Labyrinths

St Stephens Episcopal labyrith

St Stephens Episcopal labyrinth

Earth Sanctuary Labyrinth

Earth Sanctuary Labyrinth

I really like labyrinths. They’re not mazes; the object is not to get lost. You can see where you’re going…

But the way they’re constructed makes them a walking meditation and metaphor for life. One of the more interesting things (to me) is that at first it appears that you’re headed straight for the center (the goal) and then there are all sorts of switchbacks, until you’re not sure if you’ll ever get there.

I also tend to lose my concentration, and then wonder if I ever walked through certain parts. But I must have, or wouldn’t have ended up in the center.  At any rate, I tend to walk labyrinths whenever I can.

So it’s odd that even though I’ve known about the labyrinth at St Paul’s Episcopal in PT (and even met the woman who designed it), I still hadn’t walked it until last week. For once, there was nothing much going on at the church when I went by, so I pulled over & walked thru it. It is truly beautiful, with designs made from brick and shiny black rocks.

It’s not so odd to find a labyrinth at an Episcopal church; Grace Cathedral in San Francisco has 2, and St John’s Cathedral in Spokane has one as well. (I’m sure there are more around the country…)

The very next day, I was at Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island, and what do you know- another labyrinth. Totally different, with the borders marked by growing salal, but also a very powerful experience. The silence (except for the birds and little rustlings of small animals) made it feel as if I were enveloped in the earth’s energy. Leaving the Sanctuary, I was so calm and peaceful that I nearly stepped on a rabbit. I don’t know who was more surprised…

I mentioned labyrinths at my Artist’s Way group, and someone told me there was yet another labyrinth in a county park nearby, so of course I headed out there. I checked the bulletin board for their map, and followed it to the place the labyrinth should have been. I found the basketball courts, bmx track, horseshoe pitches. But no labyrinth.

So I was wandering around the woods in a white sweater, looking for something labyrinth-y and seeing nothing but disc golf baskets. Pretty soon it became clear that I was 1) not going to find the labyrinth 2) going to wreck my sweater and 3) probably going to get beaned with a disc. So I gave up on that one.

I actually have a theory that the county parks people have created an anti-labyrinth. Wandering off the paths, looking for it through the brush and nearly ending up on the highway or in a disc golf match is a sort of meditation in itself, and they didn’t have to do anything but put the word “Labyrinth” on the map. Genius…

2 Responses to “Labyrinths”

  1. JoAnn says:

    LOL! I’m impressed that you figured out the county parks’ ploy. 🙂 You do make me want to walk a labyrinth now, especially the Earth Sanctuary one. Thanks for showing the way! ~JoAnn

  2. Chuck Pettis says:

    Thanks for visiting Earth Sanctuary!
    Chuck