The beautiful deep red bricks have been ordered and on the date of Saturday, 9/24 (weather permitting) we will all gather to help place the bricks in mortar to form the walls inside the labyrinth and on the perimeter. We will also be preparing the designated paths leading to the labyrinth. The yellow, peach, light gray and white colored beach stone used on paths in the labyrinth and surrounding landscape will be brought into the site at a later date. Please mark your calendar and meet Mark Snyder, our professional artistic landscaper. Mark will direct the effort to where we are most needed. Please bring your own work gloves and share in the excitement. The time and any extra materials that may be needed will be posted at a later date.
In early August we reached 100% on our labyrinth fundraising project. We have roughed out the construction site and are currently in the process of selecting a supplier for the bricks and gravel needed to build our labyrinth. We will post more photos to document the construction as it happens.
Nancy Herrington and Lois Case inside the construction site
An informative presentation of Labyrinth Program testimonials by Abbey Aymes, Ellie Crawford, Phyllis Church, and Kate Krehel was held at the Prince of Peace church service on July 10th. While the participants described their experiences and journeys to the congregation during the sermon, Nancy Herrington removed a section of silver tape from a painting of a street in Lorsch, Germany with a labyrinth drawn over the scene. The remaining silver tape represents the amount of funds needed to complete the outdoor construction of the labyrinth beside the church. The symbolism of the labyrinth on the empty street in Germany is meant to represent the journey, frustrations, setbacks, and fears as many refugees of different race, culture and religious beliefs are flooding into their town. The goal of peace, unity and acceptance is what we all are struggling to achieve throughout the world. On July 17th, Dave Herrington held up the labyrinth painting and Nancy Herrington, with great difficulty, removed another section of silver tape from the painting as we grow closer to our goal of full funding for the labyrinth. We are currently $50 short of our goal, as of July 24th, and many thanks to all who so graciously donated the necessary funds. Any additional donations will contribute to the landscaping and paths that are surrounding the labyrinth.
The First Day: June 20th– An introduction to the history of Labyrinths and learning to draw 3 and 7 circuit labyrinths from a seed pattern. Brandi Hebert introduced relaxation techniques and participants walked the labyrinth with a purpose and goal in mind. Homemade lemonade and cookies were shared while each participant chose a journal and started to document their journey for the week. A discussion about performance art and the symbolism used in imagery, sound and body movement in a site specific location was explored. Following images demonstrate early use of the meander or Greek Key, the Labrys artifacts, and the line drawings of the Nazcan culture in Peru.
The Second Day: June 21st- Participants were first shown Tai Chi relaxation and breathing exercises to prepare for the Journey Dance with Arielle Wortzel. The two hour dance experience on the labyrinth was exhilarating and the beautiful music that Arielle played connected us in new ways with the energy of our bodies and with each other. The sacred symbolism of the labyrinth also added significant meaning to our dances and suggested ways to move in the space. We all discussed the experience afterwards and wrote in our journals while having cookies and lemonade.
The Third Day: June 23rd- Participants were first given journals and a brief understanding of the history of labyrinths along with a video of contemporary sand labyrinths. Lance Herrington gave a thorough demonstration of his sound project in Santorini for a museum. We proceeded to walk the labyrinth and used the finger labyrinth while focused on the idea of our personal journey. Lance then gave a demonstration on sound and the resonating vibrations that sound produces with different frequencies. Testimonial journey recordings of three of the participants were made while other participants recorded the sounds of chimes and bells. All were asked to journal their experiences while sharing refreshments.
The Fourth Day: June 23rd- Participants had a discussion about their experiences from the first three days. Brandy demonstrated relaxation methods and then participants walked the labyrinth together with the introduction to the processional kite of Juanita Yoder. We then practiced drawing 3, 7 and 11 circuit labyrinths and then proceeded to make personal finger labyrinths.
The Fifth Day: June 24th– The recordings from the Wednesday program were played on 3 outdoor speakers as we walked the labyrinth together. The journey testimonials from three of the participants, the Greek Santorini sounds that Lance recorded, and the chimes/ bells recordings were orchestrated by Dave Herrington so that they played in powerful relationships to each other. We then gathered together and shared our journey experiences and how a performance art piece could be shared with the congregation. We experimented with ideas and materials, measured the site specific spaces where the performance will take place, and flew the processional kite outside. Plans for sharing our experiences from the week with the congregation was proposed. Several participants were available for July 10th and enthusiastically agreed to help make the outdoor labyrinth a reality with a special presentation.
