A splurge this trip to Chartres was a private 4-hour tour of the cathedral, led by Michelle Campbell, a passionate and knowledgeable American who has lived and taught in Paris for 30 years. We met her at the center of the labyrinth, and she was full of stories and facts, and still some mysteries.
Here, in random order, are some things we learned.
- 88 Gothic cathedrals were built in France within 100 years, 22 of them have labyrinths
- the Chartres labyrinth is considered to be the ‘road to Jerusalem’ for those who can’t get there in person. It’s 42’ in diameter.
- the center of the labyrinth has the highest measured energy in the cathedral – 18,000 Mhz – and is the cathedral’s sacral chakra. The petals around the center measure 2,000 Mhz. It is where you are meant to leave all negative energy as you step into the center.
- the human body measures 6,000 Mhz, and the area outside the labyrinth measures 8,000 Mhz
- there were 114 crescent moons around the labyrinth perimeter (2 are no longer there), which is the exact number of verses in the Koran
- the three doors into the cathedral are said to represent the three religions that share Jerusalem – Judaism, Islam, Christianity
- there are many pagan symbols throughout the cathedral, particularly the Green Man…a man’s face with greenery growing out of it
- 88% of the stained glass in the cathedral is original from the 12th century. The three windows below the rose window on the front survived the fire, as well as a portion of one window on the south side, so they are much older.
- the Chartres stained glass cannot be replicated. Its ingredients included oak ash and donkey urine, and the sun coming through the panels creates an alchemical energy that bathes the people it touches in an alchemy that affects their energy
- if the Rose Window on the front facade could be hinged and dropped down into the nave, it would exactly cover the labyrinth
- stained glass windows are to be read from the bottom up
- all the stained glass was taken out during WW2 in case of bombing. Some windows were sent to Southern France in hiding, and some hidden below the cathedral
- the cathedral’s alter is its heart chakra
- Chartres Cathedral was blessed with a relic – a baby-sized shirt dated to Palestine in the 1st century. Villagers thought it had burned in the fire. But 3 days after the fire, some priests emerged from the crypt below the cathedral with the relic intact. This was seen as a sign from God and the villagers were inspired to help rebuild the cathedral in only 26 years…a record for the times.
- in France, the state owns the churches but the Catholic church runs them. Chartres is a UNESCO site.