Girton Equinox Labyrinth and Conker Cairn, 23 September 2015

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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.

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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!

Girton Labyrinth

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Mill Road Winter Fair 2014

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.

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At the still point of the turning world…

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.

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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)

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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.

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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’)

 

The Chartres-style labyrinth at Saffron Walden Maze Festival 2013

The Chartres-style labyrinth at Saffron Walden Maze Festival 2013

Maze Festival visitors walking the cloth Chartres-style labyrinth in the Saffron Walden Friends’ Meeting House, 17th August 2013. The labyrinth was kindly loaned by the University of Kent and the photo was taken by Saffron Walden Camera Club. For more about the Festival do read the Maze Festival page on this blog – and visit http://www.saffronwaldenmazefestival.co.uk

Mill Road Winter Fair Candlelit Labyrinth

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Despite a misty and drizzly start, Saturday 1st December turned into a beautiful cold, clear day, perfect for wrapping up warm and joining the wonderfully varied throng in Mill Road for the annual Mill Road Winter Fair.

 This year saw the first ever labyrinth at the fair, and, as the day went on, it proved to be very popular with visitors of all ages, sizes and backgrounds.

 The idea for the labyrinth began on a summer day when I was passing Petersfield on my way to a meeting at Jimmy’s Night Shelter. I noticed the large green space… the benches round about… the encircling mature trees… I thought, how wonderful to make a labyrinth here, which could be walked by Jimmy’s guests and local residents alike, as a symbol of community. Afterwards I remembered the Winter Fair, which seemed the perfect opportunity to put my idea into practice.

 Mill Road Winter Fair committee liked the idea, especially the plan to light the labyrinth pathways with tea lights in jam jars. Jimmy’s and Cambridge Link Up were very pleased for me to raise awareness of their work through making the labyrinth.

 On the day the labyrinth looked truly magical as dusk descended. Gradually more and more people came to walk it. Quite a few were intrigued by the ancient pattern of its circuits and wanted to know more.  Many clearly experienced the meditative quality of the labyrinth for themselves. Youngsters and small children were particularly drawn to it and had a great time racing round it. Darkness fell at 4.00pm, and soon after the arrival of wonderful local Samba Band Arco Iris announced the rousing grand finale of the Fair. 

After all the jars and candles were cleared away, the print of the labyrinth, edged with corn and marked by the tracks of people’s feet, could still be clearly seen… It was, finally, too tempting for me to simply climb into the car and leave behind… I couldn’t resist one last sprint around the paths. It seemed as if the energy all the people who had walked it was focussed there, and I felt my spirit fly…

 Many thanks to all those who helped make the labyrinth, also those who saved up their used jam jars and those who helped put them out and light them on the day. Thanks too to Paul Edwards who took these lovely photos. All being well, we’ll be back again next year!

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