The Labyrinth Arts Ministry Program running from June 20-24 has completed. This blog will remain active reporting in more detail about what happened during the program and tracking the progress of Prince of Peace’s fund drive for building an outdoor labyrinth adjacent to our property that will be usable by the community.
The signup deadline for the Labyrinth Arts Ministry Program is Thursday June 16. If you are interested in attending the entire program or any specific day, please make sure Kathy Nowak in the Prince of Peace office has your registration form no later than noon on June 16.
St. Marks Episcopalian Church in Basking Ridge, NJ generously loaned us their 35 foot canvas Chartres Cathedral 11 circuit design labyrinth to be used in our labyrinth program. This coming Sunday June 5th, the labyrinth will be laid out on the floor of the Fellowship Hall at Prince of Peace and all are invited to view and walk the canvas labyrinth. It is very important for us to only walk on the labyrinth with the feet covered in socks. No shoes or bare feet are permitted. If you or your family would like to walk the labyrinth, please bring or wear socks so that you may participate. There will be a limited number of adult socks to borrow if you should need.
“We can value each step we take, and each step can bring us happiness because we’re in touch with life, with the source of happiness and with our beloved planet. “
Thich Nhat Hanh
The three canvases with photos and the finger labyrinth are presented as a gift to the Prince of Peace congregation from Nancy Herrington and to further initiate a connection with the labyrinth project. The drawings of labyrinths on the canvases are demonstrating how to draw a labyrinth from the beginning seed pattern to a seven and 11 circuit labyrinth. Each photograph is chosen because of the analogous or symbolic reference to labyrinths such as: the spiral, a sacred place, mirror reflections, and the walking/ spiritual path. There is a journal available on the labyrinth display table at POP so all may participate with our creative endeavor.
Who knows what will be possible for you as you travel its’ pathway?
May you encounter blessings.
Who knows what you will connect.
May blessings occur.
Who knows what transformation and illumination may occur.
May your movements and insights be blessed.
We can value each step we take and each step can bring us happiness because we’re in touch with life, with the source of happiness and with our beloved planet. Bells of mindfulness for each other, supporting and reminding each other along the path of practice. With the support of the community, we can cultivate peace and joy in ourselves, which we can then offer to those around us. Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness.
-Thich Nhat Nanh-
Before you enter the labyrinth, take a couple deep breaths and release them slowly. Know that the path has no wrong turns or dead ends but is a continuous path that will guide you on your journey. Let go of everything except the present moment in time. Walk at a comfortable pace and just be at one with all that is around you. Be prepared for a sense of joy, love and peace to surround you. There is no wrong way to walk the path.
– Denny Dyke-
The following notes are taken from five books and are shared to assist in finding symbolism and inspiration for producing a performance art piece for the labyrinth at Prince of Peace Church.
The Once and Future Goddess- Elinor Gadon
The universal meaning of the Labyrinth form is a symbol for the journey into the other world and the return, a death to one state and rebirth into another. Only one path- in and out.
For the Hopi Indians- the Labyrinth was a symbol of mother earth. A kiva was an underground sanctuary where Hopi people emerged into world.
The Return of the Divine Sophia- Healing the Earth Through the Lost Wisdom Teachings of Jesus, Isis, and Mary Magdalene-Tricia McCannon
The death of the ego allows a powerful shift in consciousness that then propels us toward a greater awakening. The Vairagi (detachment) teach that the 3 purest aspects of God are Love, Sound and Light.
In the beginning was the Word- Gospel of John
Sound current- Aum, Shabda, Vani, Nada Music of the Spheres
The “Aum” is the cosmic vibration- and underlying that creates and sustains all.
Sound particles (phonons)- become light particles (photons) Joined together by gluons- the wave form of sound- transitions into the wave form of light.
Ancients saw the sun as a visible symbol of God- transmitter of heat, warmth and illumination.
The spiral of creation, Fibonacci spiral and golden mean section.
The fish symbol originally meant the union with the divine. male and female in harmony.
The vesia piccis- two overlapping perfect circles- the balance of male/female allows creation. The v symbol with circle inside represented the female organs of procreation- resembled the shape of a cow’s head and horns. The cow was sacred to the Goddess- a symbol of the moon and rebirth in Egypt and Crete.
In Egypt- the Goddess Ma’at- represented the motivational forces and rhythm- accuracy, honesty, fairness, faithfulness, authenticity, legitimacy, integrity and justice.
A flock of butterflies represents transformation and change.
A circle with a cross at the center is a symbol for the soul- a medicine wheel- union of balance and healer of wounds (body/ emotions/ mind/ spirit).
