Labyrinths II

My exploration of labyrinths in our area began early this May.  I printed out twenty-five of the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator (WWLL) pages listing labyrinths within fifty miles.  It was a rainy day, so we chose to drive to nearby Goshen and visit the First Presbyterian Church.

I used to live in Goshen years ago, but I never paid much attention to the massive church right in the center of town.  The Labyrinth Locator offers a lot of useful information about each labyrinth listed.  This one in Goshen is public, outdoors, and permanent. The WWLL tells where to find the labyrinth (33 Park Place) and when it is open (always), whom to contact, the style (medieval), the materials (brick/paver) and the size (20 feet in diameter).

We parked on the street and easily found the labyrinth in a gated, well-cared-for garden.  In front of the labyrinth was a memorial wall and a bench honoring (past?) members of the congregation.  At the entrance stood a pole with a plaque suggesting guidelines for walking the labyrinth. 

This was my first labyrinth walk, and I must admit, I spent more time speculating on the cost and labor involved in the making of it than in finding my inner peace.  It was meticulously made, with stones cut to size so the paths would be even.  On a sunny day, we might have stayed longer, but it was drizzly and cold, so we moved on.

Another labyrinth listed was not far away in Middletown, so we headed to the labyrinth at the Abundant Life Farm.  The directions were accurate except for the part that said, “The property is clearly marked with signs.”  There were no signs for Abundant Life Farm, only several No Trespassing notices, and another about the presence of a guard dog.

I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures of this strange place.  It had three ramshackle, empty buildings, and a large farmyard with a herd of friendly goats. One white goose watched us warily. No dog appeared.  We communed with the goats for a while.  Nobody came around to complain about our possible trespassing, although we were careful to stay close to the road. I peered around but couldn’t see anything that resembled a labyrinth.  I renamed the site “The Abandoned Life Farm” and worried a bit about who was taking care of the goats.

We left for home, figuring one out of two labyrinths was pretty good for that day.

Photo by Vera Hrishka on

The Labyrinth at Chartres

Eleven circles, one way in

Each step, each holy word

A prayer, a mantra, a song

Eleven paths, four quadrants

Pock-marked golden stone

Worn by soles of myriad souls

Step into yourself,

Tread in silence among whispers

Of red and blue glass,

The Belle Verriere.*

Stand in the center, the six-petaled rose

One is faith, our Mother-Father

Two is surrender, thy will be

Three is service, on earth as

Four is abundance, give us this

Five is forgiveness, our trespasses

Six is strength, deliver us from

Eleven skins, peel away

Layer after layer, find the one

way out

*Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere—Our Lady of the Beautiful Window

Labyrinths I

goddess labyrinth

A labyrinth is not a maze.  A maze (multicursal) wants you to get lost.  A labyrinth invites you to find–something (the center? peace? yourself?). A maze has many branches and dead ends and is intended to be confusing.  A labyrinth (unicursal) is a single path that winds to its center.

garden labyrinth

I’m learning about labyrinths.  My interest was first engaged by the labyrinth in Chartres cathedral as it appeared in Kathleen McGowan’s book, The Book of Love.  What she describes is apparently true: the ancient labyrinth (12th century) is obscured by chairs six days a week.  It is open for walking every Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. At least this was the schedule before COVID interrupted normal life.

McGowan posits that the chairs and restrictions are the Church’s attempt to discourage people from discovering the spiritual power of this ancient practice.  She traces the roots of the labyrinth to King Solomon’s and the Queen of Sheba’s design, but I haven’t found that idea substantiated anywhere yet.

However, the labyrinth design goes back a long time.  More than 3000 years ago, labyrinths appeared in a variety of forms in many different cultures.  These ancient archetypes have been found in the cultures of ancient Crete, Hopi Native Americans, the British Isles, France, Norway, and India.

finger labyrinth

Over time, labyrinths may have served a multitude of purposes: as sites for choreographed dances, ceremonies, or rituals, and places dedicated to walking meditation.  They are categorized by style and number of circuits.  The Chartres cathedral labyrinth has eleven circuits.  Medieval Christians walked the Chartres labyrinth instead of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, or to connect with a family member who was participating in a Crusade.

Chartres labyrinth

A fascinating collection of thirty-five labyrinths exists on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea of Russia.  One island, Bolshoi Zayatsky, contains fourteen stone labyrinths that date back to 3000 B.C.

stone labyrinth on Bolshoi Zayatsky

In my Internet wanderings, I found two interesting websites.  The Labyrinth Society offers a lot of useful information about labyrinths at  Their World Wide Labyrinth Locator will provide you with a list of labyrinths in your area.  Warning: some of the listings are out-of-date, but the quest is still fun and rewarding.

More about my labyrinth quest and discoveries in upcoming posts.

Welcome new followers! Thanks for reading!

Hudson Valley Flamenco Festival


Save the Dates! 2021 HV Flamenco Festival August 14th & 15th. 

I am so pleased to announce the venues for the 2021 HV Flamenco Festival. This year we are co-producing with the Vanaver Caravan. Through this collaboration we are able to bring you THREE performances this year. Each one is specially curated to support the mission of the HV Flamenco Festival; to explore how flamenco can act as a healing and unifying force in our communities.

