I first learned about the labyrinth at a Spirituality at Work conference. There was a session where a woman had a printed labyrinth on a large sheet of cloth. It was laid on the floor of the room and we were invited to “walk the labyrinth”. At the time, I felt silly. I knew this was to be a spiritual experience but that was difficult with all the strangers in the room. I did find that the walking was fun, if not meditative. At the time I remember thinking – I wish I had one of these dropsheets. You could roll it out in your backyard anytime!
Since then, I have discovered that there are not very many permanent labyrinths to be found – but I have found some of the best. At Homewood Health Centre in Guelph there is a labyrinth which is made up of herbs. The plants are low and green and a little scrubby to look at – but the smells are divine. How fun to walk among the herbs. The labyrinth is for the use of patients, but guests can walk it also. When I walked it, I was all alone. Nearby were garden plots that patients tend as restorative. I walked slowly, and found it a great calming way to pray and be at peace.
Recently I was in Carefree Arizona and there I found a labyrinth. It is made up of stone on the desert floor. Not much to look at – but the warmth of Arizona in January more than made up for the lack of colour. Also, it was a very solitary and quiet place – like in Guelph. Another wonderful walking experience.
The labyrinth I love the most, though, is the one in Kincardine, Ontario. It is in the Geddes Environmental Park and was started by Betty Conlan, an artist, after she walked one in Sedona, Arizona (darn – I missed that one!) Volunteers have planted flowers to border the path. Some of the flowers are short and many are tall. The colours of the plants change as you move toward the centre and they follow the traditional colours of the chakras – starting with the reds, oranges and yellows and moving to blue, purple and finally white. In the centre, is a statue of mother earth. Truly this is the most awesome labyrinth I have ever seen.