Note: This is the 3rd in a series of Opednews articles by Meryl Ann Butler about labyrinths. Previous articles are listed at the end of this article.
The second annual World Labyrinth Day - is being celebrated on Saturday May 1, 2010.
World Labyrinth Day - is a global event celebrated annually on the first Saturday in May. It is sponsored by The Labyrinth Society, (TLS) an international organization founded in 1998. As part of this celebration, all are invited to "Walk as One at 1" (1:00 pm in local time zones).
A labyrinth is different from a maze in both form and function.
A maze offers a choice of paths. Most are dead ends, and generally only one path leads to the goal. Making one's way through a maze is a game of skill that engages logic and analytical processes, and a maze usually has walls designed to obscure the view of the correct path.
A labyrinth has a single (unicursal) path that is walked in order to enhance physical, psychological, or spiritual wellbeing. More than a game, it offers an opportunity for a journey inward through a walking meditation.
Typically, a labyrinth has lines or stones that mark the path, rather than walls. It can be created indoors or outdoors, and can be made from a wide variety of materials including earth, sand, inlaid wood, tile, cut carpet, or even projected light.
Labyrinths can be simple or complex. Some are based on spiral designs from ancient Rome and Greece, and the simplest form can be drawn easily.
Some of the more complex labyrinth designs are based upon medieval church labyrinths such as the well-known example in the floor of Chartres Cathedral.
Labyrinths can also be painted on canvas. Master artisan, Judy Hopen, Vice President of Labyrinth Enterprises, LLC, says her company will complete its 1000th canvas labyrinth within the month. Labyrinth Enterprises, is the largest labyrinth production company in the world.
Recently, Hopen created a canvas labyrinth for Washington DC's V.A. Medical Center, which she reports is being used in the War-Related Injury and Illness Rehab Program.
Another of the company's canvas labyrinths was made for St. Paul's Chapel/Trinity Wall Street in NYC. Hopen notes that the chapel receives 3000 pilgrims each day, many still dealing with trauma from 9-11. The chapel offers a number of services designed to enhance emotional healing, including regularly scheduled labyrinth walks on Hopen's canvas labyrinth. And Chaplain Kim Donohue uses one of Hopen's labyrinths for pastoral care at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.
Hopen has been involved in the creation of nearly 1200 labyrinths made from a wide variety of materials for private individuals, churches, schools, parks, hospitals, and other institutions--more than anyone else in the world.
She notes that labyrinths are popular with celebrities, many of whom have had one built on their properties, including actors Cathy and Ed O'Neill, and Shirley MacLaine; and musicians Olivia Newton-John, and Sting, who featured labyrinths in a recent album.
Hopen said, "under our company President, Robert Ferre's, direction, Labyrinth Enterprises built a concrete labyrinth for the former Executive Editor of the Washington Post, Benjamin Bradlee, and his wife, noted author and journalist, Sally Quinn. Ben gave the labyrinth to Sally as a present, who called it, "the best gift I have ever received.'"
Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges shared his interest in labyrinths on the Martha Stewart show on August 8, 2006. He demonstrated how to draw the symbol on paper, and showed examples of his own pottery with the labyrinth designs he'd inscribed on them.
His website at jeffbridges.com is filled with his engaging doodles, and includes his step-by-step directions for how to draw a labyrinth. The actor says, "You can carve it into your lawn with a mower or in the sand with your foot or draw it on a piece of paper and 'walk' it with a pen or pencil or your eyes." He suggests, "While going to the center, think about opening to what is there for you. When you're in the center, receive it--and then bring it out to the world on your return journey."
Bridges appears to be an expert on the labyrinthine journey, as he has taken his own 40-year long, winding path from his first academy award nomination for The Last Picture Show , to finally receiving his well-deserved Oscar for Crazy Heart , this year.
Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity, and applications include problem solving, conflict resolution, walking meditation, modern day pilgrimage, and stress management. The American Cancer Society states that walking labyrinths "may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation."
