Writings About My Pilgrimage to Chartres

The Archetype of the Web.

I am reading The Path of the Holy Fool by Dr. Lauren Artress and The Speech of the Grail by Linda Sussman to prepare for my pilgrimage to Chartres Cathedral September 14-24, 2022. There are many threads of wisdom that speak to me in these books.

A Worthy Read

            In chapter 4 of the Holy Fool, Dr. Artress speaks about the web of interconnectedness. She shares that before the western world adopted the solar calendar, the Luna calendar set the rhythms of the months with 13 zodiac characters instead of our current 12 zodiac characters. The spider was the erased 13th zodiac sign.  

This seems significant because, in Hindu and Native American literature, the spider is a symbol and archetype of divine feminine energy.   The Navajo story of Spider Woman represents her as a Goddess, balancing mind, body, and spirit.   Her energy was co-opted and became invisible to us, even though she is very much alive in our psyches.

Now, in this time of global chaos, the symbol of the Divine Feminine is returning. We need her to make a stunning and powerful return. Show us, spider woman, our next step as we live in the collective unconscious. Bless us with visions of healing on our path. Empower us with your energy and help us show up for ourselves and for our connections around us.

 I chose the above Chief Seattle quote: “what we do to the web, we do to ourselves. We are all connected,” to draw our attention to the web we weave.  The Labyrinth is a web that weaves us together from the outside and inside out.    The Labyrinth provides a sacred space that allows us to unwind and weave back and forth while the stream of consciousness flows from thought to thought,  reaching stillness. In stillness, the center receives our thoughts, secrets, and dreams. The center holds that space and blesses us.  Then we weave our return, back toward the world where we plant new dreams, hopes, and visions that we received from our journey.

What Are Your Connections?

Reflect on your web of connections and become conscious that your actions, thoughts, wants, and dreams are energetic fields that impact those around you in invisible ways.  Be kind, be positive and when angry, upset, or hurt, stay with the discomfort to let yourself grow.  Enjoy your week and notice your connections…nurture them.

Why Pilgrimage To Chartres Cathedral?

Here is a link to the whole Chartres Light Show https://youtu.be/VGDWsYPSXf4

Chartres is a complex tapestry of history, mystery, and miracles.  The history of Chartres predates the Cathedral that currently stands on the hill in Chartres, France. Once upon a time, that space belonged to the Celtic Druids, and the rumor is that the druids chose Chartres because of its energy field. Legend shares that the earlier grotto of the Druids, where a sacred spring once ran underground is now where the crypt is.

            The Druids prophesied that a virgin would give birth to a child for the good of the world. Thus there were many statutes of the protective mother with a child on her knees throughout the area and near the sacred well where the waters run deep. 

            Legend even tells us that Christians were thrown into the waters by the Roman soldiers because they were found worshipping Mary’s statues there.  That would make them the first martyrs of that era.  Of course, it is said that Mary’s garment, the Sancta Camisia that she wore while birthing Christ was given to Chartres by Charles the Bald in 876 and stored in the crypt. 

Santa Camisia

When the Normans attacked the city in the 10th century, the Bishop of Chartres waived the Camisia from the top of the church, and the invaders fled. The Sancta Camisia also survived the great fire of 1194.

Chartres has many stories about stained glass windows, pillars, stones, and of course, the reason that I will make this journey this week, the Labyrinth.

The Chartres Labyrinth is the template for all eleven circuit Labyrinth replicas today. It is the only surviving eleven-circuit walking Labyrinth in the world, and it is full of sacred geometry. The number of stones are 272 representing the gestation period. There are 28 lunations per quadrant marking the lunar calendar, with 28 turns of the circuits on the way to the mysterious center and 28 on the return. Walking clockwise and counter-clockwise is a metaphor for the twists and turns of our daily life.

Chartres Labyrinth Candlelit Walk

In the Myth of the Holy Grail, the first question is what ails you, and the second is, how can I serve you?

On a pilgrimage, the Pilgrim brings what ails them and returns to the world with the question, how can I help?

            A sacred site is all of these metaphors, symbols and rich stories, but most of all what does it mean to the pilgrim making the journey.  Yes, it boils down to what makes a space sacred to you.    I have had many pilgrimages of different varieties in my life, one of the most memorable ones was a get away to San Diego.  That was simply that…a get away with a beach. It was a short much needed break from a very packed therapy practice. But each day when I left my little hotel room a homeless woman greeted me from her bench.  Each day when I returned from my walkable sojourn on the beach, I stopped and got two hamburgers and fries from the hamburger shack, one for me and one for her.  That memory is still with me.  I can see her bundled up with her belongings on the bench.  I am sure we never spoke and I am not sure if we made eye contact but the exchange impacts me to this day. What are your pilgrimage stories?  Find them and create them going forward.



Universe of Stone: Phillip Ball

Walking a Sacred Path: Lauren Artress


2 thoughts on “Writings About My Pilgrimage to Chartres

  1. Very interesting and thought provoking! What is my journey? my pilgrimage?


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