CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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“I felt good to walk in community. I felt calm and peaceful. It also felt like we were all walking the same path with the same goals and destination.”
I haven’t been able to find peace until this evening as I walked the canvas labyrinth at the workshop here at the prison. Thank you for bringing me this moment.
The Construction of A New Labyrinth
In August, over the course of two warm summer days, a group of volunteers from the Labyrinth Guild of New England, MCI staff and a dozen or so MCI inmates constructed a permanent outdoor labyrinth on the MCI-Framingham grounds. The labyrinth is a circular walking path designed to allow quiet meditation and reflection. It is a pattern that has been in use for more than 1,000 years and is found all over the world. The labyrinth pattern at MCI was constructed by digging trenches that marked the pattern to be walked; the trenches were later filled with stone dust to create permanence. A portable canvas labyrinth has been being used at MCI for evening workshops for participants in the Bridging the Gap program for several years. The workshop allows inmates to slow down and think in a quiet, restorative environment. Inmates typically walk the pattern a few times and then journal about their experiences. Typical comments from participants in the workshop following their walks include: “Forgiveness”, “Understanding”, “Insight”, “Wisdom”, “Spirit”, “Reflection”, “Quiet” and “Hope”.
Well then, what happens on a labyrinth?
Well then, what happens on a labyrinth?
I am centered
I find position
I find perspective
I find insights
I find purpose
I simply am
I am core
I am self
I find solitude
I find silence
I find self
I appreciate self
I appreciate other
I observe others in their practices in their ways.
Labyrinth Guild of New England Reunion on November 16th
The Labyrinth Guild of New England held a reunion of its apprentices on November 16th at the Center at Westwoods. the weather was a gift, with blue skies, warm air and sun shining. We had a wonderful time as everyone spoke about their own work and experience with labyrinths. We will be developing “Practices” for our apprentices and other labyrinth enthusiasts. These will include a Prison Practice, a Hospital Practice, a Labyrinth Construction Practice, a Practice focusing on Addiction and Recovery, a Schools Practice, a Member Practice, a Spiritual Renewal and Growth Practice and others. Let us know what you think!
Prison Labyrinth Walks
Guild director Beth Mace, and apprentices Jane Fadden, Jeanne Colbath and Kay D’Orlando have had the opportunity and privilege to bring a labyrinth into MCI Framingham Women’s prison several times in the past few years. More walks and even a permanent labyrinth are planned for the future. The labyrinth evenings are a part of a broader program called Bridging the Gap that is designed to provide help to women who will be released from prison within the next 12 months.
Here are some of Beth’s reflections about the labyrinth evenings:
“We were initially surprised at how well-informed the participants were regarding the labyrinth, but learned their group leader had spent a lot of time describing the labyrinth and how it was used at other correctional institutions. Each evening was a bit different. A first walk was one of playful curiosity as each woman determined that indeed there was one path to the center and the same path would lead them out. On another walk, we handed out labyrinth cards, each with a few words or phrase to prompt a thought or two.
For another, we asked the women to write down on a piece of paper something which no longer served them, walk that paper into the center of the labyrinth and leave it there ( we would later dispose of these.)
And on still another, we asked each one to think about what they would need once they were released- courage, a plan of success, support systems, etc. After each walk, we would come together to discuss the experience.
Each experience has been most profound, gratifying and renewing!”
Labyrinth Guild of New England’s
Presenter’s Community Poetree with Lea Goode-Harris, Ph.D.
Created June 3, 2005 at the Presenter’s dinner for the 4th annual Labyrinth Guild of New England festival
Be joyful together,
Oh, Beloved Comforter
embrace magnificence magical Mystery,
Joy is returning from Shadow into Light
reflecting awe filled community,
Jangly, jangly, I pirouette into openness…
The creaky floor emanates warmth…
To fully expand brings light and peace…
Allowing openness, finding Blessings and coming home…
We choose to walk where we remember that we are all one…
Awakening to community and care…I dance the shining lightness of being…
The engineers are not disturbed by the non-linearity,
Imagine the joy of the Holy now…
Open my heart, Encourage my soul,
Each step, music illuminating my soul…
A clear day and no memories!
No one is ever alone on the path to fulfillment.
