit (d). The dual of an interesting labyrinth always is an interesting labyrinth too, the dual of an unintersting is always uninteresting labyrinth too.

Figure 3 shows the labyrinths corresponding to the patterns in their basic form with the walls delimiting the pathway on concentric layout and in clockwise rotation. Presently, I am not aware of any existing examples of a dual (b), complementary (c) or complementary-dual (d) to the Ravenna type labyrinth (a).

Figure 3. The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth – Basic Forms

From these basic forms it can be well seen that it seems justified to classify the complementary and complementary-dual labyrinths as uninteresting. The outermost (labyrinth c) and innermost (labyrinth d) respectively walls delimiting the path appear disrupted. Therefore labyrinths c and d seem less perfect than the original (a) and dual (b) labyrinths, where the pathway enters the labyrinth and reaches the center axially.

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By rotating or mirroring one will get dual and complementary labyrinths of existing labyrinths. Or differently expressed: Other, new labyrinths can be thereby be generated.
So I have three more new labyrinths as I can make a complementary one from a new dual labyrinth and I can make a dual one from a new complementary, which are identical. (For more see the Related Posts below).

Seen from this angle I have examined the still introduced 21 Babylonian Visceral Labyrinths in Knidos style and present here the variations most interesting for me. Since not each of the possible dual or complementary examples seems noteworthy.

Many, above all complementary ones, would begin on the first circuit and lead to the center on the last, which is yet undesirable.

Leaving out trivial circuits also will generate new labyrinths. This applies to the last two ones. If you compare the first and the last example you see two remarkable labyrinths: The first with 12 circuits and the last with 8 circuits, but using the same pattern.

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Among the one-arm labyrinths we have not found any pairs of uninteresting labyrinths complementary to each other (see related posts, below). In labyrinths with multiple arms, however, such pairs do exist, at least if we consider labyrinths as uninteresting in which the path enters on the outermost circuit or reaches the center from the innermost circuit. This is shown in the following example.

Figure 1. Complementary, Uninteresting Labyrinths

Labyrinth a has 2 arms and 3 circuits. The pathway enters on the outermost circuit. Therefore it is an uninteresting labyrinth. The path also reaches the center from the outermost circuit.

The complementary of it, labyrinth b, is also an uninteresting labyrinth. In this, the path enters the labyrinth on the innermost circuit and also reaches the center from the innermost cirucit.

So far, this is nothing special. But in this labyrinth we can observe another special feature. This can be seen, if we also view the two duals of these labyrinths. This is shown in the already familiar manner in figure 2.

Figure 2. The Dual and the Complementary Labyrinths are the Same

The dual (b) to the original labyrinth (a) ist the same as the complementary (c). The dual (d) to the complementary (c) is the same as the original (a). The two labyrinths that are dual-complementary to each other are the same.

Now this is not valid for all pairs of complementary uninteresting labyrinths. However, other labyrinths exist, in which this is also the case. In figure 3 I show two such examples of labyrinths and their patterns (only originals). In these labyrinths also, the complementary and the duals are the same.

Figure 3. Other Labyrinths with this Property

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To say it more exactly, here I relate to the 21 row-shaped visceral labyrinths, still known from some of the previous articles (see Related Posts below).

The appearance is defined by the circuit or path sequence. With that one can construct the different and new labyrinth types (here 21). To this I use the once before presented method to draw a labyrinth (see below).

The path and the limitation lines are equally wide. The center is bigger. The last piece of the path leads vertically into the center. All elements are connected next to each other without sharp bends and geometrically correct. There are only straight lines and curves. This all on the smallest place possible. All together makes up the Knidos style.

Look at a single picture in a bigger version by clicking on it:

I think that by this style the movement pattern of every labyrinth becomes especially well recognizable. With that they can be compared more easy with the already known labyrinths.

Remarkably for me it is that only one specimen (E 3384 v_6) begins with the first circuit. And the fact that many directly circle around the middle and, finally, from the first circuit the center directly is reached. Noticeably are also the many vertical straight and parallel pieces in the middle section.

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