A sacred circle begins in the east- travel sun wise or clockwise. East is the gate of new beginnings, rising sun and illumination.
The snake coil/ biting tail- represents life/ death/ transformation.
The three phase of a person’s life- Female-maid, mother, matriarch and Male- youth, man sage.
Labyrinths- Ancient Myths & modern Uses- Sig Lonegren
Earth energies and sacred spaces- Emotion, intuition and spirit- enhance contact with the spiritual realms.
Labyrinth terms- entrance=mouth, walk=path, delineation of paths =walls, center= goal.
Most labyrinths are circular, Hopi in southwest U.S. created D shaped square classical seven circuit labyrinths. The square represents the physical. Scandinavian labyrinths are circular- representing the spiritual.
Power centers have “yin” (receptive energy- underground water) and yang (active energy- energy leys- alignments of ancient holy places).
In Val Camonica, Italy, a labyrinth dates between 1000-1800 B.C. and a Greek tablet from Pythos dates about 1200 B.C. A Cretan coin, which depicts the labyrinth of Knossos, dates around 500 B.C.
The Meander or Greek Key- if the symbol is rotated outwards it becomes a labyrinth. Found in old Europe 5000-6000 yrs. before Greeks.
Orientation- Prehistoric labyrinths in Sweden were oriented towards the summer solstice. In Gothic cathedrals, the labyrinths were on nave of floor usually oriented towards the axis of cathedral- many towards the rising sun on a saints day.
There are 3 circuit, 7 circuit, eleven circuit (Chartres Cathedral in Paris) and 15 circuit labyrinths. A circuit is a distance around the space.
The Chartres Cathedral- built on a pagan site, located in the nave, under the circular stained glass window above the door to the cathedral. Window is the same size as labyrinth and same distance from floor to glass as door to labyrinth down the nave. The labyrinth is 40 feet across, an eleven circuit, four quarters, seven- 180 degree turns with seven paths and 272 tiles (same amount of average days in human gestation) . Chartres labyrinth completed around 1225 A.D.
Victorian drawings show monks of the Middle Ages crawling the labyrinth’s path on knees. Medieval, full size labyrinths can be found in Gothic cathedrals. Many cathedral labyrinths were removed or covered.
The four quarters of a labyrinth- four had a great significance to the medieval mind.
Mathew-young man- Aquarius- air
THE SEVEN CIRCUIT LABYRINTH: 22 FEET ACROSS
A PROBLEM SOLVING DEVICE- THE CHAKRAS
root- physical- state the problem or opportunity (red)
sacral- emotional-feeling (orange)
solar-mental-how will it affect me (yellow)
heart- personal spiritual- call for help
throat-manifestation- intuition-open up (blue)
brow- vision- solution to fruition (purple)
crown-God or Goddess- evaluation and (violet)
Breathe then turn back and reverse the process
The Native American Medicine Wheel-12 sections- The Cycles of Truth
Learn –the truth
Honor –the lessons/ knowledge of experience
Accept – the lesson/ responsibility/ changes coming
See –potential for positive or good from experience
Faith –trust your faith
Love –unconditionally love ourselves/others
Serve –intuition to find what we need
Will – to live in truth
Work –produce creatively
Walk- in truth and attract positive energy/ release negative
Thank- give thanks for healing and becoming whole
Unite our gifts with those who love us.
In archaic art- labyrinth is represented by spiral. The labyrinth mirrors itself –if hold drawing of labyrinth in light, you see the back will reflect the opposite direction. There is a shifting back and forth, light and dark, negative and positive.
Myths- The hero, Goddess, ruler of the underworld, shadow and messenger are associated with labyrinths. The Minoan labyrinth in Knossos of Crete had a minotaur in the center. The myth tells of king Minos of Knossos who asks for, and receives, a white bull from Poseidon to use as a sacrifice to the Gods. Minos decides to keep the bull and Poseidon angrily curses queen Pasiphae of Minos to be sexually attracted to the bull. The consummation of the bull and Queen results in the birth of the Minotaur. The Greek architect Daedalus constructs a labyrinth to hold captive the unmanageable and deadly beast, which was half bull and half man, (Minos and Taurus). Theseus, born of the King Aegeus of Athens and Aethra from Troizen, travels to Crete and slays the Minotaur. The myth changes over the years from a labyrinth to more of an impenetrable maze that was underground.
Sacred spaces- tunnels are associated with them
The Minotaur- ruled by animal nature- Theseus must defeat the self conscience- the shadow
The Centaur- human nature rules
The Crane Dance- from the island of Delos- Dancing into the Labyrinth in a chain often described as the feeling of being born.
