Labyrinth III

The weekend following our first labyrinth hunt, we scooped up my good friend in North Salem and set out for the labyrinth at the Garden of Ideas in Ridgefield, Connecticut, not far from her house.  Three fancy cars were parked in the driveway.  The Worldwide Labyrinth Locator (WWLL) said the property was always open, so we left the car and followed a path around a storage shed that led into a beautiful garden. 

            We passed a couple of outbuildings, nicely maintained.  On the left was a patch of graceful fiddlehead ferns.  On the right a pond glittered in the afternoon light.  We wandered further, finding no labyrinth, but a profusion of flowers and shrubs. 

            A voiced calling out stopped us.  “Can I help you?”

            “Yes!” we called back.  “We’re looking for the labyrinth!”

            “That was closed a year ago,” he said.  “This is private property now.”

            “Sorry,” we apologized, only slightly embarrassed about traipsing around on someone’s land.  It was such a pretty place that I didn’t feel too badly for trespassing. 

            Our next effort was more rewarding.  At least we found the labyrinth at the King Street United Church of Christ in Danbury.  It took a while to locate the labyrinth on the opposite side of the parking lot. 

Much of it was overgrown.  As labyrinths go (in my limited experience) this one was disappointing, mostly because the stone-lined paths were obscured by grass. 

I tried to follow the circuits but couldn’t see some of the turns. 

           

It was again a half-successful hunt, but the tracking offered its own excitement.

Here are suggestions for walking a labyrinth from https://www.monroecc.edu/

Labyrinths are a walking meditation and are often seen as metaphors of our life. The walking meditation can be used for reflection and problem solving with the daily issues. When walking a labyrinth, we discuss the three R’s. Releasing, Receiving and Returning/or Reflection.

  1. Before you walk, pause and take a few moments to quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the walking pace your body wants to go. Do what feels natural.
  • Releasing- As you enter the labyrinth, you follow the path to the center and try to develop a relaxed, calm state that releases concerns and quiets the mind. This is the time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
  • Receiving- Upon reaching the center of the labyrinth, on this labyrinth it is called the center rose. The rose symbolizes beauty, love and enlightenment. Each petal symbolizes the aspects of creation; mineral, vegetable, animal, human, the spirit world and the mystery of the unknown. The center of the rose is place of rest. This is a place for meditation and or prayer. This is a time of openness and peacefulness; you experience or receive what the moment offers you. Stay here as long as you feel the need.
  • Returning/Reflection- You choose when to leave the center, following the same path. This is a time to review and consider the healing forces at work and how they may apply to your life.

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 Pexels.com