Poem by: Jeanne Colbath, Frank Sandstrom, Tricia Kibbe, Bevan C. Tulk, Beth Mace, Lucy Crichton, Mathew Gallelli, Deborah Jackson, Peter Vernam, David Strohmeyer, Karen Hope Montgomery, Nancy Ballantyne, Helen Curry, Pura Gomez, Barb Ducharme, Hallie Sawyers, Sunny Davidson, Suzan Scott Strohmeyer, Ann Boedecker, Adam Kibbe, and Mia Corinha.
Workshop and canvas labyrinth painted by Lea Goode-Harris
This poetry labyrinth was presented by Lea Goode-Harris and the 2005 Guild Presenters to the Labyrinth Guild of New England to celebrate their 4th Labyrinth Festival.
Poem on first Labyrinth walk
Uplifting views of woods
through a huge arched window
Now soft light from cloudy sky,
now bright sunshine
Pouring in on me as I reach and pause
at the center of the labyrinth,
seeking to become centered also.
Praise the Lord!
Tears come easily – release of what?
or response to God’s love and peace found here?
I will come again.
Thanks be to God!
December 1, 2000
The Walk ~ Impressions
on walking a labyrinth created with wood blocks
Labyrinth Apprentice Workshop Wellesley Village Church
Images and feelings come as I walk:
pain ~ awareness that some people may come to the labyrinth when in pain or physically unable to walk
the center, our center, my center
patterns in the wood floor
circles …within circles
a woman, wrapped in comfort
ripples …moving out from circles in the center
coming together, moving apart
honoring each others pace
We don’t go this journey alone
I am loved and cared for
working together with others,
so grateful for everyone who has been with me even when I thought I acted alone
so grateful to Spirit that led me to a labyrinth in the first place.
Jennifer C. Dewar
February 9, 2008
Tony Pelusi Labyrinth
On Tuesday August 12th amid the gently falling raindrops, which we in new England have become accustomed to this summer, several members and about a dozen guests of the New England Labyrinth Guild gathered at the home of Tony Pelusi in Reading MA for a peaceful walk. Beth Mace, president and one of the directors of the Guild welcomed all with a brief introduction on the history of the labyrinth. Before commencing their walk everyone gathered around and shared in a reading honoring the power of the circle as told by Black Elk.
The walkers ranged in experience from first timers to those with some and others with extensive experience with the energy of labyrinth. The peacefulness of the walk was enhanced by the sound of raindrops gently cascading onto the oak leaf canopy that covers most of the labyrinth. After completing their walk several guest visited the altar that is also located on the property. And thereafter all sat, communed, and shared about their experience before departing.
This labyrinth was constructed with the assistance of several guild members in the fall of 2005. Tony chose to construct a seven circuit concentric design, which was lovingly placed in its serene location with the assistance of some intentional dowsing and intuition. The special gift that this particular labyrinth brings with it is its power to transform the grass that originally covered its interior into a lush blanket of beautiful light green moss perfect for a barefoot walk! The ample center of this labyrinth was graced with a bouquet of beautiful hyacinth and several gifts left behind by fellow travelers.
If you wish to walk this labyrinth you are invited to contact Tony @ 781.944.9449 and arrange a convenient time to do so.
Global Healing Response
On July 13, The Labyrinth Guild of New England and the Center at Westwoods (www.centeratwestwoods.com). hosted a Sunday afternoon labyrinth walk as part of world-wide Global Healing Response labyrinth walk for the victims of Myanmar and China. Globally, more than 15 groups organized walks. At Westwoods, there were 10 participants walking the beautiful outdoor labyrinth. There were a number of participants that serendipitously ended up focusing on the Lord’s prayer and the themes of “Give us our daily bread”, and “Deliver us from evil”. There was a sense that we were walking and reciting the prayer in the same moments with others less fortunate and in great need. This walk was the third in a series of global labyrinth walks dedicated to healing in response to global disasters. The Global Healing Response (GHR) was introduced to a network of worldwide labyrinth facilitators on August 9, 2005 by Ellen Bintz Meuch, Certified Labyrinth Facilitator. GHR is a simple plan using the labyrinth in a unified response to promote stress management, grief integration and healing in case of an emergency or disaster from any force. The intent was to create a plan with clarity and vision before a disaster occurs rather than when everyone is distressed. The GHR was first implemented in response to Hurricane Katrina on October 15, 2005. As Ellen says “Remember, never underestimate the power of the labyrinth AND healing energy!”
Labyrinth Prayer for Global Relief to Storm and Earthquake Victims
May 20, 2008
by Warren Lynn
Amidst pain and suffering and loss and injustice beyond our words and feelings,
we bring ourselves into the intimate presence of holiness—
to ask and argue and doubt and cry.
