Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Labyrinth was all Aglow!

We want to thank everyone that came out to our recent "Light up the Labyrinth" event. It was definitely a case of many hands helping to create a magical space and a wonderful community gathering! Photos of the evening, taken by local photographer Robert McDonald, and comments from participants and our labyrinth committee members help to tell the story.

Here are some of the pictures I took at the event. The children were a great help in providing the 'painting with light' effect in some of the photos.

It takes many hands to help light up the labyrinth
I wanted to congratulate & thank you and members of the Labyrinth committee on another successful Light up the Labyrinth Walk! Great evening and turn out of people and children, fun had by one and all—I am sure wakening up this morning  you are so grateful the weather cooperated !
Kerron Lamb, local musician, opens the labyrinth walk playing the didgeridoo.
I love Kerron Lamb and her music!!  Yes: I found myself singing or whistling along to her songs while walking in the labyrinth.
The labyrinth was all aglow and "painted with light".
Saw the pics of Light Up in the EMC- looks like it was just beautiful!!
"Glow in the dark" jugglers added a special dimension.
It was just wonderful.....I'm still feeling the glow! 
The laughter of children filled the air, as they joyfully danced on the labyrinth.
With thanks to the Carleton Place Labyrinth Committee for sharing ways to have a lighted labyrinth walk. 
A beautiful energy on the labyrinth tonight.
And finally, thanks again, to Jeff Mitchell, owner of CP Independent Grocer for the kind donation of 640 paper bags for the luminaries!

See you next year!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Feeling of Accomplishment

I first took my Veriditas Facilitator Training with Lauren Artress at the Sacred Pattern, Sacred Path Workshop - May 2010 – Ottawa, ON.  After taking the facilitator training, we had two years to gain more experience in working with the labyrinth, and to then prepare a report and apply to become fully certified.
Leading a walk at the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth.
I was fully immersed in being a volunteer with the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth and definitely was gaining the experience that I needed to become certified. BUT I just did not take the next step of preparing the report and the deadline came and went.

Fast forward to late 2014 and an auspicious email arrived in my inbox from Veriditas.  In honour of the 20th anniversary of the organization - they were offering a "Certification Amnesty Program" to anyone who had been trained and not yet completed the certification process.  I realized that this was a great opportunity - and I took it! I now had 8 months to prepare my report. What a good feeling it was to take that first step to get started.
I take the first step towards becoming certified!

The preparation of this Certification Report was a wonderful process. I actually started working on it in December – and spent many hours pulling all of my labyrinth files together, sorting through photos, reminding myself and reflecting on all of the interconnected events and activities that I have felt drawn to participate in since the early stirrings of my interest in the labyrinth. I was also very thankful that Gracie Amirault, a Veriditas Council Member checked in with me from time to time to see how I was progressing.

And how rewarding to eventually receive this email (& certificate) notifying me of my certification!

Hello, Christine
I have had the privilege to read your certification app. I'm glad you decided to fulfill this process. Your passion for and commitment to the labyrinth certainly come through in your extensive materials presented for your application. You went above and beyond providing materials, but certainly gave much insight into your work and heart, and the development of the community project.

I enjoyed visiting the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth website! An exciting project, for sure. There may be ways you can share  your organizational and planning templates for others.

I appreciated your aha! insight of holding and developing your creative expressions. We often can ignore that for all the other factors in our lives. As well as your recognition of your own growth since you began the work. May that continue.

The office will be officially informing you of your certification.

Best wishes in your work. I hope to visit your area at some point, and would enjoy visiting the site. I will be in Nova Scotia for a retreat/training in September, hosted by Gracie Amirault, your regional rep.

Continued blessings on your work,
Kay Mutert
Veriditas Master Teacher
Tuscaloosa AL

What an amazing journey this has been so far - I will be continuing to "trust the path".

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Light up the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth

Let's "Light up the Labyrinth" together - from 6:30 – 9:00 PM on September 11th, 2015.
On Friday September 11th, the warm glow of more than 600 candlelit luminaries will flicker along the path of Carleton Place's Community Labyrinth for this year's "Light up the Labyrinth" event. The labyrinth is located at the corner of George and Baines Streets beside the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum, 267 Edmund Street in Carleton Place.

To make this event more collaborative - organizers are asking participants to gather at 6:30 PM at the labyrinth to prepare and place luminaries for a 7:30 PM candlelit walk.
Bring out your lanterns, glow sticks or flashlights and join our evening walk.
Debby Lytle, Chairperson for the Labyrinth Committee, explains: "We are a very small committee and really need some extra hands to make this event happen.  Join us at the labyrinth at 6:30 PM to help assemble and place the luminaries, then everyone will have a chance to be part of lighting up the labyrinth at 7:30 PM before the walk begins.  If you have a BBQ lighter bring it along and if people are able to stay and assist with the dismantling of the luminaries at the end of the night, that would be a great help as well!"

