Imagine wandering on a path to the woods and you come across a quiet open space, encircled by trees and flanked by a river. In the center of the space are stones outlining a path that invites you to follow it. The path is winding and you can’t see quite where it goes back and forth, except that it reaches the center of a circle. You pause, you wonder and you decide to walk in...
The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust is embarking on a project to set out a labyrinth on its land, open and accessible to all in the community. Based on a spiraling circular geometric pattern which has been found on ancient archeological sites around the world, the KCT labyrinth will be amongst a growing number of labyrinths constructed in public spaces over recent years.
What is a labyrinth?
Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is a single path laid out on the ground – simply following it will take you to its center and back out again. The pattern itself is rather mysterious, having turned up in various ancient archeological sites dating back thousands of years. Examples include petrographs in Goa, southern India, rocky constructions on the Solovetsky Islands of Russia, prehistoric cave drawings in Val Camonica, Italy, the legendary labyrinth of King Minos depicted on 5th C BCE coins from Knossos, Greece and the ‘Man in the Maze’ symbol of the Native American Tohona O’odham people. Labyrinths were adopted by the church in the middle ages in different forms and one of the most famous remaining medieval labyrinths is that found in Chartres cathedral in France, dating from the early 13th C.
Why a community labyrinth?
Over the last few decades a ‘revival’ of labyrinth building has occurred – in public spaces such as hospitals, churches, schools, parks and gardens. A wealth of experience gathered from people building and walking the labyrinth in places all over the world suggests that it somehow facilitates contemplation, meditation, prayer, mental clarity or healing. For many it has become a spiritual practice – for others it offers a few moments of peace, calm or wondering.
Many of us benefit in these ways just walking the trails on the land preserved by our conservation trusts. What the labyrinth offers is a designated ‘quiet space’, enabling people to enjoy a moment of reflection, to connect with the land in a focused or deeper way; a space that is inviting and accessible to a diversity of people and groups in the community.
If you would like further information or to be involved in the project, please contact Juliet Altham at email@example.com
The natural stone labyrinth that inspired us was made by labyrinth designer and creator, Lisa Gidlow Moriarty https://www.facebook.com/lisa.gidlowmoriarty