About the time that Hermann Kern was researching material for his labyrinth book in the late 1970's, a modest labyrinth revival was already in progress in Britain. The reprinting of W.H.Matthews' Mazes & Labyrinths in 1970 and the publication of Janet Bord's Mazes and Labyrinths of the World in 1976 provided a valuable stimulus for this revival, with researchers such as Nigel Pennick producing a number of small, self-published titles from the mid-70's onwards. The maze building exploits of Greg Bright at Pilton, Somerset in 1971 and the subsequent use of his complex swirling design for the hugely influential hedge maze at Longleat House, planted 1975, triggered the new interest in puzzle mazes. This interest was documented and encouraged with the founding of Caerdroia, the Journal of Mazes and Labyrinths by Jeff and Deb Saward in 1980. A series of lectures and events during the 1980's allowed many British labyrinth enthusiasts to meet, share their knowledge and discover the work of other researchers, particularly the work of John Kraft, Bo StjernstrØm and others in Scandinavia. Jeff Saward and Hermann Kern met on one brief occasion in 1983. Saward was to continue publication of Caerdroia to the present day, for almost two decades now, in addition to traveling extensively and accumulating an admirable body of photographs and documentation, many of which were used in the English Edition of this book.
The designation of 1991 as 'The Year of the Maze' as a tourism theme by the English Tourist Board saw a flurry of new mazes installed and the publication of several popular books, coinciding with the events and publicity planned for the year. Nigel Pennick's Mazes and Labyrinths and Adrian Fisher's The Art of the Maze introduced the subject to a whole new generation of readers. Heightened media awareness ensured publicity for many maze-related events, culminating in Labyrinth'91, an international conference at Saffron Walden in July 1991. Maze and labyrinth enthusiasts from the UK, USA and Europe gathered to meet and join the celebration of the restoration of the important early 19th century hedge maze, at Bridge End Gardens, in the town.
Adrian Fisher, during the same time period, has established himself as the world's foremost maze builder, with some 200 installations in such divergent locations as schools, museums, gardens and amusement parks around the world. For the most part his work is modern and multi-cursal, but a number of his designs draw inspiration from the earlier uni-cursal labyrinths. His fascination for maze puzzles started with the construction of his first hedge maze in 1975 and developed during the early 1980's, when he started his maze design business, Minotaur Designs. Early partnerships with Randoll Coate, Graham Burgess and others, brought in a number of different influences and design themes to Fisher's work, which has developed to introduce a number of radical new interactive features and construction materials to the maze design world. Along with the familiar formal hedge mazes, Fisher has installed mazes constructed of mirrors, wooden fencing panels, brick pavement, colored plastic tiles and walls of water fountains. The latest of these developments, the Maize Mazes, currently popular in the late summer cornfields of Europe and America, has seen the construction of the largest public mazes ever recorded, with path lengths approaching four miles.
Fisher's former design partner, Randoll Coate, has pioneered the use of multiple superimposed imagery for maze designs in the 20 or so examples he has been involved with. The resulting combination of ancient symbolism, familiar in labyrinth design, within a modern maze, has been most innovative and can be seen to good effect in a number of examples throughout Europe - particularly at Varmlands, Sweden and the recently planted Sun Maze & Lunar Labyrinth at Longleat, England.
Meanwhile, the labyrinth revival in the United States took two parallel tracks. After reading Gerald Heard's story Dromenon, author Jean Houston began to include the labyrinth in her seminars as far back as the 1960's, even adopting the labyrinth as her logo. Greater emphasis, however, was given to the labyrinth, under the name dromenon, in Houston's well-known Mystery Schools B beginning in the mid-1980's. The dromenon is based on the medieval cathedral labyrinths, with the same path pattern as the Chartres labyrinth, although of different overall proportions and excluding the petals and perimeter decoration.
It was through Jean Houston that The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, Canon for Special Ministries at Grace Cathedral (Episcopal) in San Francisco, became inspired by the labyrinth. Traveling with a portable canvas labyrinth, Artress almost single handedly began the revival of interest in churches to rediscover the lost tradition of the labyrinth. Her book, Walking A Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool (Riverhead Books, New York, 1996), has become the standard guidebook for the meditative use of the labyrinth. (((Illustration: Cindy Pavlinac's photo from above, at Grace cathedral, looking down at the labyrinth. Caption: "Replica of the Chartres labyrinth - with slight modifications - woven into a wool carpet and displayed in the nave of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Photo by Cindy Pavlinac."
