• Labyrinths…

    ...can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel. Later, the religious significance of labyrinths faded, and they served primarily for entertainment, though recently their spiritual aspect has seen a resurgence. Many newly made labyrinths exist today, in churches and parks. Labyrinths are used by modern mystics to help achieve a contemplative state. Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets his mind. The result is a relaxed mental attitude, free of internal dialog. This is a form of meditation. Many people believe that meditation has health benefits as well as spiritual benefits.
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Second Labyrinth in Hochelaga, Montreal

I was happy to be asked to create a second labyrinth in the Hochelaga neighborhood of Montréal, Québec. About 6 years earlier I had made this one.

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A Sacred Journey

http://www.lessons4living.com/labyrinth.htm

“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”
Caroline Adams

We are all on the path… exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path.

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.”

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

New Labyrinth Design

Temple du Marais ParisThis week I designed a new labyrinth to fit this magnificent space: The Temple de Marais Church in Paris (see location). In September, as part of the Protestants en Fête Celebration, we’ll be able to create for the first time ever, a labyrinth under the dome for 2 full days.

The design is octagonal which allow us to use tape in straight pieces yet flowing well with the round room. It will have a large center of a metre and a half in diametre, allowing a place for a few people at a time to sit on pillows and chill. Around the outside, there will be three installations where the explorers will be invited to pause and interact in a specific way if they choose. On the tape we will draw rather abstractly with oil pastels to match the beautiful cloth painting already installed in the church.

Another aspect I like about this design is its lack of symmetry. I made some manipulations to the basic design to avoid reaching the three outer installations one after the other. An unsymmetrical labyrinth is less predictable and gives the explorer a greater sense of being lost.

So, voilà, here’s the initial design which is sure to undergo a few more changes. It is quite big and complex….and will take a lot of work. Anyone want to help?

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Easter Labyrinths in Amsterdam

Over the weekend I was invited to create a few labyrinths in Amsterdam. The first was Saturday in the chapel of the Oudezijds 100, a Christian community in the heart of the red light district

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Then on Sunday night we christened the new blue LED lights at the Museumplein between the Rijksmuseum and the Concertgebouw
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And again on Monday night we went to Westerpark and created a different design.
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