At Fernview Center for Wellbeing we are honored to have a Labyrinth built as a memorial to Michael Lynn McCaulley, an ordained minister in The United Church of Christ. Michael was a certified hospice chaplain for the last three years of his life, he can be quoted as saying "This is my dream job". He had come full circle in his life and had worked through large business management & corporate America into this peacefull calling that he called home. He could often be seen on the grounds tending to the delicate flora & fauna of this serene landscape. As a part of his legacy and to encourage others on their life journey's, his mother Linda McCaulley, mother-in-law Priscilla MacKenzie Kline and wife Heidi McCaulley built a labyrinth on the ground of Fernview Center collaboratively with family & friends to create a space for the community, clinicians, educators, healthcare professionals, animals, or anyone to discover solace & peace through meditation & prayer.
We welcome anyone to walk the labyrinth or participate in an introductory workshop. Please simply fill out a Fernview participation/ release form (printable from our menu.)
Here is a little information on how to use the Labyrinth...
Approach the labyrinth with thoughtful awareness.
Take a deep breath & clear your mind.
Say a prayer or set a positive intention.
Cast in your gaze at a 45 degree angle towards the ground.
Lift your right foot and set your heel down, rolling your foot, lingering on your toes, and release and set the right heel down.
Proceed at a gentle pace to the center gently passing any other beings.
Once you reach the center re-affirm your prayer or positive intention.
Gently turn and continue the processional until you exit the Labyrinth.
Take a deep breath and honor all others in the space without talking.
Gaze into the forest and breathe in a sense of gratitude and peace.
Several times a year we will offer mindfulness meditation walks and workshops for anyone interested. Dr. Priscilla MacKenzie Kline has trained with Dr. Lauren Artress as a labyrinth facilitator at Grace Cathedral in San Fransisco, California.
Walking a Sacred Path
by Dr. Lauren Artress
We reccomend the following book by Dr. Lauren Artress;
'Walking the Labyrinth' has reemerged today as a metaphor for the spiritual journey and a powerful tool for transformation. This walking meditation is an archetype, a mystical ritual found in all religious traditions. It quiets the mind and opens the soul. Walking a Sacred Path explores the historical origins of this divine imprint and shares the discoveries of modern day seekers. It shows us the potential of the Labyrinth to inspire change and renewal, and serves as a guide to help us develop the higher level of human awareness we need to survive in the twenty-first century.
What Is A Labyrinth?
"A normal labyrinth meditation consists of walking to the center of the circuit (also known as the rosette), pausing there in silence, and then leaving the way you came. Your inner work should mirror your physical journey: Start by looking inward and letting the world beyond the path ahead of you fall away. When you reach the rosette, stop and decide if there's anything you'd like to let in, maybe a spiritual force or something more specific to your personal life — whatever you're reflecting upon, take as much time as you need. When you leave, do so with a newfound sense of power and purpose, so that by the time you're outside of the labyrinth, you feel refreshed and ready to resume your everyday life. Labyrinths are an incredibly versatile spiritual tool — they aren't problem-solvers, but they provide people with a template for meditation and prayer they might not have thought of otherwise. Research has found that labyrinth walking can be helpful as part of couples and family therapy, for stress management, and to aid with recovery from trauma. They're often used to help young people explore their spiritual needs, but labyrinths can serve that purpose for anyone, regardless of age. If you're still on the fence, find one near you and take a stroll for yourself. You just might leave feeling recharged and focused — and, if nothing else, you'll have gotten a little peace and quiet, which is about as chill as it gets."
- Coughlin, Sara. “This Might Be The Chillest Way To Meditate.”
The History of the Labyrinth
Most people are familiar with mazes, especially those built of hedges, such as the famous example at Hampton Court, with their complex patterns of pathways, intended to confuse the visitor. But these mazes are a relatively recent invention, first appearing around 600 years ago in the gardens of royal places and wealthy landowners in late medieval Europe. There also exists another category of mazes, more commonly called labyrinths, which have only one pathway leading from the entrance to the centre, albeit by the most tortuous of routes. These can be traced back over 4000 years and are found worldwide in a number of different forms.
The history of the labyrinth is dotted with times when their popularity has taken the concept and designs to new locations and found new uses – from the Neolithic period through to modern times. Their twisting pathways have variously been traced by eye or with a fingertip when carved, woven or painted on rocks, walls or household objects; or have been walked, run and danced, when laid upon the ground. Since the labyrinth symbol first appeared, there have been many design variations employed in its construction, but two specific forms, the so-called ‘Classical’ and ‘Medieval’ types have proved by far the most popular. Many of these labyrinths have a pleasing visual symmetry combined with a surprising length of pathway enclosed within a relatively small area. Unlike the later mazes, labyrinths have no choices along the way – the only decision is whether you enter and trust that the path will lead you to your goal.
The earliest examples, precise symbols found carved on rocks and painted or scratched on pottery, date to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, although are often difficult to date precisely. The same design, found on coins from Crete from the first few centuries BC, symbolise the labyrinth at Knossos in which the Minotaur was imprisoned. Popular throughout the Roman Empire as a protective and decorative symbol on the mosaic floors of civic buildings and villas, they were also constructed outdoors at this time as a playground for children and as a test of skill for soldiers on horseback.
During the medieval period the labyrinth symbol developed into a more intricate form, reflecting the complexities of faith, life and philosophy in the medieval mind. Occurring first in manuscripts, it was subsequently laid in coloured marble and tiles on the floors of cathedrals and churches, most famously at Chartres Cathedral, where the labyrinth constructed in the early 13th century survives to this day, and indeed, has become an object of pilgrimage for modern visitors.
Mentioned by Shakespeare
In Britain and Germany, from the late medieval period onwards, they were created by cutting the designs into the turf of town commons, village greens and rural hilltops. Mentioned by Shakespeare in “A Midsummer-Night’s Dream,” and employed as a dancing ground for rustic festivities, they were once widespread, but only eight historic examples survive in England and three in Germany. Elsewhere in Europe walkable labyrinths formed of rocks on remote islands in Scandinavia are associated with superstitious practices of the fishing communities that built them, likewise during the medieval period. Other examples alongside prehistoric burial grounds in Southern Sweden and Arctic Russia hint at an earlier use in the region, for purposes that remain mysterious.
Equally puzzling are the labyrinths found carved and painted on cave and temple walls in India and on tribal objects from Sumatra and Java – how and when the labyrinth reached these remote areas remains difficult to fully explain. Likewise the occurrence of the symbol amongst rock art in the American Southwest - was this an independent discovery of the design, or a European introduction?
Colonial influences took labyrinths and mazes to all corners of the world by the 19th century, at which time many of the modern forms of mazes, aimed specifically at family entertainment, were developed. During the late 20th century the story took another dramatic turn. First mazes, with ever more innovative designs and complex technological developments, became an integral part of visitor attractions and the leisure industry. Then labyrinths, rediscovered by a new generation appreciative of their historic connections and spiritual possibilities, found a new acceptance, and at the current time are more popular than they have ever been throughout their tortuous history. Estimates vary, but perhaps 10,000 labyrinths have been constructed worldwide in the last 25 years, in a remarkable variety of locations.
With their ageless forms and complex, swirling pathways that always lead eventually to the goal labyrinths invite playful interaction, as well as soulful contemplation. It is thischarm that so appeals to modern visitors. The lure of the labyrinth has ensnared humankind for thousands of years, and this fascination shows every sign of continuation.
by Jeff Saward, labyrinthbuilders.co.uk