Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant Awarded!

Our year of fundraising has been capped off with some very welcome news!  Our Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant application was successful.  Here is the posting from the Foundation website that pretty well sums it up!
Town of Carleton Place $15,000 over one year to create a permanent, publicly accessible labyrinth on the grounds of the Victoria School Museum for residents of all ages and abilities.
Thanks to everyone who has helped along the way to make our dream of establishing a permanent labyrinth in Carleton Place a reality!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creating a Beach Labyrinth!

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Sanibel Island, Florida with a very good friend of mine.  We stayed with her parents at their condo and had lots of time to walk on the beach.  It seemed like the perfect time to build a Beach Labyrinth!  Following is my journal entry about the experience...

Today was beach labyrinth day!  We headed to the beach around 10:30 in the morning, not a cloud in the sky and it is around 70 F.  We walked towards Bowman's Beach first, then headed the other way to find the perfect labyrinth making spot.  I brought my beach labyrinth making materials with me: step by step instructions from Melissa Gayle West's book ; an image of the Chartres labyrinth; two garden stakes and a long piece of white rope.
I started laying out 12 concentric circles.  I kept the centre small intentionally (2 1/2 - 3 ft. across) to keep the overall size of the labyrinth manageable. I then found the entrance and marked off the four directions on the outer edge of the circle. And slowly, but surely I carefully walked and laid out the Chartres Labyrinth pattern on the beach! 

Eventually I stuck Pen Shells in the sand to mark each turning point! My friend's mom helped to build a dyke and a wall of Pen Shells to protect the labyrinth from the incoming tide.  The wall followed the curve of the edge of the labyrinth - and it helped to contain the space nicely.  People were drawn to the space and asked about what I was creating. 
The finishing detail was to add small shells in between the petals of the rose at the centre - and then I did the full walk.  The most magical moment of all - as I was walking - I sensed something and looked up to see several dolphins cavorting and playing joyfully in the ocean!  I stopped for that moment and felt simply amazed by the day and the whole experience.  And this simple thought entered my mind: 

"Out with the old, in with the new!" 

The next morning I went back to find the labyrinth still there and could see some additional footprints on the path.  Someone else had enjoyed a meditative walk on my creation!  I am now back in the wintery landscape and I know that the beach labyrinth has been washed away - but the feeling of having done this lives on inside of me - and I feel refreshed and energized!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Building the Labyrinth!

Our dream of a creating a permanent community labyrinth in Carleton Place is coming true!  Here are some photos that capture the process...

Piles of pavers!
Future garden

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Travelling and Unravelling - FranceIreland 2010

Unravelling myself from all demands
Seems a daunting task
But I persevere
For it seems I need time to “just be”
And discover something new about me

I’m not sure why I must do this journey
All on my own
Will it become clearer as the days go by?
As the outer landscape keeps changing
I feel more and more at home in myself

Contained by the ancient gothic arches
I stretch and grow
Seeking a clear sign of a new direction
Content to be where I am
And realizing there is no need for perfection

Finding new companions to share the journey
I learn many lessons
Will they apply to me at all in the future?
It’s not necessary to know now
Just to reflect and listen to the profound silence
And consider the landscape.

And ponder how it came to be
So many questions, not enough answers
Only time will tell

A profound appreciation
For gathering around the hearth
And a need to spend more time at the well
The fountain of divine spirit and inspiration

Time spent well
Will allow for replenishment
And an awareness of how to be
much more present

I feel replete, stronger, strengthened
and assured
That I am going in the right direction
I feel profound gratitude
Cleansed, blessed and refreshed

And a strong sense of connection
To my Celtic ancestors
I just know I have a place to go
And time to get to really know
Where I have been!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Labyrinth Luminaries - Available for Rent!

A few months ago the Carleton Place Labyrinth Committee had a scathingly brilliant idea to improve the luminaries that we use to light up our labyrinth!   We decided to use wooden blocks with the centre of the block cut out to hold either a wax candle tea lite or battery candle. These blocks would be easy to use and were reusable, plus they stabilized the paper bags they would sit in, and not blow away or collapse easily.

The Labyrinth Committee contacted a few friends and family members to ask them if they would be kind enough to make us a few of these blocks, –we ended up with over seven hundred of the blocks ! I guess you might say we had a “wooden block blitz,” there was so much enthusiasm from these wonderful carpenters we were quite taken back by their hard work and generosity in supporting us, on this venture.We are looking forward to using these blocks many times for our future events to "light the path" at the Labyrinth Walks.

To help support our ongoing Carleton Place Community Labyrinth  fundraising campaign we are also making these "Labyrinth Luminaries" available for rent! Just imagine the lovely warm glow that can be added to a wedding or other outdoor festivity!

For more information and to book your rental please contact:
Christine Hume 613 859 2136

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Memories of Chartres

When I took the Veriditas Facilitator Training with Rev. Lauren Artress in May of this year, she mentioned the Veriditas programs held in Chartres, France.  In particular there was a one week program called "Walking a Sacred Path: The Spiral of Transformation" planned for the first week of September, 2010.  I was immediately drawn to the "idea" of going there.  I mentioned this in an email to a good friend - and she instantly replied and encouraged me to follow my intuition.  I was already going to Ireland for two weeks to visit cousins of my Mom's that I had met in 2008.  How hard would it be to add one more week and travel to France first?

As I planned my trip, I began to realize that I was going on a Pilgrimage, a special journey that I had to do on my own.  Here is a definition of "Pilgrims" that seemed particularly fitting:
"People passing through territories not their own, following their own spiritual compass".

My week spent in Chartres was simply magical!  Rather than staying at Maison St. Yves with the rest of the group taking the workshop - I stayed at a lovely B&B (Chambres d'hotes MFL) on rue Muret. 

Entrance to my B&B, built in the 17th century!
Each morning as I wandered up the hill, looking up at the awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral that towered over the landscape, I found it hard to believe that I was actually there. And continually thought how great it is when you follow your instincts and go and do something that you feel really drawn to do!
View of Notre Dame du Chartres from rue Muret
Early in the week,we had plenty of time to explore the Medieval village on our own.  After the morning workshop, I wandered each day and enjoyed spending time in a Horticultural Garden; picnicking by the Eure River; peering down interesting alley ways; walking through the Cathedral; sitting in sidewalk cafes savouring a perfect cafe au lait, having a glass of wine at the historic Le Serpentine Cafe! I was perfecting "the art of doing nothing", giving myself time to "just be".

Lovely tree with ivy ground cover at le jardin d'horticulture
Beauty beyond the wrought iron gate

Picnicking by the Eure River - bliss!
Another aspect of the trip to Chartres was the opportunity to go on a tour of the crypt and a tour of the cathedral.  And also the chance of a lifetime to walk the labyrinth at Chartres! We were very privileged to be able to participate in a private, after hours candlelit labyrinth walk on the Thursday evening.  The labyrinth at Chartres is covered by chairs during the week, and only during the tourist season (from May through to the end of  September) - the chairs are removed early on Friday mornings and promptly moved back over the labyrinth late in the afternoon.

The centre of the labyrinth is divinely lit from within!

The labyrinth at Chartres fully revealed, we are walking a well-travelled path!
I have been back from my travels for almost a month, and know that I have been affected profoundly by the whole experience! This message from a labyrinth card pulled twice during my week at Chartres sums it up nicely:
I walk in reflection of the completed lesson and I choose to move forward. I am at peace!

The view from Maison St. Yves, anything is possible!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It Takes Many Hands to Make a Labyrinth

Carleton Place Community Labyrinth
2nd Annual Harvest Lantern Labyrinth Walk, September 25, 2010

6:10 pm. and we are elbow-to-elbow frantically filling hundreds of paper lunch bags with newly planed cedar candle holders, jiggling the votive candles into place, several worried glances skyward to check for storm clouds... the dark clouds are hovering...but so far we are dry...

A little boy arrives early. He stops several paces away and curious about the flurry of arms and elbows and paper bags and cardboard boxes asks: "What are you doing?"
"We're making a labyrinth, someone calls back,"want to help?"

Without hesitation, the child races forward, eager to pitch in, and becomes instantly immersed in the important job of placing hundreds of paper bags that will hold the evening's candlelight along the path. This little boy has become a part of the evening's event, much like the wonderful friends and family members who quietly appear and offer a helping hand when we most need it.

At this moment, it occurs to me why the public events that we hold for the labyrinth are so worthwhile; it takes a lot of work and cooperation to hold a successful event, but the labyrinth gives us all the opportunity to pause and enjoy life's moments... So it may rain (and it DOES!) But that's okay. People gather under the tents, warm up with Ronette's delicious apple cider, listen to our guest musicians Claire and Amanda, and share a joke about the drizzly weather.

As the day light dissipates and darkness transforms the site; a spiral path that people have walked for centuries emerges, twinkling and comforting, as a constant stream of people arrive. Little boys charge through the rows, mothers carry toddlers, little girls are dressed up for the occasion in their harvest best, and many others are simply pacing it out in a slower fashion, involved in a private thought or sorrow.

Each labyrinth experience is always a little different, but the outcome always feels the same as we survey the glowing site and heave a collective sigh of satisfaction. It takes many hands to make a labyrinth. We watch as perfect strangers, old friends and new friends come together to spend a couple hours walking together to celebrate harvest on a September evening in 2010.

Blog Post by Karen Kiddey, Photography Neil Haesler

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Harvest Lanterns Will Light the Labyrinth

Saturday September 25th in Carleton Place

A parade of candlelit lanterns will illuminate the way for the second annual "Harvest Lantern Labyrinth Walk" on Saturday September 25th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm., at the Victoria School Museum on 267 Edmund Street in Carleton Place.
Make your own Lantern and Bring it to the Harvest Lantern Walk!
The Labyrinth Committee (TLC) invites you to join the second annual labyrinth walk celebrating the beginning of autumn-- the seventh in a series of public walks that have taken place since the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth was first created on the museum grounds in July 2008.

The Harvest Lantern Labyrinth Walk was a big hit last year, as families from across the region brought along their festive lanterns and more than a hundred participants enjoyed a walk to celebrate the bounty of autumn. Along with a candlelit path lit by hundreds of luminaries this year, expect to find a roaring bonfire, music, and free refreshments - all chosen for the harvest theme!

"Public walks such as these also bring community awareness to the beauty and simplicity of walking a labyrinth." says TLC chairperson Debby Lytle.

Bring along a chair, and a lantern and join us as we celebrate harvest-time with a candlelit lantern walk along the path of the grass labyrinth!

And don't forget to sign up for the Free Workshop: Learn to Make Your Very Own Harvest Lantern on Saturday September 18th.  To register contact Heather at: 613-257-7604!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NEW – Lantern Making Workshop

Fun for the whole family - learn how to make your very own lantern! A FREE lantern making workshop is being held at Brush Strokes at 129 Bridge Street, in Carleton Place on Saturday September 18th, from 9 am – 11 am.

This event is being organized by the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth committee, in preparation for the Harvest Lantern Labyrinth Walk coming up on Saturday September 25th.

Make your own lantern and bring it to the Harvest Lantern Walk! Lantern decorating supplies to be provided, bring a mason jar if you have one.

Space is limited, so register early!
The workshop is FREE, freewill donations appreciated.
Any proceeds will help build the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth
For more information or to register:
Email: Heather Lebeau at
OR phone: 613 257 7604

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Labyrinth Workshop for You and Your Dog!

Experience the Labyrinth:
Walking in Balance with Your Dog
NEW DATE - Sunday June 26, 2011
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, Pakenham, Ontario

Join us for a fun half-day session in a lovely country setting!
You will learn some simple techniques for
walking in balance with your dog.
And also be introduced to the benefits
of walking a labyrinth, on your own
and together with your dog.

Jacquie Christiani: Guild Certified TTouch Practitioner
Christine Hume: Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator

Tellington TTouch is a method for enhancing the mental, emotional and physical well-being of your companion animal, based on cooperation and respect. It is used to support veterinary care, training and behaviour modification. An additional benefit is increased understanding and more effective communication between humans and animals. It uses a series of circular touches & leading exercises through groundwork equipment, one being the labyrinth. During this session you will learn why the labyrinth may be helpful for your dog and how to lead your dog in balance using some of the TTouch techniques.

The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool that is thousands of years old. It’s a single, circuitous path that leads you into the centre and out again. It’s not a maze designed to trick you, confuse you or engage you in decision making. There is one way in and one way out. Walking the “human” version of the labyrinth can help you calm your mind, find your centre, and promote healing and growth.

This session was inspired during a “human” labyrinth walk. We will be exploring the connection between the labyrinth used for TTouch groundwork and the Classical labyrinth. We will close the day with a meditative walk in a Classical labyrinth with both humans and dogs.