18,000-15,000 Meander patterns on Bird Goddess figurines in Ukraine
1400 Daedalus builds the labyrinth/ maze
1382 Theseus meets Minotaur and King Minos
1200 Pylos tablets, the oldest positively dated seven circuit labyrinth in southern Greece
900-500 labyrinth pecked out on rock face in northwestern Spain
800-500 labyrinth and Crane Dance petroglyphs in Italy
750 two labyrinths scratched onto a wall in Turkey
300- coins with classical Cretan labyrinth issued by Knossos
1225 Chartres Cathedral ‘s labyrinth
The Way of the Labyrinth- Helen Curry
Labyrinths are all unicursal “a single course or path” with no dead ends. Labyrinths are described by the number of circuits they have- for the number of rings that comprise a labyrinth, not including the center. The circular path of the classical labyrinth is part of a tradition of symbols that involve circular movement as in sacred circle dances from around the world. Archetypal symbolic circles represent wholeness, unity and the divine center around the globe and in prehistory to present. The word labrys (from the Mediterranean region) means “double axe” and is believed to be the root of labyrinth.
Locations of Labyrinths
Labyrinths were widely adapted by the Romans ( mosaic pavement examples) and transported from Britain to Eastern Europe to North Africa. Turf labyrinths, ridges with shallow trenches and a mound in center, are found throughout Europe. The classical 7 circuit labyrinths were often called “Troy Towns” or “Walls of Troy” which also meant “city of turnings” in Wales.
In Scandinavia, more than 500 stone labyrinths, mostly near the coastline, have been recorded and similar labyrinths were found in Russia, Iceland and the Baltic. Ancient cultures walked the labyrinth for good fortune, protection, connection with the sacred center, pilgrimages and healing. Labyrinths were painted on church walls in Scandinavia. Some ancient labyrinths in Sweden were located high up in mountains and hills associated with ancient graveyards.
Discoveries of labyrinths were found in India and in A.D. 1000 China, labyrinths were constructed out of incense for keeping time in ceremonial rituals. Labyrinth themes, in China, include motifs of meanders, caves, spiral towers, shells and pearls in Taoist texts represent life, death and resurrection.
There were “power animal” labyrinths constructed around A.D. 500 in Peru where it is believed they were used as a ritual for empowerment. Many of the animal labyrinths were meant to be walked on the line, not the path (mirror patterns). Where the entrance was, usually was the source of “fertility, reproduction, and continuation of the species”. Tribes in southern Arizona wove baskets with labyrinth imagery composed of dried leaves, stems and roots of desert plants.
The Hopi saw the labyrinth as two forms, one circular (the Mother and Child) and one square (the Sun Father), as a representation of new life. The circular shape represents the female womb and the child cradled in its mother’s arms after birth. The square shape was representing the seed and giver of eternal life.
A Pathway to connect to the sacred within
The power of the labyrinth as with any spiritual practice, is in what you bring into it. Focus attention inward to be simply and fully present.
Conscious intention, some degree of mindfulness is required. Don’t have expectations or judgments. Consider a meditation or mantra to create a mental sacred space.
Spiritual transformation, worship, ceremony, psychological growth, stress reduction, healing, grieving, family issues, problem solving, mindfulness, team building, leadership development, change can be the goal for the journey to the center.
The six petal center of Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth
1. mineral kingdom
2. (9:00) plant kingdom
3. (11:00) animal kingdom
4. (1:00) human kingdom
5. (3:00) angelic kingdom (mentors and guides)
6. unknown/ divine kingdom
Transformation and Change
Celebration, Rebirth, Journeying, Illumination
Psychology- shedding of old patterns and develop new patterns in stages of life
New Testament- rebirth, conversion, reorientation and return to the center
Who knows what will be possible for you as you travel it’s pathway? May you encounter blessings. Who knows what you will connect? May blessings abound. Who knows what transformation and illumination may occur? May your movements be blessed. Let us pray before the awesomeness of such a mystery.
How to Relax- The Art of Mindful Living – Thich Nhat Nanh
We can value each step we take and each step can bring us happiness because we’re in touch with life, with the source of happiness and with our beloved planet.
Bells of mindfulness for each other, supporting and reminding each other along the path of practice. With the support of the community, we can cultivate peace and joy in ourselves, which we can then offer to those around us.
Happiness and awareness, smiling, calming. Few desires- content with a simple life for desirelessness is the basis of true happiness. Peace, joy and ease- true happiness- your true home.
Let go of anger, jealousy, sadness. Never blame- understand- you can love the situation- will change. Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness.