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23.5 Degrees: The Labyrinth's Lament
"This is an oubliette, labyrinth's full of 'em."
By Stella Maris
July 26, 2008
Our first impression upon entering Chartres Cathedral was that it had become a tourist trap. We weren't immediately struck by the majesty of God in his Heaven or awe for the skill of the master masons triumphing over the laws of physics or even by the lure of the dark goddess peering seductively out the shadows.
The biggest disappointment was that the cathedral's world-famous Labyrinth was covered in chairs, set up in preparation for the Mass. In fact, the whole vibe was one of grudging tolerance of the pesky pilgrims in the hope that we would piously empty our pockets and then rapidly retire to a cafe or souvenir shop in the square. The Druids would have been seriously pissed off.
We could fully understand why the modern pilgrim is straying from organized religions, looking for alternative spiritual experiences, with jewels like Notre Dame de Chartres being displayed as antiseptically preserved sacerdotal theme parks.
Nowadays, Maghead cult movements are even systematically retrofitting the archetypal attributes of Notre Dame onto Mary Magdalene, portrayed as the secret wife of Jesus, in one last futile attempt to reclaim some kind of meaningful motivation within the existing religious mindsets.
But it took me many years, and several visits back to Chartres and other Newton Coordinates, to even begin to grasp the vagaries of the role these edifices play within the navigation of the space-time continuum that defines our existence.
And so, Soph and I trudged like somnambulant sheep through the fabric of Chartres Cathedral, utterly oblivious to the persistent subliminal message that was being whispered to us through the flotsam and jetsam of modern life...
Newton Coordinate: The Feast Day of Saint Christopher, July 25th, Gamma Virginis, 1º31' East of the Greenwich Meridian.