The two permanent labyrinths installed at Grace Cathedral B one indoors and one outside, the latter being open 24 hours a day B have been walked by an estimated one million people in the last five years. A number of these people went home to their churches and either purchased or made their own labyrinth. Artress currently works full time as head of the non-profit organization Veriditas: The Worldwide Labyrinth Project. Hundreds of people have been trained as labyrinth facilitators through the on-going programs of Veriditas. Labyrinth Projects based on the Veriditas model were formed in other parts of the country, first by Helen Curry in Connecticut, by Robert Ferré in Missouri, by Annette Reynolds in Alabama, and elsewhere.
Independent of the labyrinth revival in churches, a parallel movement developed amongst American dowsers in the mid-1980's through interaction between Sig Lonegren and Jeff Saward, editor of the British labyrinth journal Caerdroia. Lonegren and Richard Feather Anderson began to install labyrinths at national and regional conventions of the American Society of Dowsers, an activity soon passed on to Alex Champion, a full-time labyrinth and earthworks builder since 1989. Both Lonegren and Anderson taught courses in geomancy and sacred space, including how to build and use labyrinths. In 1991, Sig Lonegren's book Labyrinths: Ancient Myths and Modern Uses was published, immediately becoming a popular resource for labyrinths. So, too, were Champion's self-published
books, Earth Mazes (1990) and Earth and Other Mazes (1996). (((Illustration: Ariel view of Alex Champion's yard, which has four earthworks labyrinths. Caption: "Four earthworks labyrinths constructed by Alex Champion at his home in Marin County, California."
Increasing activity on both labyrinth fronts led to the establishment in 1994 of a publication called The Labyrinth Letter, edited by Jean Lutz in Scottsdale, Arizona (no longer published). She also organized the first and second annual national labyrinth conferences in 1995 and 1996. Additional labyrinth conferences were sponsored by Labyrinth Enterprises in 1997 and 1998, during which an international labyrinth organization was formed. Now operational, The Labyrinth Society is poised to become a major resource for labyrinth education, research, and activity. (For information on The Labyrinth Society see the list of web pages at the end of this chapter. )
The labyrinth revival has seen a number of innovations with regard to labyrinth designs and construction techniques. Traditionally, medieval cathedral labyrinths were indoor pavement labyrinths, most often of the Chartres pattern, whereas Scandinavian Troy Towns were classic labyrinths made of stones and located along the shores of the Baltic Sea. These distinctions have become blurred. Pavement labyrinths have been moved outdoors, painted on cement or asphalt, or constructed of granite, brick or terrazzo. The Chartres pattern has been made in sizes up to 100 feet in diameter using the Troy Town technique of laying out stones on the ground, often adding wood bark or mulch for the surface of the paths. One such construction at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Elgin, Illinois (near Chicago) is called "The Earth Wisdom Labyrinth," combining both pagan and Christian connotations.
Artist Marty Cain has promoted a variation of the classical 7-circuit labyrinth seed pattern which results in a symmetrical (although not completely round) classical labyrinth (((Illustration: the mystical labyrinth in the mist in Georgia, caption sent earlier.))) , whereas instructional material written by Robert Ferré suggests enlarging the center of the classical labyrinth, in order to accommodate more people. An entirely new labyrinth design, called the Santa Rosa Labyrinth, has been introduced by Lea Goode, which combines the two most popular styles, being seven circuits, round, with interior Chartres-like turns and proportions.
