Hi everyone, I hope you have been well and happy since the last Forest Labyrinth News in September. As always, time flies, and I keep my dispatches to a minimum… we get enough clutter in our Inbox as it is. If you want to hear from me more often, subscribe to my blog at Soultrail.ca 🙂
Solstice – Monday DEC 14th
The Winter Solstice arrives in this area at 5:44AM next Monday, December 21st. The shortest day is said to be the “great stillness” before the Sun’s strength begins to build once again. It reminds me of a pranayama practice which centers on an intentional pause after a full exhale; Winter Solstice is that pause and offers the opportunity for reflection and gentle quiet as we cross the solar cusp toward renewed energy. And we can all sure use that this year. (For more on the spiritual significance of Winter Solstice see the Explore Deeply web site.)
There is no event planned at the Forest Labyrinth but you are very welcome to walk the labyrinth whether on your own or with a few friends… unless you’re a keener, no need to do it 5:44AM 😉 If you would like to visit the labyrinth on Solstice, please email or give me call (in advance, or on the day is fine too) so if necessary I can manage COVID numbers responsibly. And if you like, I can light the fire bowl at the labyrinth entrance or place coloured lanterns in the labyrinth if it’s nearing dusk when you will be here.
Updates & Happenings since the last Forest Labyrinth News
- Back in September, Louise Jarvis asked if we could do a small gathering at the labyrinth to sing Laurence Cole’s “Humbly”. What a magnificent notion (Louise, if you know as leader of “Oh Sing!” community choir, has a keen intuition for choral creativity) to sing the layered phrasing of “Humbly we walk here; humbly we sing here; humbly we bless this ground.” while walking an earthy labyrinth. The wide path provided good spacing, though we also wore face coverings to keep it safe as can be, but we were still close enough to hear others’ voices as they passed opposite directions. It was a stellar happening that gave me great joy.
- Not much snow on the ground yet but did you know the Forest Labyrinth is open for use year round? And once the snow gets deeper, the labyrinth was designed to be snowshoed (I even have a few loaner pairs)… what a truly Canadian labyrinth experience!
- At the end of June and September I forward the entirety of gratitude donations left by labyrinth visitors to M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre and Chapman House Hospice. So far in the second half of this year $170 has accumulated thanks to kind labyrinth users, and plus $260 from the first half of the year. I will post the final amount on the forest labyrinth web page at the end of December. I am very humbled that the labyrinth generates this support and goodwill.
- In addition to being uniquely snowshoe-able, the Forest Labyrinth is also probably rare in being a dog-friendly labyrinth! Yup, woof woof, bring your best friend along with you on your labyrinth journey… just keep them on a leash, be mindful of others and exercise the usual poop’n’scoop etiquette. And speaking of labyrinth pooches, let me introduce the new resident here! She comes from northern Quebec via IFAW’s Northern Dogs Project, a beautiful and loving doggy soul, and her head is about the softest thing you will ever touch. Just coming up on 2 weeks since adopting her, you can see she has already found the labyrinth. And found her way deep into my heart.
Book: The Spirituality of Mazes & Labyrinths
I was at Williamsford Mill, a local cafe an used book emporium, picking up my local food co-op order last week and, in amongst the stacks of used books, I came across this wonderful title which of course beckoned me to take it home. Wow, what an interesting read and something a little different than other labyrinth books I have seen. The text is insightful, within a beautifully produced full-colour volume featuring many pictures and illustrations… even a pattern to cross-stitch a Chartres labyrinth. And turns out the author, Gailand MacQueen, is a Canadian—living in Sudbury, Ontario. Here’s a lovely (and very topical in this odd year we have had) passage he wrote in the section titled “The Labyrinth and Simplicity”:
“The most important gift that the labyrinth gives me is the promise of simplicity. We live in a confusing, complex, uncertain world. Our life circumstances constantly force us to make important decisions with limited knowledge. Symbolically speaking, life is a maze. Yet, in the labyrinth, life is simple. All I need to do is trust and I will find my center and return to the world.”
An interesting story about the path this book took to me: There is a couple who come walk the Forest Labyrinth a few times a year. We were chatting on the front porch at the conclusion of their last visit and I was telling them about this book. It turns out they were paring down their home book collection and dropped off a few boxes of them at the Williamsford Mill–though the labyrinth book they had intended to give to me but got mixed in with the donated books my mistake. And yet, as it happened, I found this book in amongst thousands of used books and bought it. Much like the labyrinth, the book took a meandering path yet got to where it was meant to go!
Day-use Yurt Rental
There is a yurt nestled into the forest, just steps away from the labyrinth, and it makes a wonderful setting for some personal retreat time, a yoga marathon, playing/composing music, some self-indulgent pondering, or whatever personal activity might benefit from being surrounded by trees, in sight of the labyrinth, and connected to the forest by sight, sound and smell.
If you could make (personal/non-commercial) use of such a space, get in touch with me for more details and cost.
Warm regards from here to there,