Creating ‘Eastern Slopes Labyrinth’ in southern Alberta, #yyc




by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles

This summer I was invited by Maria Vanderham, to a piece of land she calls, “The Farm”, to teach a workshop program on Listening which integrates mind, body and space to connect more deeply to one’s center.  As part of this journey we made a decision to create a labyrinth.

On arrival I discovered that there where two entrances to the homestead.  There is one gate to the land and a second one to the homestead to separate the grazing from the home space.  An area inside the second fence was chosen for the labyrinth.

Based upon a 9 square Ba qua grid  the area the homestead sits upon is in the area that transitions from the fame and relationship corners of the property, .  (Mentally I viewed the land to divide it into these nine squares.)  This means the labyrinth sits in the 1/3 square that reflects the helpful people area inside the homestead fence.  On the whole piece of land it sits in approximately where the two squares translation from fame to relationship.  All nice placements for a labyrinth.

This  homestead is in transition itself from old to new that is evident upon our arrival.  Old items had been partly carted away with the reminder left in piles on the patio to the house.  These items represented great works of art once displayed and now left to crumble.   Maria focused upon getting this sorted.  She supported my ideas of what could be recycled into use for the labyrinth creation giving it new artistic life and appreciation.  This included the wonderful stones.  Along with the stones Maria picked up a load of aging wood left on the land that was being cut up for fire wood.  She also discovered bones that had been found on the property that made a nice reflection in the labyrinth.  These natural elements together with coloured scarves, candles and a bird bath created the circuit borders to define the pathway for a wonderful walking experience.

The intention of the design was to support the natural objects of the farm and to create an active walk for inner reflection to better achieve a focused point of action in the center.  This was done by using the five elements and yin and yang shapes to support creating balance.  Stones and wood placements between the circuits were used to create interesting yin and yang shapes.  Candles to reflect fire were placed in the labyrinth and there was a bowl of water in the center to balance the fire aspect of action in the large stone with orange moss.  The shape of the bowl was metal that contained the water.  Another metal element containing water was used to support the blue birds in the bird housing along the labyrinth fence.  The feathers, round shaped container and water reflected the three elements of air, metal and water.  A jagged orange rock was placed around the edge of the bird bath to reflect fire.

Scarves were added to create the circuits between the paths to reflect our body energy centers called the Chakras, and one scarf was added by Maria to reflect a dear friend of hers who could not attend.  Participants were invited to add their own beauty as they arrived and we walked the labyrinth together.

Spontaneously a hand drum became apart of walking the labyrinth for the first few times.  Both Maria and I held one and played as we walked through the first time together setting a deeper connection to the upcoming weekend teachings.  Over the weekend there were many walks around the labyrinth that included drumming and singing.  The one rhythm I cherished sharing was the rhythm of the heart beat.  Walking the heart beat is the focus of my listening teachings in Feldenkrais®Movement, Compassion Communication and InTouch with the environment.  As we walk and listen to the sound of the heart rhythm there is an opportunity for our heart beats to align.

The entrance of the labyrinth was laid facing the east.  A direction in the Medicine Wheel that reflects new beginnings.  When I lay a labyrinth the center seed pattern reflects the seed pattern of the Medicine Wheel.  The both begin with a cross and each have a circular circumference.  As a body worker,  for me,  the labyrinth also reflects the potential forward and back plumb line movement of ones body posture and the side to side plumb line movement in posture that is required for better balance.  In a labyrinth one walks in a circular pattern crossing over the cardinal directions, while in a medicine wheel one walks around the directions.  The natural rhythm of balance within ones body includes spontaneous centering using the cardinal directions from the inside out.

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