I can’t tell you how excited I am that there is now a community Labyrinth in the River Arts District! A labyrinth is a wonderful meditation tool for relaxation and spiritual practice. I find it perfectly fitting to launch this blog with the Labyrinth Dedication Ceremony, even though the ceremony actually took place in Nov. 2010.
Riverlink led the creation of our community Labyrinth and enlisted a small army of volunteers from the Outdoor Industry Association back in October to help clear the land and lay out the stones that form the path. They held the dedication ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 and it was definitely good church!
Rev. Laura Collins introduced the faith leaders from Asheville’s Inter-faith group who spoke at the dedication starting with Byron Ballard, our Village Witch. Byron reminded us that we were standing on holy ground because everyplace on Earth is holy ground. Rob Capelli, Rabbi at Beth Isreal, and Guy Sayles, Pastor of First Baptist Church both told moving and humorous stories to remind us that joy, wisdom and connection are found on the journey, not at the end of it. Cat Matlock of West Asheville Yoga offered a beautiful Hindu chant and Howard Hanger, Minister of Ritual at Jubilee! Community rounded out the speakers with his own inimitable flair. We all formed a circle holding hands around the labyrinth and dedicated it to our community.
After the speakers everyone was invited to walk the Labyrinth. The day was so warm I took my shoes off for my walk as Minnie followed along behind me. The path of our labyrinth is wide enough for two people to pass one another and the course sand that forms the path is very comfortable to walk upon. I carried a small cup of water with me. I poured a libation as I entered and set my intention for my walk.
For me one of the great metaphors of a labyrinth is Choice. At any point one can choose to leave the path, just step right off and walk right out. A labyrinth always reminds me that I’m walking a path of my choosing and that there is no way to know what will be different at the end of the journey unless I see it through. On the other hand, if I find that I truly am on the wrong path for me, I can stop and choose to turn from that path to another.
When I reached the center I stopped to breath and clear my mind, then I poured a bit of water in gratitude for this sacred community space. As I began to make my way out of the labyrinth along its ancient pattern I felt moved to tears. I believe our community labyrinth is a powerful place of healing for our city, our land and water and our world. I believe healing our world is an inside job. We act in the external world but if we’re not changing our thoughts and beliefs on the inside we’ll continue to see ourselves and each other as separate, alone and deprived. Our community labyrinth provides a place where anyone, no matter what she or he believes, can journey inside to find peace and connection with All That Is. I poured one last libation of thanks giving on the ground as I stepped out of the labyrinth with Minnie at my heals.