Participants may choose to bring a dog, but this is not a requirement. We anticipate there will be a sufficient number of dogs for everyone to experience the labyrinth, walking in balance. Space is limited for 4-legged participants, so register early!
Luna and Cajun relaxing on the Grass Labyrinth created especially for this workshop!
Cost: $30.00
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Arnprior Animal Shelter
and to help support the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth.

For more information and for registration forms:
OR phone: (613) 624-5530

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trillium Foundation Grant Application Update

The Carleton Place Community Labyrinth Committee has applied to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for funding to support the building of the permanent community labyrinth. We will hear whether we have been successful by the beginning of November. The funds from Trillium will be used in the creation of the labyrinth itself as well as enhancing accessibility features of the site.

Our ideal is to have an accessible paving stone pathway from the parking lot to the labyrinth and a path wide enough for wheelchair use around the outside of the labyrinth. We also hope to have two seating areas that can accommodate wheelchairs. Our dream also includes the provision installation of a permanent finger labyrinth -- allowing anyone who cannot walk the 0.5 km labyrinth path to "walk" the miniature version. The Trillium foundation grant will play a pivotal role in making these dreams a reality. Wish us luck!

Deborah Conners, CP Community Labyrinth Grant Committee

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Strawberry Social and Labyrinth Walk

The Strawberry Social will be held in the gardens at the Victorial School Museum on July 10th, 2010 from 1:30 until 3:00 with the Carleton Place and District Community Band playing and refreshments and food served.  Several Carleton Place Community Labyrinth committee members will be on hand and the labyrinth will be available for an open walk!

A portion of the proceeds raised at the Strawberry Social are to be donated to the Labyrinth. Your support for this event is most appreciated.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Community Gathers Around the Labyrinth!

A big thank you to everyone that was drawn to attend the "Lure of the Labyrinth" event last night!  The weather cooperated and the skies cleared just in time for the setup.  Everyone found a seat around the firepit and we were honoured to be able to share in the blessing of a new drum.  The Sisters of the Drum formed a circle around the sister with the new drum.  A small pebble was placed at the centre and tobacco was spread carefully on top of the drum. The new drum owner turned slowly and stood at each direction, while the rest of the group drummed joyfully.  We could see the tobacco bouncing and dancing on the top of the drum.  What a beautiful ceremony and special way to open up the labyrinth for our Summer Solstice walk!

After a brief introduction everyone was invited to walk the labyrinth!  They were encouraged to carry a small stone with them - and on the walk in to think about "releasing" any stressful thoughts and taking this time to slow down and enjoy the walk.  They could let go of these thoughts at the centre - by symbolically leaving the stone there.  And then "return" back out to join the community gathering...

The new stones that  mark the entrance to the labyrinth were also "warmed", they make a perfect bench and a place to rest before or after your walk.  They are also a solid reminder of our commitment to have a permanent labyrinth built here!  We were thrilled to hear that $1,000 had been donated to our fundraising campaign bringing the new total to over $7,800!  We continue to be amazed at the power of positive thinking and very thankful for the community support.

 And finally as the evening was drawing to a close and dusk was setting in - our little votive candles came to life and lit the way!  In closing I have to say "Meegwetch", a First Nation way of saying much more than "thank you".  By saying "Meegwetch", a general feeling of happiness and gratitude over the existence of something or someone is expressed as well as a spiritual connection!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lure of the Labyrinth

Community Candlelight Walk June 26th Features 'Sisters of the Drum'

"Lure of the Labyrinth" is the theme for this summer's official opening of the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth, a grass labyrinth located behind the Victoria School Museum on 267 Edmund Street in Carleton Place. The Labyrinth Committee (TLC), invites you to join the free festivities from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. on Saturday June 26th, as we celebrate the first week of summer solstice with an 'alluring' evening candlelit walk.

For this sixth public labyrinth event, hundreds of luminaries will be set up along the path, casting a warm glow and guiding the pathway for people of all ages. “This will be a high energy, fun gathering of old and new friends and families", says Christine Hume, a member of the Labyrinth Committee, who will provide an introduction to the labyrinth for participants.

An exciting feature of this year's event will be Sisters of the Drum, a traditional Algonquin hand drum group with members from across Eastern Ontario, who will accompany us on the walk. Sisters of the Drum share native culture and teachings to communities through storytelling and singing, as well as their magnificent drumming ceremonies.