The Labyrinth Committee of Carleton Place invites you to bring out your lanterns, glow sticks or flashlights and join our evening walk. This year, we are fortunate to once again have live guitar and didgeridoo music by local musician Kerron Lamb.
Walk accompanied by live Guitar and Didgeridoo music by local musician Kerron Lamb.
Our candlelit labyrinth walks have become a popular fall event, as individuals and families from across the region bring along their festive lanterns, and enjoy an evening labyrinth walk. "Children love this particular night-time event. It's a chance to bring along one of their own lantern creations." says Julia Heathcote, a volunteer labyrinth keeper.  To add to the after-dark fun, Carleton Place jugglers Michael and Kayla McNeely will be doing a “glow in the dark” juggling demonstration.

For those who wish to relax and watch the candlelight, garden benches and a wheelchair-accessible contemplation ring encircle the labyrinth. If you would like to sit for a while and take in the candlelight glow, bring along a lawn chair too.
Thanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Town of Carleton Place and individuals and businesses within our community, this permanent labyrinth exists for people to use at any time.

For more information or if you would like to help prepare the luminaries,
please contact Debby Lytle: 613-257-1014 or
Facebook: /CarletonPlaceCommunityLabyrinth

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Split Rail Fence for the Community Labyrinth

Recently volunteers, Chris Hume and Debby Lytle (CP Community Labyrinth committee members), and Shelly Sammon (labyrinth neighbour) erected a mini Bunk-style split rail fence at the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth. 

Constructed with donated materials and under the expert guidance of Eugene Fytche,  local author of "400 Years of Log Fences" (see article on pg. 3),  the fence will help provide a bit more privacy for Labyrinth walkers.
The pieces of the split rail fence (kindly donated to the labyrinth) ready for assembly.
Split rail fence expert, Eugene Fytche, measuring twice to make sure the fence is in the right location.
A tough job - digging the holes for the support posts.
Debby and volunteer Shelly, laying the fence rails, narrow end first.
The final step - wiring the fence posts together. No fence wire wasted - by the master!
The finished "mini-bunk" split rail fence. We have a new respect for the hard-working pioneers of Lanark County that built these fences back in the 1800's!
The labyrinth is always open and is situated behind the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum on Edmund Street in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada. We hope to meet you on the path sometime soon!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Stewart Park Community Labyrinth

Our Carleton Place Community Labyrinth is providing inspiration to other communities!  We are so happy to be able to report that Perth, Ontario now has it's own community labyrinth - and Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator - Vanessa Compton is leading the way to make this a reality.  She has kindly agreed to having us publish the story here.

It didn't happen overnight... here's the story. (By Vanessa Compton)

Year 2 of the Stewart Park Community Labyrinth.
After the success of last summer’s Stewart Park Festival labyrinth, a one-day installation immortalized by Perth Community Police Officer Bird as “some seniors’ spray-paint graffiti vandalism,” I was encouraged by Stewart Park Festival workshop organizer Julie McIntyre and my fellow members of Transition Perth to plan a more durable version for the summer of 2015.

Surveyor's tape - laying out the medieval 7-circuit labyrinth in Stewart Park.
It would need to be easy and cheap to maintain, of minimal cost to the Town of Perth, and in harmony with the aesthetics and community guidelines of Stewart Park. With the help of the Town of Perth’s Karen Fox, Director of Special Events, Shellee Evans, Director of Community Services, Jim Niblock, Supervisor of Parks and Facilities, and Kari Clarke, Coordinator at Downtown Heritage Perth BIA, who helped steer the project through Council, we were put in contact with Kat Watson, Coordinator of the Youth Action Kommittee (YAK) Skills Link program, and Rick Woods, the Parks and Facilities go-to guy and keeper of the keys to the lawnmower.
Enthusiastic YAK team members, help to make the Stewart Park Community Labyrinth a reality!
Kat arranged for me to visit with the spring cohort of the YAK Skills Link program, to explain about labyrinths in the community, and what the project would involve. The young people were so enthusiastic about it, they were ready to haul stones and make a permanent masonry version that afternoon, and were annoyed to have to wait for Council approval. I had to laugh – they reminded me so much of my impatient younger self.

