Labyrinths

Using Labyrinths on Campus

Information collated by Rev Judy Redman from a discussion on the TCMA email list and elsewhere.

Judy Redman and the chaplaincy teams at La Trobe and Charles Sturt, Albury-Wodonga have been using temporary labyrinths in the lead-up to the exam period. Robert Lingard has also used labyrinths at Southern Cross University, as have the chaplaincy team at Flinders. There is significant work on using labyrinths in university settings. You can download a document that provides 12 reasons for having a labyrinth at a university from www.labyrinthproject.com/12university.pdf and visit the Labyrinth Society’s website, especially their resources page on labyrinths in various places and research about their use  labyrinthsociety.org/labyrinths-in-places

 

Types of labyrinth

There are three types of labyrinth: classical or Cretan, Chatres-style and Baltic. The classical labyrinth is much easier to draw than the Chartres-style, but because it is less complex, it is not (at least in my opinion) as nice to walk as the Chartres-style. Both these are entered and exited at the same point. The Baltic labyrinth has different entry and exit points, so is better for a large group of people who want to walk at the same time. The labyrinth we have been using is the 7 ring classical style. The Chatres equivalent is called a Petit Chatres (or half Chatres).

Locations of labyrinths

Flinders University chaplaincy has a portable labyrinth made of duct tape on calico which they are happy to lend. The Augustine Centre in Melbourne has a paint-on-canvas Petit Chatres labyrinth which can also be borrowed. They would appreciate a donation for lending it out.
Contact details: www.augustine.org.au
Street address: 2 Minona Street, Hawthorn VIC (Melway map 45 E11),
email: office@augustine.org.au
phone: 03 9819 2844.
The Labyrinth Society website has a labyrinth locator here: www.labyrinthlinkaustralia.org/labyrinth_directory.htm

Drawing your own labyrinth

If you want to draw your own, there are a number of websites with information about this:

www.angelfire.com/my/zelime/labyrinthshowtodraw.html has instructions for drawing all three kinds of labyrinths. It also includes instructions for putting extra turns into the classical labyrinth, which makes it more like the Chartres one.

www.squidoo.com/drawalabyrinth – has instructions for classical and Chartres-style – scroll down the page and there are pdfs to download

www.labyrinthina.com/path.htm and scroll a long way down for instructions on a classical labyrinth. This page also provides information about the history and significance of labyrinths.

www.lessons4living.com/drawing.htm provides an animation

I also have some instructions on how to draw a classical labyrinth with masking tape on a floor – board, vinyl or carpet. Please email me for more information, J.Redman@latrobe.edu.au.

Drawing a classical labyrinth with flour on grass

A 7-ring classical labyrinth  with 45 cm wide paths can be drawn it in flour on grass in an hour if needed, but taking more time means you can get the paths more even. If you draw the paths totally freehand, you risk getting them of variable widths. If you mark 45 cm out from the last one at various points, you will get a better pattern, but this will take a lot longer – especially if you don’t have a helper. If there are two of you, one can put in path-width markers and the other can come behind and join the dots. Practise on paper until you are confident that you can draw it from memory before trying it ‘in real life’.

 

 

Equipment

  • A space about 10 m square
  • 3-4 kg of flour plus extra if you want it to last several daysas it will need refreshing more or less daily.
  • A plastic cup
  • A 1 metre ruler or a tape measure

If you want a neat labyrinth with even paths

  • A large funnel
  • A piece of string more than twice as long as the radius of the central circle
  • A helper or a tent peg – if you plan to use a tent peg, you need to check with your facilities management department that there are no pipes under the area where you want to work.

Instructions

Start the seed pattern about 1 metre in from the edge of your space to be. To make 45 cm paths, each arm of the centre cross on your seed needs to be 90 cm long, then the Ls have 45 cm arms, 45cm from the arms of the cross, and then the dots are 45 cm from the ends of the Ls. If you want a bigger one, make the cross arms 1.35 m, the first Ls 90 cm, then add an extra 45 cm L and the dots and you will get an 11 ring labyrinth – only necessary if you expect lots of people to want to walk at once. If you are expecting a large group, you might also consider making the paths 60 cm wide, so people can pass each other more easily. More flour and space will be needed.

You can then draw the labyrinth freehand, following the instructions you have downloaded and judging the width of the paths by eye, noting that you should draw a circle in the middle, rather than just a loop. The labyrinth in the photos was drawn freehand.

For a neater labyrinth, drive the tent peg in mid-way between the central cross and one of the Ls and the radius of the circle you want away from the top of the cross and the L, looping the string through it – see red dot in photo left – or get your helper to hold the string ends there. Hold the funnel over the end of the cross and insert it through the loop of string. Hold taut, fill the funnel with flour and draw circle as shown. Mark the next path with a few dots measured 45 cm away from the circle, then join the dots. You could drop the flour through your large funnel, but using a plastic cup to pour the flour out seems to be faster and more effective. Have one person doing the markings and the other joining the dots.

Drawing a classical labyrinth with chalk on concrete or pavers

Equipment

  • A space about 10 m square
  • 3 pieces of pavement/sidewalk chalk (you can buy this from some newsagents, toy stores and craft shops)
  • A 1 metre ruler or a tape measure

If you want a neat labyrinth with even paths

  • A piece of string more than twice as long as the radius of the central circle
  • A helper
  • A cloth and water in case you make a mistake

 

Follow the directions above, except that you cannot drive a tent peg into concrete so you need a helper to hold the string. The labyrinth in the picture was drawn by two people measuring the paths. It took about an hour and a half to draw. The central circle is 90 cm in diameter (ie 45 cm radius) – but it could be larger if you expect large numbers of people to walk at once.

Comments from labyrinth users in Albury-Wodonga

“I was on my way to get an energy drink from the cafeteria but now I don’t need one – I feel so energized” – student.

“I can feel the stress draining away” – member of staff.

“I felt an incredible sense of release standing in the centre – can I get instructions, please? I think I can draw one in my carport” – member of staff.

“I was really disappointed that there was a basketball game going on [on the nearby court] and the traffic was noisy when I went down to walk it, but after I got a few steps in, I didn’t hear anything and when I was standing in the middle, all I could hear was the birds singing. As soon as I got out, I could hear the noises again.” – member of staff.

When we made the labyrinths available at the Albury-Wodonga campuses, chaplains and one of the counselors were available over the lunch break, but we left brochures around so that the campus community could walk at any time that suited them. A copy of the brochure from Charles Sturt University is also available on the website.

 

For more infomation concerning Labyrinths click here

For a pdf version of the information above click here