And when all is said, and all is thought,
and exhaustion replaces the raw energy of our grief…
...finally we let our quiet breathing replace what keeps us from
letting Shalom, Salaam, Peace have its way with us.
Indeed, now, breathing in Spirit feeds our spirit;
breathing out Spirit cleanses our souls.
Breathing in feeds—breathing out cleanses.
Breathing in—breathing out.
Today, we find strength in our breathing to abide in each new step;
one after the other.
Today, in our breathing and our walking,
we experience the intimate presence of holy sustenance along the way
toward a more-focused compassion.
Slowly, we begin to seek less after answers about why this has happened.
More and more, we begin to ask, “how can we help?”
“What creative solution can come from our gifts?”
“Who are we, who am I, to be used for healing,
reconciliation, new wholeness, generous comfort…
...for those in places like Myanmar and China wherein lives have been
undone by the mysteries of creation’s ways.
So, let us listen for Spirit in the deepest places of our living.
Let us acquaint ourselves with holy possibilities within our own lives.
Let us affirm and confirm our ability to bring a new light of relief and recovery
into the presently darkened holes of grief and pain across our world, and even next door;
...into the life of each of our neighbors, even those continents away.
St. Anne Labyrinth
Guild member, Christine Milner, Director of Faith Formation at St. Anne Parish, sent us the following account of the birth of their outdoor labyrinth:
On a frigid, gray day in February 2004 the parish secretary and I waited in the car while the director of the Labyrinth Guild of N.E., Tricia Kibbe, paced the 4 possible sites we had chosen to build a labyrinth of our own on our parish/shrine grounds. On the very last site, Tricia seemed to take an exceptionally long time and when she returned to the car, she asked us if anything else had ever been on that piece of ground. We told her that the site had been where the old St. Patrick Church had been moved to many years before, when the two parishes had merged. It had fallen into disrepair and was taken down, with some windows and furnishings saved for the present St. Patrick Chapel now housed on the shrine grounds. Tricia calmly said, “This has to be the site of your labyrinth - I have felt a special presence of the holy. This is already holy ground.” Who were we to argue with that???
And so began the planning and laboring, with the kind and expert help of the Guild and Parish staff and volunteers, that went into the St. Anne Labyrinth which now beckons to pilgrims from all over the world to come walk its sacred path!
We have since facilitated a number of morning and evening spiritual programs that incorporate the labyrinth and dream of offering many more.
A sincere thank you to the members of the Guild who made our dream come true!
Madalyn’s Labyrinth Walking Garden
Guild Member, Magdalena, Creator and Caretaker of Magdalena’s Meditation Gardens
Madalyn’s Labyrinth Walking Garden had its beginning long before it actually manifested. My husband and I used to live in Mass. and five years ago we decided to move and one of the major reasons was that the property we had at the time did not have enough flat space to build a labyrinth. You see along with the impulse to move had come the divine impulse to build a labyrinth. This had never been a particular interest of mine; in fact I had never even walked a real one (outside).
We looked for property for more than a year. Then I really surrendered to Spirit about the location and type of house, believing Spirit could do a better job than I. The next morning my husband said to me, “Honey, you’ve been looking for so long, maybe I should take a turn at all this looking.” Amazed once again by the divine order of things, I relaxed and knew it would be fine. When we first made the decision I had told my husband we needed enough flat land for a labyrinth, he never blinked an eye, even though he had no idea what a labyrinth was.
During that year the labyrinth became a constant part of my thoughts, it had already been created and was just waiting to manifest in this reality. I had drawn and scaled it out on paper a few times and had a clear idea of what would be needed. Two weeks later, as we drove down the driveway of the house in Windham, NH, my husband said, “I want this house”. And sure enough, the clearing in the back yard was just exactly the right size for a labyrinth.
We began building in the spring and used about 90 yards of fill to level the circle, built retaining walls, carted stones, shells and planted plants. During the year and a half of waiting, the imagery I received had included the specifics of planting thyme in the borders and using shells for the walkways. The shells brought in a definite water element to work nicely with the grounding element of the trees and surrounding area. The thyme plants were to be used as a lovely metaphor for time, ‘taking time’, ‘a step in time’, etc. We put in 2,750 plants that first year and by midsummer it looked and smelled wonderful. Many lovely events have been held in the labyrinth and hundreds of people walk its 1700 ft. of pathway doing their own walking meditations and having their own private journeys.