On a cold sunny day at the end of April, a team from YAK helped lay it out using surveyor’s flags and tape, and fence staples, a generous donation from the Perth Home Hardware store. We had decided on a Medieval 7-circuit with x and y axes to make U-turns on the path. We made mistakes and laughed a lot and had to make emergency trips for more supplies, but finally the CAUTION tape went up and we waited for the grass to grow.
First mowing by Jordan Lye-Lee, a YAK member planning to start his own landscape business.
First mowing was May 8th. Jordan Lye-Lee, a YAK member planning to start his own landscape business, was our first volunteer. The lines are just starting to show!
Perth Parks crew mow the labyrinth every Friday - the labyrinth starts to take shape!
The mowing was scheduled for every Friday, when the Perth Parks crew would be on site. We alternated just mowing the path and mowing both the path and the lines at different heights. It was such a rainy spring and early summer that it sometimes took three passes to get the whole thing done.
An information sign is installed at the entrance to the labyrinth.
Thanks to Image Printing in Perth, an information sign was installed at the entrance to the labyrinth. By mid-July, we noticed that the path hardly needed mowing because it was getting beaten down from being used so much!

Two weeks before Stewart Park Festival, YAK was between Skills Link cohorts, so “Sherpa” Mike Fletcher mowed the thick vegetation. It looked like a scalp job, but by Festival weekend, the grass had grown in and the labyrinth looked serene and lush.
By Festival weekend, the grass had grown in and the labyrinth looked serene and lush.
Festival weekend dawned – rainy and hot. By Saturday the weather had cleared, and the labyrinth provided a cool sanctuary for people of all ages, over 500 by one account. During the hot afternoons, the labyrinth was a magnet for kids and families whether playing make-up-your-own-games or taking a break from the crowds and noise. It was a pleasure to walk barefoot on the cool springy clover turf… or run races, reinvent hopscotch (one of the historical origins of the turf labyrinth), stand on your head… even check your FaceBook!
During the hot afternoons, the labyrinth was a magnet for kids and families.
We’re looking forward to seeing the labyrinth through the fall, and experimenting with some judicious application of slow-release fertiliser. While the long term goal is to put a stone paver labyrinth in place eventually, mown turf labyrinths can last for decades, with a little maintenance. In the height of a hot summer day, there really is nothing more delightful than walking a fragrant clover labyrinth in your bare feet.
There really is nothing more delightful than walking a fragrant clover labyrinth in your bare feet!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Finding Labyrinths Along the Way

While walking the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth early last Friday morning - it occurred to me that I should try to find labyrinths to walk along the way - while on my upcoming journey to the Haliburton School of the Arts to take a course on Soul Collage®.

I checked both the Labyrinth Society's Worldwide Labyrinth Locator and the Ontario Labyrinth Locator for some possibilities. Of course - I only did this on the morning of the day I was leaving. 

And here are the labyrinths that I found and some notes and photos about my experience.

Between Friends - 730 Inglis Rd., Renfrew, ON. Private, outdoor, always open, Chartres design. Wild flowers.

I sent an email and tried to call ahead - but could not connect with the owner - so did not get to walk this labyrinth.

Rocky Bear Labyrinth - located at the Teddy Bear B&B in L'Amable, ON.  Public, outdoor, Cretan design. 7-circuit, 50 foot diameter. Pebbles and quarry rock.

I called and spoke to Diane (one of the owners of the bed & breakfast) - and it was no problem to walk the labyrinth.  Diane was very warm and welcoming on the phone. I saw a sign for the Teddy Bear B&B as I was getting closer to Bancroft - and was delighted to find it quite easily.  I knocked on the door - but no one was home - so I explored the labyrinth path on my own.
I had a very peace-filled walk at the Rocky Bear Labyrinth, located right beside a wee lake.
Grail Springs Labyrinth - Bancroft. Please call in advance if you would like to visit and walk the labyrinth. Also inquire about our Sacred Labyrinth Sacred Life retreats. Private, medieval, inner 5 circuits of the Chartres design, 33 feet diameter, rock, garden, hemlock. 

Unfortunately - I was not able to make arrangements to walk this labyrinth.

Hello Chris,
Grail Spring is a private retreat centre. There is a small window of opportunity for you to meet with Barb Shaw at 6:30 at the front desk. Without an escort it would not be possible. Please answer if this is okay for you and I will inform Barb who will be glad to meet you.
Kind regards,
Grail Services team

Hello Chris,
Sorry I skipped over the answer for Saturdays... Saturdays are not possible because guests would and could very likely be using the labyrinth.
Kind regards,
Guest Services

Haliburton Highlands Tranquility Trail - a labyrinth healing park located at Haliburton Highlands Health Care Facility. Public, outdoor, wheelchair accessible, Cretan design, 5-circuit, 30 foot diameter. Crushed stone path & perennial sedum.

Sadly - this labyrinth has been removed (possibly because it was neglected and needed tending?)  - and has not yet been rebuilt.  However I was able to find out about the Minden Hills labyrinth from a staff member at the Health Care Facility.

