History class brings Labyrinth to life in UWF Commons
By Matt Daniels
From Oct. 22 to the 24,, Mary Champagne’s class present the Labyrinth, a concentric pathway meant for meditation in the auditorium of the University of West Florida’s Commons.
Champagne’s specialty is 12th Century Rome, which is where she says some early signs of the Labyrinth can be found, but that the pattern itself goes even further than that.
The design of the path leads a person through a series of circles that expand along the outer edge, but eventually the path a person follows leads to the center.
“This design and this whole setup we have here dates to about 1200 A.D., so it’s repeating the shape and size of the labyrinth in the floor of Notre-Dame de Chartres, the earliest of the Gothic cathedrals,” Champagne said. “For the people, the center signified Jerusalem so people could meditate at home rather have to make the dangerous journey all the way there”.
Like many professors, Champagne put on the project in conjunction with her class. For the Labyrinth this semester, she says it is her class on the texts of medieval women.
“It’s just to give them another feel for something people would’ve done rather than just reading about it or writing about it, but actually doing it” Champagne said.
The symbols of the Labyrinth predate our history going back to prehistoric tombs and even in nature.
“Some psychologists have even likened it to the spiral of DNA,” Champagne said. “Everybody brings something different to it , and the whole purpose of it is to help you. I teach about it through history, because the ancient Greeks, of course, fitted it to their mythology. The minotaur on the island of Crete supposedly was supposed to take place in a labyrinth”.