As labyrinth walking has become more and more popular, the demand is sometimes met by making temporary or portable labyrinths. For example, labyrinths drawn and painted on canvas may be unfolded, used for a matter of hours, and then returned to storage. They can be transported from place to place, with the set-up time being only a matter of minutes. Other media used to make temporary labyrinths include masking tape, rope, and engineers' flags. Some temporary labyrinths have been small Troy Towns, with each participant to the event taking home several of the stones, thereby dismantling the labyrinth. Other labyrinths have been made by drawing in the sand or painting the grass. Stewart Bartholomaus has became recognized for his efforts in mowing labyrinths by leaving some grass long and cutting other areas (the paths) short. (((Illustration from transparencies sent previously of Stuart Bartholomaus mowing a labyrinth into the grass. Caption: "Stuart Bartholomaus in the process of mowing a labyrinth in a church yard in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. This is one of the least expensive ways to make a labyrinth. The "walls" can be left to grow long or may be trimmed for a more manicured look.")))
In 1979, labyrinth researcher Jean Louis Bourgeois (who contributed material to Hermann Kern on labyrinths in India) conducted a study of the hedge maze in New Harmony, Indiana. This maze was built in 1939, patterned after the original maze constructed in1814 by Harmonists, a German community seeking religious freedom in the New World. Harmonist leader Frederick Rapp was known to have admired the work of Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), whose design of a utopian labyrinthine city, Christianapolis, is pictured in Illus. -----(336). While the hedge maze is currently in a sad state of disrepair, that's not the end of the story for New Harmony.
The entire Harmonist village was purchased (and renamed New Harmony) by Scottish industrialist Robert Owen in 1824 to fulfill his vision of a place for intellectuals and scientists. During the past 50 years, Mrs. Jane Blaffer Owen, wife of the current 20th-century Robert Owen, has made a concerted effort to reestablish New Harmony as a place of art and beauty. A recent project involved constructing a full-scale granite replica of the Chartres labyrinth, set in a park specifically designed to reflect the sacred geometry of the nave of Chartres Cathedral. Architects Kent Schuette and Rob Sovinsky guided the building of the Cathedral Labyrinth, as it is called (see Illust. --), which is arguably the most beautiful labyrinth in the United States (dedicated in October, 1997, by Chanoine François Legaux, Rector of Chartres Cathedral). (((Illustration - The Cathedral Labyrinth, from professional transparencies previously sent, also used for the frontispiece for this chapter.))) Part of the ensemble includes a fountain by artist Simon Verity, which allows walkers to go barefoot on the smooth granite and then wash their feet afterwards.
Likewise starting in the mid-1970's, the labyrinth research of John Kraft, Bo StjernstrØm, JÝrgen Thordrup and others, has seen a remarkable resurgence of interest in the labyrinth within Scandinavia. Building on the archival works of earlier authors, Kraft and StjernstrØm have diligently researched, located and catalogued the considerable number of sites, predominantly stone labyrinths, throughout the region. Publishing their findings in a number of archeological and historical journals, as well as in newspapers and magazines (including a number of English language summaries in Caerdroia), has presented this wealth of material to a wide audience and generated much interest in the subject. The application of archeological dating techniques to the stone labyrinths from the mid-1980's onwards by Noel Broadbent and Rabbe SjØberg, has revolutionized the understanding of these enigmatic monuments and brought them to the attention of the archeological community. This in turn is promoting further research and official recognition and preservation for the surviving examples.
A number of replicas of the ancient labyrinths have been constructed in school yards and childrens' playgrounds and at other educational foundations, particularly in Denmark. The installation of a stone labyrinth at the popular re-creation of an Iron Age village at Lejre, in 1979, has led to a number of similar examples in Denmark and elsewhere throughout Scandinavia. The tireless work of JÝrgen Thordrup, promoting the labyrinth in his native Denmark, has seen a number of examples constructed in playgrounds and parks, often in connection with schools and local cultural projects. Kraft and Thordrup have also been closely involved with a number of art exhibitions with a labyrinth theme held in Scandinavia since 1995.
The revival of labyrinth interest in France has been reflected in the number of books on the subject published in recent years. A leading proponent has been John Ketley (Chartres, le labyrinthe déchiffré, Editions Garnier, Chartres, 1997), who utilized the extensive measurements and research of John James= three-volume study of the masons who built Chartres Cathedral. James attributes the building of the labyrinth to the first and most important mason, who also appears to have laid out the design of the cathedral and who later made the magnificent western rose window. James proposes that the labyrinth was the first element to be completed within the cathedral (1201), and that it occupies an essential position in its sacred geometry and symbolism. Ketley elaborates on James' theme.
