What’s the Use of the Pattern?

Many of those who are involved with labyrinths use the rectangular form, e.g. Jo Edkins, Niels Mejlhede Jensen, some authors in Caerdroia and many others. Erwin and myself have used it in many posts on this blog. Not all use the same rectangular form and not all use it the same way. However they all intend to achieve a better understanding of the labyrinth. In the following I show some examples with the rectangular form of the Chartres labyrinth.


Figure 1

Thorn Steafel (fig. 1) uses the rectangular form for the walls obtained with method 1 in order to compare the patterns of the Chartres and the Bayeux labyrinths (Steafel T. Reappraising the Bayeux Labyrinth. Caerdroia 2014; 43: 40-45).


Figure 2

Jo Edkins shows on his website the rectangular form  for the Ariadne’s Thread using method 1 and analyzes the course of the pathway (fig. 2).


Figure 3

The same rectangular form (for the Ariadne’s Thread, applying method 1) is used by Erwin in this post (fig. 3). He analyzes the course of the pathway and the duality. This latter can be seen in the different numberings of the circuits on the left and right outer sides. In all three rectangular forms obtained with method 1, the entrance is at bottom right and the center on top left.

RF Chartres

Figure 4

Since it can be read from top left to bottom right, I always use the rectangular form for the Ariadne’s Thread obtained with method 2 (fig. 4). This is the form I refer to as the pattern.


Figure 5

Actually, Niels Mejlhede Jensen uses also the rectangular form for the Ariadne’s Thread obtained with method 2 (fig. 5). However, he starts from a labyrinth the main axis of which is oriented to the right. Therefore, his version of the rectangular form stands on one of the outer sides, the arms are represented in horizontal, the circuits in vertical order. The rectangular form or pattern shows the essential of a labyrinth without confusions that may be caused by circular or polygonal layouts, varying lengths of circuits, decorative artwork etc. This is useful for

  • the analysis of the course of the pathway. This may serve for further purposes such as
  • comparing labyrinths in order to identify communities or differences between labyrinths
  • presenting the inner structure and particularities of specific labyrinths
  • the research of relationships between different labyrinths
  • the demonstration of an important general property of labyrinths: the duality

The pattern provides an unambigous criterion for grouping similar and distinguishing between different labyrinths.

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