Research studies conducted in a variety of settings have consistently shown that walking a labyrinth reduces stress. In fact, over the past few years, this has been the most commonly reported finding related to the so-called 'labyrinth effect,' according to John W. Rhodes, Ph.D. Chair of The Labyrinth Society Research Committee.
Many people notice that they seem to feel better during or after walking a labyrinth. The emotions they describe range from a state of general peace and wellbeing, to a sense of profound joy or a connection with the Divine.
TLS states that World Labyrinth Day "is a day that brings people from all over the planet together in celebration of the labyrinth as a symbol, a tool, a passion or a practice."
World Labyrinth Day - Coordinator, Stephanie Blackton, explained that local "Walk As One at 1" events will take place around the world. Last year a variety of these events were held at over 100 locations, including at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., various churches, and even a maximum-security women's prison. Activities occurred around the globe, including in Canada, England, New Zealand, China, South Africa, and Australia, in addition to the U.S., according to Blackton.
Blackton has created an interactive map that shows the locations of the 2009 WLD activities at http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=117196940597170398581.00046a1f92cae85991ae3&t=h&ll=12.21118,150.46875&spn=169.115741,360&z=1
Visitors can click on the interactive map for details like this:
A Selected List of 2010 World Labyrinth Day Events:
More information on these and additional World Labyrinth Day - events is available on The Labyrinth Society's website at http://www.labyrinthsociety.org
Celebrate the grand opening of The Venice Labyrinth during the Venice Garden and Home Tour. This Public Art Project by artist Robin Murez has transformed a neglected street corner into a beautiful, interactive neighborhood park with a labyrinth.
Join Robin Bradley Hansel, Certified Veriditas
Labyrinth Facilitator, between 12:30 pm and 2 pm Eastern Time in the outdoor
labyrinth garden of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd for an open walk.
Florissant/St. Louis, MO
T he Zion UCC of Florissant, the Rev. Mark Milligan, the local ladies of The Women's Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Judy Hopen of Labyrinth Enterprises, L.L.C., are co-sponsoring the WLD celebration, 11 am 2 pm.
Labyrinth builder Larry Carlson was featured in a video on the John Deere site, using a tractor to turn his 5-acre potato field into a work of art featuring a garden labyrinth. This labyrinth is listed on the Labyrinth Locator, and is open by appointment to walk on WLD or at other times. http://www.deere.com/en_US/CCE_promo/deereseason/the_creations/larry_carlson.html
Join a dance and celebration with Vivien Rose on the seven-circuit, Cretan, grass labyrinth on the grounds of Labyrinth Reiki and Massage, 1 pm.
The World Labyrinth Day Festival at Marylhurst University will feature the Genesa Crystal Labyrinth by Ansula Press at the event co-sponsored by the Labyrinth Network Northwest and Labyrinth Alliance Balances You (LABY).
Port Orford, OR
Donations of food, 'shelf-staples,' pet food or
personal-care products will be used to construct a walkable, "edible" labyrinth
before being sent to local food cupboards.
Walk the "Dance of the Labyrinth" by Sandra Wasko-Flood, a computer-programmed illuminated floor at the Living Labyrinths for Peace Center, Washington, DC.
Liberia area, Costa Rica
Ronald Esquivel is offering a three-day event at his
Tamarindo Labyrinth, a nearly 2-mile path on 2.5 acres.
All are welcome to walk the Glastonbury Tercentennial Labyrinth in St. John's Churchyard.
More information on these and additional World Labyrinth Day - events are available at www.labyrinthsociety.org
While many large group events are planned,
Blackton says that no event is too small. Even individuals who wish to participate
may do so in the comfort of home by "letting their fingers do the walking" on
either a paper or 3-D finger labyrinth made of wood or molded plastic.
Or, try an online, virtual labyrinth such as those created by Vicki Keiser at http://www.labyrinthonline.com/labs.html
You can even put a virtual labyrinth in your pocket with iPause, the portable labyrinth meditation app for iPhone and iPad.
