Saturday, November 10, 2012

Labyrinth at St. Francis of Assisi

Mary (Zorro) searched out this labyrinth at an Episcopal church in Ooltewah, across town from where I live.  She and Donna (AuntyDon) and I arranged to meet there Friday morning to walk the labyrinth.  As we walked in silence, I collected a small pinecone that had fallen onto the sandy path among the brown leaves, and I saw Donna bend down to touch the black stones of a tile in the next picture.

These three stone tiles were placed at the beginning (which is also the end) of the path we walked.  The Alpha and Omega are separated by a tile showing a cross with a colorful glass (?) center.  All were designed with smooth inlaid stones.  If you were to walk across these tiles, rather than following the brick-outlined path, you'd be going straight into the center of the labyrinth...

...which is here.  Yesterday was a chilly morning, as you can see by the jackets.  Mary and Donna are standing at "9 o'clock" and "12 o'clock" on the cross in the center, meditating.  Mary looked up, Donna looked down, and I looked at my viewfinder to snap this picture before taking my place at the "3 o'clock" arm of this cross.  The entrance/exit for the center was at "6 o'clock" in line with Donna.

Mary approaches the end of "unwinding" herself out of the labyrinth.  (See those three white tiles?)  Later, she suggested we should write a booklet telling people how to pray the labyrinth.  Donna pointed out what she read at the St. Paul labyrinth, that there's no one right way to walk a labyrinth.  This is quoted from the handout we picked up there:
Unlike a maze, a labyrinth offers no tricks, puzzles, or dead-ends.  The design forms a winding unicursal path which leads toward the center and back out again.  This sacred path in a sacred circle simply leads to a deeper connection to God, others, and ourselves. ... There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth.  Walk with an open mind and an open heart and receive whatever is there for you.  Release your expectations.  Focus on your breath.  Find your own individual pace.  There is one way in and one way out.  Those going in will meet those coming out.  You may "pass" others on the path or allow them to step around you.  Do whatever comes naturally.  Use everything as a metaphor.
We three met in the middle and walked out from that center separately, no one close to another except when we passed on adjacent parts of the path.

We ended our time together at Cracker Barrel, eating and having a theological conversation that lasted a couple of hours.  Mary's daughter Cori met us for lunch, and she's the one who took this photo of the three muskateers I mean, the three book buddies.  If you click twice on these photos, you can enlarge them to see more details.  You may even be able to read the quote on my tee-shirt:
"Well behaved women rarely make history."


Bonnie Jacobs said...

"Use everything as a metaphor," the handout said.

Hmm, what is the metaphor of that pinecone I picked up? Seeds of new life? Time to go in new directions? What is the metaphor of going around in circles? What's the metaphor of three women together in companionable silence?

I don't know, but it was a good day.

Shirley said...

Neat gathering spot! Thanks for sharing. Labyrinth discovering and walking is a nifty hobby. I realize in looking at some of the photos that some aren't as big as I'd initially visualized.

Zorro said...

Bonnie, Donna, and I (Book Buddies) walked/prayed the St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church,Ooltewah, TN., labyrinth this morning. It is in a natural setting of oak and cedar trees on the hill behind the church. I noticed a lot of symbolism for was a very narrow path to follow; I stumbled several times; I was a little off-balance; the center was a cross + with equal arms that I thought stretched to the four corners of the earth (north, south, east, west)

alisonwonderland said...

Wonderful post!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks, Alison. Wish you were close enough to join me in doing something like this.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Good evening, labyrinth people -- or wannabe labyrinth walkers -- or whatever.

I have found an excellent post about "Advent: Week 1, Day 1" that I want to share with you, especially since the blogger mentions her church held an Advent Labyrinth Walk event last night. Here's the link:

Shirley said...

Quite a link to the labyrinth theme!