The Chartres labyrinth has many qualities. For many it is by far the most perfect and beautiful labyrinth.
The special qualities of the Chartres labyrinth are not recognizable at first glance. One must look at it more exactly and try to understand the structure and the principles of its design.
First let us explore the self-duality.
The circuits in the drawing are numbered from the outside inwards as well as from the inside out (and the same way in the next diagram below).
First we determine the path sequence for the way in, from the outside (0) inwards (12):
Now we number the circuits from the inside (0) outwardly (12) and then we read the path sequence for the way back:
We ascertain, they are identical. So the Chartres labyrinth is self-dual, sign of its extraordinary quality.
The rhythm and the pattern of movement of a labyrinth is manifested in the path sequence. In the Chartres labyrinth the path sometimes touches two quadrants, sometimes only one. But never three or even four quadrants. The biggest step width is five (from circuits 0-5, 6-11, 1-6, 7-12). Most often, however, the step width is one. The most typical step sequence in the Chartres labyrinth is for me at the beginning 0-5-6-11 and 1-6-7-12 at the end. One immediately steps inside, reaches quite directly the innermost circuit, then oscillates through the whole labyrinth, and reaches unexpectedly the center from the outermost circuit. This expresses the dramaturgy of this special pattern of movement.
Admittedly, the counting is laborious. But walking the Chartres labyrinth needs no counting. The real experience can also made by walking.
What’s about the symmetry?
Let us have a look at the rectangle form and give different colors to the circuits. The entrance is at the bottom right and the center is reached on top left. The circuits are numbered in both directions, i.e. from the outside in and from the inside out. The horizontal distances between S, E, N, W, and S in the rectangular form are of no importance, as it shows the structure (Andreas refers to it as the pattern).
Circuit 6 represents the middle in both directions, this is the reflexion axis. The green and the blue fields are alike. Rotation and shifting shows that they are self-covering. The yellow fields are the connecting elements. They run step-shaped in serpentines.
Andreas calls them Cascading Serpentines (kaskadierende Serpentinen) . He sees in this an own principle of labyrinth construction. To learn more, have a look at his website (see the link below).