Sunday, October 28, 2007

My back yard labyrinth

I've started building my labyrinth.
For a long time it felt like a project that was too big for me, but as I kept it in mind and started visualizing it in my back yard, the process of creating it became clearer. I decided to use the Chartres Cathedral pattern. I visited Chartres a couple of years ago, drawn to see the labyrinth, although at that time I knew very little about labyrinths. I came back and ordered a couple of books on labyrinths and found out more about them, but never imagined I would build one for myself in my back yard. However, after I built the studio it seemed that the space outside towards the woods was asking me to create a labyrinth.

I started my process with the help of my son, Timothy. He was brave enough to run the circles for me using a tin of ground spray paint, so what you see in the photo is step 1 - all the circles on the ground. I then bought yards of rope and I have been sitting with the design next to me working out where the entrances and paths lead and laying them out with rope and nails. This has been a meditation in itself. However, the last few days we have had rain - wonderful, wet, soothing, much needed rain - so I haven't been able to work on it. I hope I get to mark all the paths before the paint disappears!

Once I have marked the paths with rope I will be able to walk my labyrinth. And then I plan to dig small trenches where the ropes are and fill them with white pebbles. This will take some time, but I am slowly learning that I can take life more slowly, that I can enjoy the process. The important thing is to start - and then to enjoy every step of the journey.

Doing a demonstration in class the other day I ended up with this piece which made me laugh at myself - yes, the intention of walking a labyrinth is to find yourself!

"Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight into the spiritual journey. It urges action. It calms people in the throes of life transitions. It helps them see their lives in the context of a path, a pilgrimage. They realize that they are not human beings on a spiritual path, but spiritual beings on a human path."
From "Walking a Sacred Path" by Lauren Artress


Gwen said...

Hi Catherine,
I love labyrinths, too. I have been to two. Lauren Artress made a canvas one for Grace Cathedral in SF (I believe that there is a permanent one there now, but I walked the canvas one) and a woodland one near Mt. Rainier here in WA. It was on the grounds of a beautiful retreat and conference center, and was very rough, but that added to the allure and the charm of it.

I think that a labyrinth will be the perfect addition to your studio, and for your journey.


Joanne Huffman said...

This is a wonderful project. I've walked two labyrinths (one in Santa Fe anda temporary one at my church) and found it to be very calming and soothing. I think you'll get joy from walking it and from looking at it outside your studio.

random notes said...

This piece with the rocks is great but my curiosity needs to know the size, the material used the method etc, etc, etc.
Love the colors and the textures.
BTW - That is quite a studio. You must be in "heaven" with all that space, all that light and all that solitude. The labyrinth will only add to the beauty of your space.
Good for you.