Andreas Arnold, guitarist extraordinaire will be joining us from Cadiz, Spain.Here is a video of Andreas playing a piece from his latest album. On Saturday, August 14th at 6pm, Andreas will be performing for us at the outdoor stage at Unison Arts.  Mario Rincon will be singing with him. Bring your masks, blankets and chairs and a picnic and spend the evening being immersed in the magic of live music.

Saturday morning, August 14th at 11:30am will find us in Newburgh at the Green at Safe Harbors. The Awesome Foundation gave us a grant to offer a free performance in Newburgh. This will be a shorter, vibrant opening for the HV Flamenco Festival with dance and music.

On Sunday evening at 6pm at the gorgeous Whitecliff Vineyards in Gardiner, NY our full company will make the Ridge echo with the strains of flamenco song and the driving rhythms of dance. Bring chairs or blankets and a picnic meal. You can sip local wines and allow us to transport you to a sun-baked, jasmine scented plaza in Andalusia.

Tickets will be sold on the Hudson Valley Flamenco Festival website starting June 20th.As always, your support is what keeps the HVFF going and I want to express my gratitude for remembering the HV Flamenco Festival.

This month, Mario Rincon, our cantaor (singer) of many talents is building a portable stage. Because we are bringing you a Covid-safe outdoor festival, a portable stage is a necessary addition to our company. Please consider donating a small amount to offset the costs of building our stage.

Please read the latest blog post that talks about how flamenco works as a system and can be a metaphor for how we exist in our communities. ANNA LIBRADA 

For those followers who don’t know, Anna is my daughter. She is a phenomenal powerhouse of creative energy and talent. The Festival is a must-see.


Photo by Alesia Kozik on

I left the world with the aid of another world

A spoonful of light under her feet

lifted into the next layer,

Subtle humming, astral body

A design was erased

By virtue of a higher design

The outlines in charcoal blended and smudged

Until nothing was separate

Then rising higher, illuminated by sharp stiletto edges

A pen dipped in ink, lapis and gold leaf

Henceforth I travel toward Repose

This is the path of personal truth

Springing grass green beneath wide, firm feet,

Designated step after step toward divine purpose

Where time rests in the Eternity of Time

Isn’t this what we seek

The blue pearl, the velvet peace

The place we are born to?

I go now into Silence.*

*The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Jean-Yves Leloup, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, 2002, p. 17

The Pleasures of the Garden

Every morning for the past two weeks, I’ve inspected the places where we’ve planted.  And I’ve been wringing my hands, wondering “Was it too early for the flower seeds?  Did the frost do the bulbs in?  Did the birds eat the seeds?”

But today, at last, spikes from bulbs have emerged. 

Tiny first leaves from flower seeds appeared.  Zinnias!

The bushes are growing: forsythia, spirea, burning bush. 

The bleeding hearts are already blooming.

I dug a deep hole for the butterfly bush and struck water!  Was this an underground stream, or just the result of a day of pelting rain?  It didn’t seem wise to plant in several inches of water, so I filled in the hole and put the butterfly bush on the other side of the house.

The clematis finally appeared.  We put a cage around the lilac bush because someone was eating it. 

What a glorious spring we’re having!  Everything is so GREEN.  Next project: a fenced in vegetable garden.

Welcome to new followers!


Photo by Irina Iriser on

I’m in love with digging

The slice of the shovel blade

The crunch and rattle going down

I love how muscles lift and toss

Yellow-brown dirt, thick with clay

How the pile grows

Beside the hole

How the crisp wind swings branches

How white petals swirl

Land on my hat.

It’s deep enough, he says.

No, I say, and press the shovel hard

Wider and deeper

Fill the hole with rich dark soil chunks

From yellow bags

Break them soft and smooth

Set the lilac bush into the future.

Inhale, and plant hope.

The Karakesh Chronicles are available at Amazon and from

Bear on Deck!

Destruction greeted me on a recent morning.  As always, I paused to check on the birds feeding at our five stations on the living room deck.  The pole with hooks attached to the rail was gone.  One of the feeders lay smashed and empty on the deck.  The hanger with hook had been broken off.

Outside on the deck, I peered over the railing.  The pole lay where it had been pulled down.  Beside it were the other two feeders.  The new blue mesh feeder was intact, but the green metal hopper’s handle was snapped off.

I ran inside and called my husband to see the damage.  It was then we noticed the claw? tooth? gashes in the wooden rail.

When we went down to pick up the equipment, we found that the gutter was hanging down, apparently pulled off by our visitor while it climbed up to the deck.

It’s a peculiar feeling to have had a large marauder so close to us.  Only a glass door and a small lock separate the living room from the deck.  Those gashes in the railing are ominous.  Now that the bear knows of this food source, it could return.

We may repair the feeders, replace the pole and continue to set out feed for the birds, but we’ll be sure to bring in the feeding stations at night. 


Photo by Pixabay on

Anger Moved In

Photo by Lum3n on

Anger moved into my hip last Wednesday.

Tossed in a rough wool blanket

and set up a camp stove

to keep the pain simmering.

Then he invited Depression to stay over.

She brought her heavy self

wrapped in an oily fog

Curled up in a corner to weep.

Anger stretched out across my lower back

Sending tendrils of pain.

Every position took the shape of hurt.

This place is cozy, said Anger.

Let’s squat here for a while.

Depression blew her nose.

Good, she said, I’m too tired to get up.