In L'univers secret du labyrinth (Editions Robert Laffont, S.A., Paris, 1992), Paul de Saint-Hilaire discusses various esoteric aspects of the labyrinth, and includes an illustrated catalog of 500 existing labyrinths. Dominique Naert has written an excellent monograph in Le Labyrinthe de la Cathedrale de Reims, La Signature des Bâtisseurs (Sides, Fontenay-sous-Bois, 1996). In his examination of existing research on labyrinths, Hermann Kern was not hesitant to declare a theory "untenable" or a work "inadequate." He would have rejected much of the French literature, which often fails to distinguish between labyrinths and mazes (see footnote 1, Chapter 1). In L'esprit du labyrinthe (#104 in the "Question de -" series of Albin Michel, Paris), Patrick Conty spends many pages describing the geometry of knots, which, lacking a single path and a defined center, are not labyrinths at all. Even further a field is Jacques Attali's Chemins de sagesse, traité du labyrinthe (Fayard, 1996, translated into English as The Labyrinth in Culture and Society: Pathways to Wisdom, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1998), which, while acknowledging the difference between unicursal and multicursal patterns, proceeds to totally disregard that difference.
The French fascination with multicursal mazes as games is reflected in a new tourist attraction, founded in 1996 in the Loire Valley near the town of Loches. Called Labyrinthus, it offers six maze designs including a large cornfield maze.
The new cathedral in Evry, a planned town on the outskirts of Paris, is the only cathedral built in France during the past 200 years. Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta and finished in 1995, the cathedral contains 800,000 red bricks. An octagonal chapel off the main sanctuary contains a labyrinth on the floor, a small version of the one at Amiens. Since it goes all the way to the walls, and the room has furniture (pews, altar, etc.), it is not possible to walk the labyrinth, which for some reason, is neither pictured nor even mentioned in the booklets describing the cathedral.
At Chartres Cathedral, the labyrinth tradition is slowly reviving after centuries of dormancy. Previously the chairs were removed from the labyrinth and the public allowed to walk it only two or three times a year. This began to change in June, 1997, when Chanoine François Legaux, Rector of Chartres Cathedral, visited Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to see their labyrinths. His interactions with The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress and The Very Reverend Dr. Allen Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, allowed the Rector to envision a contemporary relevance for the labyrinth consistent with the Christian mission of Chartres Cathedral. Continued close ecumenical activity between Grace Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral has resulted in the uncovering of the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral during the past two summers (1998 and 1999), with time reserved at the end of the day for public walking. Thus has the medieval cathedral labyrinth tradition made full circle, as labyrinths are wont to do, from Chartres Cathedral to America and back again.
More than in other countries, Switzerland seems to embrace the appropriateness of labyrinths in public places, of which more than 50 have been established in recent years, in addition to dozens of other on private property.
The impetus for public labyrinths began when artist Agnes Barmettler and art teacher Rosmarie Schmid won first place among 140 entrants in a 1989 design competition for public spaces, sponsored in Zurich for the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Swiss Federation. The project was constructed on the site of a former military academy (Zeughausareal), just a ten minute walk from the central train station. Some 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter, the labyrinth is of contemporary design including landscaping that is maintained by a corps of women volunteers.
In fact, the labyrinth revival has been largely the responsibility of women, especially the organization Projekt Labyrinth, Oefffentliche Frauenplatze International an 133 Orten, which took on the goal of establishing 133 public labyrinths by the end of the century. Barmettler and Schmid, both well-versed in the philosophy and tradition of labyrinths, have served as consultants for the construction of many other projects. Sites for labyrinths include protestant and Catholic churches and academies, retreat centers, universities and women's organizations. Although initiated by women, the labyrinths have drawn a wide range of participants, men, women, and children, for meditation, ceremonies (such as full moon and solstice celebrations), cultural events, and sacred dance.