Minden Hills Labyrinth - Minden - Public, outdoor, shaded by trees, 7-circuit. 42 foot diameter. Gravel pathway. More than 1000 stones mark the walls. Tree stump shaped into a stool in centre for restful contemplation. Peace pole, “May Peace Prevail on Earth", in English, Finnish, German, French & Spanish. Located across the Gull River bridge on grounds of Minden Hills Museum.

We drove to Minden one evening looking for this labyrinth.  We stopped at the Cultural Centre and I went through to the library.  There I was directed to find George at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery who would be able to tell us more about the labyrinth. Another sad story about a lonely labyrinth.  The stones are being removed, in effect the labyrinth is being dismantled, again because it seems there is no one to tend it.  However, we could still find the path, and George made an exception and unlocked the gate close to the labyrinth so we could come in to walk it.

Some lessons from the labyrinth: he/she loves me; remember to make an exception; can still find and follow the path despite perceived difficulties; let there be light - shimmering through a crystal!
A lovely location for a labyrinth - on the grounds of the Minden Cultural Centre.
I pause and find a crystal along the path.
Labyrinth at Kennisis Lake - Haliburton - Private, appointments can be made via email to Belinda Beer, Petite Chartres, 7-circuit, 24 foot diameter.

When I sent the email to Belinda inquiring about walking her labyrinth - I heard back within minutes!
And synchronistically, we were even taking the same course.  A group of eight of us ended up having a wonderful evening at this labyrinth while we were in Haliburton.

Hi Belinda: I am about to leave Almonte – and will be travelling to Haliburton to take a one week course (on Soul Collage® at the Haliburton School of Arts. I am hoping to walk a labyrinth or two while on my journey. Would it be OK to make an appointment to walk your labyrinth at some point while I am in Haliburton? I look forward to your reply. Thanks Chris

Just left you a voice mail. I'm on that course too. You are welcome to walk whenever you would like. Belinda
We are so fortunate to visit this sacred space, called Cathedral in the Woods

We place our Soul Collage® cards on the labyrinth - what a powerful combination.

The beauty and energy of the forest surrounds us.

  And the labyrinth journey continues. 
What a special gift to walk this labyrinth in the woods today. 
Lessons learned:
Believe and receive all that you need.
Trust your path (supported by our newly created Soul Collage® cards).
Continue to step inside the Circle - and step up to new opportunities that present themselves.
"Listen to your heart"
"Help me find and keep my humble self"
I feel supported by the labyrinth and the group of soul sisters that are here - in this moment!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Finding Peace Within Ourselves

Thanks to all who joined us at the Walk in Peace & Native Teachings event at the labyrinth on Thursday June 18th.  These special photos were taken by Kay McKay, and truly capture the spirit and feeling of the event. Interspersed with the photos are comments from our labyrinth committee members and some of the people who attended.
Smudging clears any negative energy and is healing for the mind, body and spirit!

Francine Desjardins, Sunflower, Watching Woman of the Bear Clan, shared teachings on peace and the medicine wheel.
We are reminded to find peace within ourselves, as a way of bringing to the rest of the world.
"What a wonderful gathering in the gardens and at the labyrinth last night! And at the impromptu Circle gathering in the Museum afterwards – during the rain storm…

I was able to finally walk the labyrinth first thing this morning. It was so beautiful to be able to watch the dreamcatcher moving in the breeze as I was walking – and to see the details of the items added – once I got to the centre."

Debby Lytle tells the story and teachings of the dreamcatcher.
We all participate in creating a peacewalk dreamcatcher.
Immersed in the creative process!
"Wonderful event. Everyone really enjoyed doing the communal dreamcatcher."

 "What a lovely picture of the Dream Catcher, it is certainly a great memory of a wonderful walk."

Chris Hume tells the story of the labyrinth and how to get the most out of your walk.
Cedar is one of the four sacred medicines given to the First Nations people as a means of communicating with the Creator. Those who wish to, carry a piece of Cedar with them on their labyrinth walk.

Chad Clifford, Blueberry Mountain Flutes (maker) plays his native-style flute during the labyrinth walk.

Going with the flow on the labyrinth - just before the storm.
"I enjoyed walking the labyrinth during the rain storm. Great circle of flute playing in the museum afterwards!"

"I ended up getting to the car just as it really started raining, and then sat for a while. I really wanted to thank you and your fellow Committee members for another memorable labyrinth event!  You had gone to a lot of trouble to make it a success and I loved being able to add to the dreamcatcher, plus I really appreciated the talk, drumming and singing by Francine.  Doing the walk to the flutes with the dark clouds looming was very atmospheric. All in all, a special day."

Rattle and tapping sticks, part of the Drum Circle tradition.