This past spring, the beginning of its fourth year, many of the thyme plants did not winter very well and needed to be replaced. This had happened in a smaller way in previous years, but the amount of loss made it clear that there was a message in it. Meditation (walking the garden) told me that it wanted a little change in color and even the addition of a few rows of flowers. We’re still seeing the impact of this change, one being the increase of weeds generated in the paths and borders, but it also made the wedding we had here last week much prettier in pictures.
Guild Member, Karen Keefe, Organization Development Consultant and Well-Being Facilitator sent us her labyrinth story:
In February 1999 I had my introduction to the labyrinth at a walk that was held in Framingham hosted by the Labyrinth Guild of New England. I experienced for the very first time the gift of the uplifting energy, deep serenity and connection from walking the labyrinth.
Later that year, I was “camping out in my back yard” at my mid-construction house-site. I was bundled in a down comforter in a beach chair, looking up into the heavens at 2:30am as I was watching the show of shooting stars that occurs every August. While I had not consciously reflected on or thought about labyrinths since February, the vision was instant, vivid and crystal clear. I felt myself at the center of a labyrinth that was surrounded by a natural flower garden. The labyrinth basically came to me and I felt directed, sort of commanded to create one as my back yard. I often call these types of insights “Divine intervention” so I responded with a question back to the Universe and the starry heavens – “OK, I get the picture - how do I do that”?
Well, be careful what you ask for… Without much effort, the ideas of how to proceed came easily. Like a human compass I found myself with a rope staked to the ground at the center and an old broom stick handle drawing concentric circles around my gravel back yard. From the eleven concentric circles spaced about a yard apart I was able to draw the turns and connections of the medieval-patterned labyrinth, which was the only one I had a picture of from the handout I received at the February walk in Framingham.
Across the 90-foot diameter, I used string and a hairpin every 4 inches (that’s a lot of hair pins) to secure string into the ground that outlined the walking path. On my hands and knees I felt the effort melting into the joy of co-creation - something was definitely fueling this labor of love and I just went with the flow. As I secured the outline, the image of the labyrinth center became clear to me. It was to be the “yin/yang starburst” that had become my healing symbol and was the logo for my Being-Wise consulting practice. I used string and the hairpins to form the healing symbol as the center of the labyrinth. For the first year I used the spray marking tape that is commonly used for marking football and soccer fields.
After the first winter the string disintegrated and I replaced the outlines with plastic-coated clothes line with a hairpin every 4 inches. During the second year, crab grass and weeds took over the walking paths - if I heard “nature abhors a vacuum” once, I heard it a hundred times. After I spent most of April on my hands and knees replacing the lines, I spent most of August on my hands and knees pulling and clearing weeds.
Each year the labyrinth project expanded. In the third year, with the help of some friends, a 4-foot garden strip was added around the outer edge of the labyrinth. The gardens came alive as friends and family contributed garden cuttings and gifted the labyrinth with colorful plants. Eventually, the center was designed with stones and in the spring of 2005 my boyfriend, Jeff, and I replaced the clothes lines with cinder-bricks – 2,386 bricks to be exact (that’s a lot of bricks)! Jeff lifted and hauled each brick and I, on my hands and knees, blessed and placed each brick in the labyrinth.
The brick-lined walking path is still a labor of love. It needs weeding twice a year and the gardens always need some attention. Surrounding the gardens are symbols that represent all the realms that take pleasure and assist in the magnification of universal healing and harmonizing energy. There is a statue of St. Francis of Assisi (Ascended Master Kuthumi) that signifies the Great White Council of Ascended Masters - those who once had lives in human form on the earth and continue to serve all the lives on the planet (Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Germaine and others). There is a tree sculpture of the Queen Faire Goddess representing all of the elemental realm (elves, fairies, devas, sprites and more). In addition, there is a 6-foot cathedral angel symbolizing the Arch Angels and their legions of angels. (Michael, Gabriel, Ariel, Raphael, Chamuel etc.)
The Company of Heaven and the beings and bringers of light, love and wisdom assist everyone who enters the labyrinth and follows the unicursal path to the center, where they receive insight and direct Source Energy that can be carried out of the center back out to the world.
The Lancaster Labyrinth is always open and accessible; all are invited to walk it, experience it and contribute their truth and energy to it. The more who walk it, the more the transformative, healing energy is magnified and available.