For those new to the labyrinth experience, a labyrinth is a circular path, derived from an ancient spiral symbol. The path of a labyrinth is 'unicursal'- the path on which you enter, is the same path on which you exit. Unlike a maze, the labyrinth holds no tricks or dead ends. The walker can focus on a thought, a prayer, or simply enjoy the walk itself. Walking a labyrinth works through our senses, and can be helpful in supporting healing, meditation, and personal growth.

Don't miss a chance to walk our Community Labyrinth: an evening walk under a full moon, with flickering luminaries, the sounds of the drums, a roaring bonfire, and refreshments promises to satisfy all the senses!

For more information, including how to volunteer for this event contact:
Christine Hume: 613-859-2136 or

Photo Credit:  Hand drum image

Monday, June 7, 2010

Striking Stone Signage

On Tuesday May 25th, Carleton Place town staff erected these impressive stones at the community labyrinth site. The stones were donated by Allan Code and moved by the town to the site. I chose stones that I thought would make an impact but had no idea how wonderfully it would all come together...

What a powerful statement, not only as a signpost to announce "this is where the labyrinth is" but as well the striking sculpture is symbolic of our rock solid intention, commitment and determination to build the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth.

Walk the path

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creating a Special Space at the Health & Wellness Show

How satisfying to have pushed myself out of my comfort zone!  Yesterday was the first time Marie-Chantale, Amanda and I got to practise doing the basic presentation we had learned in the Veriditas Labyrinth facilitator training. We introduced people at the Health & Wellness show in Ottawa to our temporary classical labyrinth "under the willow".  We all felt nervous and anxious about the day - but those feelings fell away as we started to tell the story about this ancient and powerful meditative tool!

The whole process has been very energizing.  From having the initial idea, planning the event and how to promote it, to building the labyrinth out of rope and garden stakes in less than 2 hours!  The moment I saw the suggested location for the labyrinth I knew it was perfect.  I could even see circles and a spiral pattern in the grass.  We only noticed yesterday as people were doing the first labyrinth walk - the lovely statue of Mary - that could be seen through the trees.  It seemed as if she was also pointing right to this spot!

After we finished building the labyrinth on the Friday evening - I stayed on - and was setting up the signage for the event...  A young family came by and were having fun lying on the grass watching a hot air balloon fly overhead.  Their young son saw the labyrinth and immediately leapt up and ran over to the entrance.  He skipped and ran joyfully to the centre and back out - while his family went on ahead.  Our labyrinth was officially opened and ready for more visitors the next morning!

Throughout the day people started to make their way to the labyrinth.  Some on their own, a family with young children, a mom and dad with their grown daughters, a group of young professionals, a couple that had travelled the world, girlfriends, and so on.  Many people didn't understand the difference between a maze and a labyrinth.  Everyone seemed to have time to have thoughtful, meaningful conversations. They all interacted with the labyrinth in their own individual ways - and came away feeling calmer, more centred, and grounded. 

We found that we were very energized by the day and many creative ideas for future labyrinth experiences and events were flowing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Labyrinth at the Health & Wellness Show

Recent graduates from the Veriditas Facilitor Training Workshop (held at St. John’s Anglican Church and facilitated by Rev. Lauren Artress) will be creating a temporary Classical labyrinth at this year’s Health & Wellness Show. The show is being held this weekend - Saturday June 5th and Sunday June 6th - at St. Paul's University, 223 Main Street, Ottawa.

Four open walks will be held during the weekend:
Saturday June 5th: 
Opening walk - 10:00 - 11:30 am; Afternoon walk - 2:00 - 3:30 pm
Sunday June 6th:
Morning walk - 10:00 - 11:30 am; Closing walk - 2:00 - 3:30 pm

The objective will be to introduce people to the meditative, healing and stress-relieving aspects of labyrinth walking. Each walk will be presented by a different facilitator – who will provide a brief introduction about labyrinths – and coordinate the open labyrinth walk. There will be an opportunity to reflect on the walk afterwards through creative expression or journaling.

A freewill donation will be requested. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Children at Risk (a charity supported by the Health & Wellness show organizers ) and to help build a permanent labyrinth in Carleton Place.

For more information contact:
Christine Hume, Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator
613 859 2136,