On 24th October we made a special candlelit labyrinth to help ‘Cambridge Sustainable Food’ raise awareness of the problem of food waste and other important food issues as part of their two week ‘Pumpkin Fest’. We had a lot of fun making a corn labyrinth, even though we had to put on waterproofs and work in the pouring rain! Lighting the tea lights in their jam jars was a challenge. Our candle lighters didn’t work properly in the wet weather and breezy conditions. But our fantastic team of volunteers came up with an innovative solution, lighting them indoors and carrying them out in a handy bucket!
If you look closely at the photos you might be able to see that we also used a few LED tea lights in amongst the real ones. The LEDs produced a more blueish light than the golden flames of the tea lights. After a lot of effort, finally the magical pathway was ready for our visitors, some of whom had come from quite far afield. Some lucky folk lived in the tall houses round about the community centre and had an excellent bird’s eye view from upstairs. Ann from Cambridge Sustainable Food brought delicious pumpkin themed refreshments, including hot pumpkin soup, and we also gave away orange balloons and leaflets about reducing food waste and becoming a more thoughtful cook and consumer. If you missed it this year, look out for us again next October!
Following on the success of last year’s equinox labyrinth in Girton we decided to repeat the event again. A major attraction, especially for younger visitors, was the lovely location under the horse chestnut trees which border the main recreation ground. We set about collecting conkers and soon had a shining heap near the entrance of the labyrinth. Everyone walking – or running – the labyrinth was invited to pick up a conker and take it into the centre. We thought the conker might symbolise something you are thankful for, or perhaps something you need to let go of. Or you might just enjoy the beauty of it and the feel of it in your hand.
As dusk fell, we lit tea lights in jam jars to illuminate the pathway, and our equinox labyrinth was transformed into a magical pathway of light.
Thank you everyone who came and helped, especially Eve, who showed great skill at pouring the corn for the lines, and Rowan, who worked hard to keep the tea lights lit all through the evening. Brilliant!
This year at Cambridge’s Mill Road Winter Fair we enjoyed a clear blue sky, bright winter sun, and crisp cold temperatures. Thanks to everyone who came and helped or just walked (or ran!) the labyrinth. It was lovely to see some people who visited the labyrinth last year return to enjoy it again. I loved walking to the beat of the Arco Iris Samba Band when they passed by in the late afternoon. If you missed it this time – there’s always next year! And do keep an eye on the ‘events’ page for other labyrinth happenings.
26th June: a beautiful summer’s day at Ferrar House Retreat Centre, Little Gidding, well known for its association with the poet TS Eliot. Many thanks to Judy Fox for taking care of running the Labyrinth Day for me while I was recovering from an operation, and to Wendy Skirrow for her enthusiasm, hosting the day and looking after everyone so well.
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid.
TS Eliot (Little Gidding)
The group made a corn labyrinth on the lawn in front of the house and spent time reflecting and enjoying the natural beauty all around, especially the plentiful bees and butterflies visiting the garden. After lunch the group made the 10 minutes’ walk to Steeple Gidding, where the cloth ‘pebble’ labyrinth was laid out in the beautiful space of Saint Andrew’s Church.
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
TS Eliot (from ‘Burnt Norton’)
What a lovely Bank Holiday weekend we had at Quiet Waters, Bungay in Suffolk a couple of weeks ago! By a happy chance our weekend coincided with the auspicious date of Saturday 3rd May – World Labyrinth Day.
Here are some photos taken by Felicity and Diana over the weekend – there are lots of our beautiful corn labyrinth, of course, but I also love the ‘Pentecostal tulips’ in the chapel – just beautiful.
If you missed the weekend, don’t worry! There are plans for another labyrinth weekend at Quiet Waters, and maybe an Advent labyrinth day, too.
And don’t forget that Quiet Waters welcomes visitors at other times too – as day guests seeking some peace and quiet, or for longer stays. You can find out more at http://quietwaters.org.uk
Chartres Labyrinth Walk: on Saturday 17th August I will be facilitating an open labyrinth walk of a full sized canvas Chartres labyrinth, on temporary loan from the University of Kent. You will find me in the Friends Meeting House in Saffron Walden between 10 and 4. The labyrinth walk is part of a larger event, the Saffron Walden Maze Festival, which will be celebrating the town’s unique heritage of the wonderful – and very large – turf labyrinth on the Common, and the recently restored Victorian hedge maze (the sort you can get lost in!) in Bridge End Gardens.
There are all kinds of labyrinth and maze related activities planned between Friday 16th and Monday 19th August. For more details, keep an eye on the maze festival website, www.saffronwaldenmazefestival.com.uk and do come and join in. It is sure to be an excellent weekend.
Looking a bit further ahead, there will be some labyrinth-related happenings during Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s ‘Mental Health Resilience Week’, between 7th and 12th October. These will include the cloth ‘pebble’ labyrinth in the Chapel (please email to check precise times) some beautiful, locally-made finger labyrinths; and a walkable labyrinth on a grander scale outdoors.
Finally, here are some pictures from the recent Maze Day at Radwinter Primary School, near Saffron Walden. We all had a very busy day with some lovely quiet, reflective moments too. Thanks to Emma Horton for having the idea, and to Mrs Hockley and all the staff for making it happen. Photos and examples of the pupils’ fantastic, creative work will be on display in the Court House, Saffron Walden, during the Maze Festival weekend – where you will also find interactive games for all ages and the ‘giant tilting maze’.
If you would like to have a similar labyrinth-themed day at your local school or other community or group, do contact me for availability, information and ideas.