Besides the Chartres and Cretan patterns, another commonly used design is the Scandinavian or Baltic Wheel, which allows a choice between a longer path or a shorter one, an especially useful feature in very large labyrinths. (((See Illust.--- (Boldern)))
The women creators of Switzerland's labyrinths have emphasized harmony with the natural surroundings, including trees, rocks and brooks in the designs. Case in point, the labyrinth at the Academy of Boldern, Männedorf (on Lake Zurich), placed in front of a Japanese pavilion, has the feel of a Zen garden. This is the largest labyrinth in Switzerland and follows the pattern of the Baltic Wheel pattern in Hanover, Germany. (((Illus. - - - Boldern)))
Another leading figure in the promotion of Swiss labyrinths, Susanne Kramer-Friedrich, has developed a guide to labyrinth locations (((see chart, Illus. -----))), which is also featured on the Internet (see list at end of chapter). It is interesting that Swiss labyrinth activity has been centered around Zurich, the same city that contains the only medieval example of a labyrinth displayed on a secular building (((see Illus ---- (346))).
When Hermann Kern was compiling his work in the late 1970's, the partition of East and West Germany caused serious problems for researchers attempting to look beyond the 'Iron Curtain'. Kern himself was convinced that the turf labyrinths at Steigra and Graitschen in Eastern Germany had long since vanished, since no reference to them had been published in Western literature since before WWII. A visit to both these labyrinths by Jeff Saward in 1983 proved otherwise and provided an impetus for further research. Archival work by Nigel Pennick, John Kraft and more recently by Kurt Kròger, has since provided more information on labyrinths in Germany. (((Refer here to an update at the end of one of the chapters, referring to new information about existing German labyrinths?)))
In recent years a number of new labyrinths have appeared in Bonn, Stuttgart, Frankfurt-am-Main and Karlsruhe, amongst others, with more in the planning stages for Erfurt, Dresden and Hannover. Artist Gundala Thormaehlen Friedman has constructed Cretan labyrinths at her residence in Bad Krueznach as well as in Disibodenberg at the cloister of 12th-century Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Labyrinth researcher and author Gernot Candolini reports the following recently constructed labyrinths: Würzburg (Haus St. Benedikt, Cretan, stones on grass), Augsburg (St. Sebastian, Chartres, bricks in grass), Hofheim-Langenheim (Lutheran Church, Cretan, construction not reported), Nelingen-Ostfildern (Labyrinthfrauen, classical, landscaped with flowers), Ingersheim (Lutheran Church, three-circuit pavement labyrinth), and Stuttgart-Zazenhausen (Lutheran Church, Chartres, pavement).
Most German labyrinths are again the result of women's groups, inspired and assisted by the labyrinth community from Switzerland. Schmid and Barmettler have made more than 50 presentations to Volkshochschulen (institutions for permanent education) , Frauenzentren (women's centers), and other groups in Germany. As in Switzerland, there is a strong bent toward geomantic considerations in the design and placement of the labyrinths.
Dancer Dagmar von Garnier is organizing a special labyrinth for the Millennium Womens' Festival in Frankfurt, the 1st and 2nd of June, 2000. Each of the 1000 flagstones forming the labyrinth path will be engraved with the name of a woman, famous or forgotten, in mythology and history. (For more details, see Internet sites at the end of the chapter.)
Recent constructions in Austria include a hedge maze in the shape of an outstretched hand at Wattens, by André Heller, and the construction of a number of temporary labyrinths at the Tiroler Gartenschau in Innsbruck by Austrian labyrinth enthusiast Gernot Candolini (author of two labyrinth books published in Germany: Labyrinthe: Ein Praxisbuch zum Malen, Bauen, Tanzen, Spielen, Meditieren und Feiern and Geheimnisvolles Labyrinth - Mythos und Geschichte eines Menschheitssymbols, both Pattloch Verlag, Augsburg, 1999). In Schloss Schonbrunn a new hedge maze for the Irrgarten opened in September, 1999. It was designed (by Candolini) after one of the six elements of the original 18th -century maze on the site, destroyed at the end of last century.