Blackton invites anyone who would like to mosey to a-mazement to find a labyrinth to walk on World Labyrinth Day, and contribute to an intentional wave of peace and wellbeing enveloping the planet.
The next article in this series is Walk as One at 1: World Labyrinth Day, May 7 (05.06.11) click here
Resources and References: The Labyrinth Society
The Labyrinth Society (TLS) is one of the foremost groups responsible for promoting the current international labyrinth movement. The Labyrinth Society is an international organization whose mission is to support all those who create, maintain and use labyrinths, and to serve the global community by providing education, networking, and opportunities to experience transformation. Since its inception, more than 1500 people have joined TLS. One of The Labyrinth Society's greatest contributions has been helping to establish The World Wide Labyrinth Locator. www.labyrinthsociety.org Learn more about labyrinths at http://labyrinthsociety.org/about-labyrinths
World Labyrinth Day 2010: A global celebration of the Labyrinth FaceBook page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=84230124556&ref=ts
Carol Posch Comstock, TLS PR Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Blackton, World Labyrinth Day - Coordinator email@example.com
The World Wide Labyrinth Locator online database lists over 3300 labyrinths around the world. www.labyrinthlocator.com
YouTube video invitation to WLD http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCygu9mvgi8
Resources and References: Other
Jeff Bridges www.jeffbridges.com To find the labyrinth information: click on "stuff", then scroll waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down to the little purple labyrinth drawing. If you click on that, you'll find his step-by-step directions for how to draw a labyrinth. And there's lots of other cool stuff on his site. http://www.jeffbridges.com/labyrinth.html
iSpiritual offers finger labyrinths and other products. www.ispiritual.com
Labyrinth Enterprises www.labyrinth-enterprises.comOffering books, instruction, consulting, design, lectures, training, portable labyrinths, and installation or permanent labyrinths, since 1995.
Labyrinth Network Northwest (LNN) facilitates communication and cooperation between labyrinth-interested people in the Pacific Northwest. http://www.labyrinthnetworknorthwest.org/
Labyrinths in Stone, div. of Artistic Pavers, Inc. Marty and Debi Kermeen. www.labyrinthbuilder.com
Labyrinthos www.labyrinthos.net Has published the labyrinth journal, Caerdroia, for over 30 years, and offers various products and services.
LFN Textiles www.lfntextiles.com offers original designer printed and woven ribbons with labyrinth images on them.
Sig Lonegrin, author of Labyrinths: Ancient Myths & Modern Uses which was first published in 1996, one of the only books on the subject at that time. Lonegren has an MA in Sacred Space from Goddard College in Vermont, and is a Trustee of The Labyrinth Society. www.geomancy.org
The Venice Labyrinth Public Art Project http://www.facebook.com/pages/Venice-Public-Art/357819826212?ref=search&sid=700409527.2171578069..1
Martha Stewart Show, Jeff Bridges, guest
The Wisdom of the Labyrinth internet radio show, airs Thursdays at 10am Pacific time on the Voice America network. The show was created by Dr. Lauren Artress and is hosted by Robin Bradley Hansel. http://www.voiceamerica.com/voiceamerica/vshow.aspx?sid=1541
Olivia Newton-John Moves On http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1538540,00.html Accessed 24 April 2010.
Why Ben Bradlee Has Sally Quinn in a Labyrinth. The Washingtonian. Accessed 24 April 2010.
Photo credit: Author Meryl Ann Butler's sand labyrinth, Venice Beach, CA, Nov. 2009, photo by Cara Levi.
Cindy Pavlinac, Labyrinths of Spirit and Grace Photo Library, www.Sacred-Land-Photography.comFor Cindy Pavlinac's photos of Alex Champion's Earthworks and Grace Cathedral Labyrinth, photographer's copyright notice: "Cindy A. Pavlinac/ www.sacred-land-photography.com
Zion UCC Labyrinth photo by Todd Kneib
Cindy Pavlinac, Labyrinths of Spirit and Grace Photo Library, www.Sacred-Land-Photography.com