Ilse M. Seifried has organized an exhibition, Die Kunst zu wandeln: Das Labyrinth, Mythos und Wirklichkeit for the Shedhalle in St. Pölten (Nov. 23, 1999 - Jan. 24, 2000), which will likely generate further interest. Candolini reports the location of these additional labyrinths in Austria: Bad Tatzmannsdorf (Kurpark, Cretan, landscaped), Loipersdorf (Troy Town), Pöllau (Stiftsgarten, Cretan, stones and landscape, and a new design in Naturpark by Jörg Purner), Heiligenkrauz (Haus der Stille, Chartres, pavement), Innsbruck (Siebererschule, Cretan, stones; City Park, round Cretan,landscaped; and Domplatz, a multi-colored pavement labyrinth to be completed in the year 2000).
AUSTRALASIA & THE FAR EAST
Despite the absence of a native labyrinth tradition in Australasia or the Far East, it is perhaps not surprising that the spread of European colonialism to this region from the late 18th century onwards should bring the labyrinth, in one or other of its forms, to establish a foothold on the opposite side of the globe from its earliest recorded examples. The splendid maze at Peking, constructed of high brick walls enclosing small groves of trees and a central pavilion, was built in the gardens of the Imperial Court by 1766, but destroyed in 1860. The first maze in Australia would appear to be the Ballarat hedge maze, in the Botanical Gardens, originally planted in 1862, cleared in 1881, replanted in the late 1880's and eventually destroyed in 1954 (although plans remain on file to restore it again someday). Several other early examples are all of the traditional hedge maze variety: Belair, 1886 (the only survivor, but overgrown); Geelong, 1896; Melbourne, 1890's; indeed most are direct copies of hedge mazes in Britain, from where this influence originated. The first maze to be established in New Zealand, in 1911 at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, was likewise a hedge maze, but regrettably was finally removed, after initial re-siting and restoration in the 1930's, in 1947.
In recent years the concept of the maze has once again become popular in Australia and New Zealand. The start of this modern maze expansion can be traced to the construction, in 1973, of the Wanaka Maze by Stuart Landsborough. This innovative maze was the first to utilize wooden fencing panels to construct a large, challenging puzzle maze, which could be installed almost 'overnight'. Landsborough has continued to develop and refine his maze and has experimented with bridges and multiple layers of decks along with movable sections of fencing to make the puzzle easier, or more difficult, for visitors. During the early 1980's Landsborough was involved in creating a number of similar mazes elsewhere in New Zealand and Australia and this maze concept was widely imitated throughout the region. It's introduction into Japan at this time resulted in a remarkable craze for these ever more elaborate and complex wooden panel mazes. In the space of five years, in the mid-1980's, as many as 200 were built, although only the better sited and commercially successful survive.
In the closing years of the 20th century, the maze is still a popular entertainment in Australia and New Zealand. The Wanaka Maze still proves popular and is the flagship for maze interest in NZ. A flurry of new mazes planted or opened in the last few years in Australia includes some huge creeper mazes (fast growing creepers over trellis work) and several multi-maze complexes - including the splendidly named Tasmazia in Tasmania and the Hedgend Mazes at Healesville, Victoria. After nearly a century and a half of mazes in the region, it is interesting to hear that in the last few years several groups have sprung up in Australia that are building labyrinths - influenced directly from the example in Grace Cathedral, California.
Surely Hermann Kern would have been interested to see how, at the end of the fourth millennium in which the labyrinth story has unfolded, this most ancient of symbols has now found its way to just about every corner of the world. Entering the next millennium, it shows no sign of losing its relevance in a global society where modern technologies allow ideas to disseminate over great distances almost instantaneously. During the last twenty years or so the labyrinth symbol and its attendant mythology has undergone a rapid evolution, becoming once again a vibrant concept which has infiltrated into many aspects of public consciousness. The recent upsurge of interest in its history and development has seen a sharing of ideas and information, a bringing together of practitioners and researchers, designers and creators. At the same time the labyrinth has been appropriated by the media as a theme for computer games, financial chicanery, feature films and television alike. Alongside this is the current resurgence of the labyrinth in its many multicursal forms as a fundamental part of leisure development, with the construction of many hundreds of puzzle mazes, often large and complex, in parks and playgrounds throughout the world. And the simple, unicursal labyrinth continues to spread yet further a field, often alongside its complex cousins. A process which we have seen happen a number of times over the past millennia and which provides a surprising modern-day parallel for previous episodes of labyrinth popularity.