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Ideas, inspirations, random thoughts on connection and self-empowerment for little people and their big people. Because it took me the best part of four decades to anywhere near fully realise how powerful I am, how special I am. Now imagine if our children didn’t have to wait half or all of their lifetimes to figure out how to connect to their inner magic?
Based on a guided meditation for children that Jodi Sykes used in her own pre-school classroom, it’s easy to envisage it being digested in this way.
The simplistic yet endearing imagery, equal parts cute and joyously light-hearted, means this book also works well for children to read along with the help of an adult (or for older children to read to themselves). In our house it is a bedtime book for now – tucked up snug under wee boy blankets is the only hope I have of “Miss Jodi’s” words not being wrestled from me by his boisterous young toddler enthusiasm …and because I love the idea of my son going to sleep at night with the echo of these powerful words of truth: I AM SPECIAL – THE POWER IS IN ME! If one can't afford this donation, please share what you can or bring a favorite dish to share. At the highest end of this scale of human experienceA [masked]) are qualities that transcend duality.
Since the early 1990s, interest in the use of labyrinths as a meditation or prayer practice has spread, creating a labyrinth community among those who feel a divine calling to bring the labyrinth to others. The Labyrinth Society, one of two national labyrinth organizations, defines a labyrinth as "a single path or unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation" (2006). Today in the United States, labyrinths are located in sacred settings, including churches and synagogues, and secular settings such as hospitals, hospices, schools, prisons, and parks.
To examine narratives about the labyrinth, I draw upon interviews of six labyrinth facilitators in Baton Rouge and the Reverend Lauren Artress, and e-mail communications with labyrinth facilitators who participate in the Veriditas Facilitators Network. Each individual in the labyrinth community creates a personal belief system about the labyrinth, drawing upon diverse sources including books, websites, education, spiritual beliefs, and personal experiences. Members of the labyrinth community participate in many ways, including designing, building, facilitating, and using it as a personal tool. The facilitator accepts responsibility for those in the space during the event, but does not guarantee that a transformational experience will happen. To become a member of this community, one must acquire basic knowledge that includes jargon, history, and oral tradition. Examining their narratives reveals how the labyrinth facilitators draw upon their diverse spiritual orientations to create the emerging belief system blending Christian and New Age beliefs with Jungian theory.
Because labyrinths have primarily been located in churches, they are generally presented as a practice for spiritual healing. On the local level, labyrinth facilitators are likely to be just as diverse in their spiritual orientation and influences.
As a group, the Baton Rouge labyrinth facilitators illustrate the spiritual diversity within the larger labyrinth community and the emerging disparate beliefs about the labyrinth. Most labyrinth facilitators work in isolation or pairs and don't interact with other labyrinth facilitators except when planning or producing walks. Motivated by a desire to facilitate societal change, Margaret expresses beliefs common in the larger movement and articulates them in ways most often presented to the general public.
I work with labyrinths because I see them as powerful tools for effecting systemic changes in the culture. Margaret is committed to bringing labyrinths to the general public and beyond church communities. Daria learned to build labyrinths for temporary installations and is particularly fond of the Chakra Vyuha labyrinth from India. When Cherri Johnson became spiritual formation director of her United Methodist Church in 2003, she began a labyrinth program for the congregation. Even when I've seen people who have carried much of their grief and pain into the labyrinth and have experienced some of that pain on the labyrinth, they will still say it was a very important experience for them.
Michele Fry and John Nagle are labyrinth facilitators and builders who maintain a seventy-foot turf labyrinth in the Chartres design in their front yard that they offer to the public as a community service. Tending our labyrinth has that quality like you are an altar boy or an altar girl; that you are out there tending a temple. Whenever I step over the outer edge into it for whatever maintenance I'm doing, I have that feeling of reverence, like I am in another dimension. When the Baton Rouge Labyrinth Project began, Michele and John supported the project by teaching others to build labyrinths.
Michele and John practice an earth-centered spirituality, but they intentionally include no symbols in the labyrinth area so that people can interpret it as they wish.
To me, the space springs forth like an energetic, protective bubble when someone enters and collapses when they leave. Several church and synagogue groups in town walked Michele and John's labyrinth and then decided to work towards building their own. I used to be like: "Why would you want to go to the trouble to build your own labyrinth when we've done the work for you?
To date, none of these groups have completed building their own labyrinth, but several continue to work towards it. Coming from a contemplative Catholic tradition, Anne Bigger, an artist and art therapist, was drawn to the labyrinth after being introduced to it in the early 1990s through the art therapy association. Most labyrinth work is focused on helping the individual by encouraging people to consider the walk as a metaphor of one's life—a tool for introspection.
Stories about the transformational power of the labyrinth usually involve a serendipitous experience and more likely concern a spiritual or emotional healing rather than a physical one. A woman came in to walk the labyrinth whose child had been killed the year before in a car accident and she had not stepped foot on the church ground in a year. None of these people had ever walked a labyrinth before or had attended the orientation that Saizan had provided (Saizan 2005).
Concerning the healing power of the labyrinth, Daria says, "I don't think you will go into the labyrinth and heal your cancer. When asked whether she is ever concerned about how people will react to these powerful experiences, Margaret said that she didn't need to worry.
Our church is traditionally one of evangelism and service, both to the community and to one another. In this situation, Christian symbology helps the cause by assuring congregants that the labyrinth is not pagan or New Age.
In secular settings open to the public, walkers often include people with no prior experience of labyrinths and no expectations of a spiritual experience. Stories such as these are seen as proof that the labyrinth has a healing, transformative power. Another facilitator relates how she received her calling during her first labyrinth walk and came to see her role as a healer.
At that time, I was struggling with bewilderment and confusion concerning my true calling in this life. Because the labyrinth is an embodied prayer and a whole brain activity, labyrinth facilitators believe that it helps connect the mind and body and, therefore, healing. I was having people trace the labyrinth before they got on the table, placing the labyrinth under the table, and drawing the symbols over them.
Wherever the power is from, the narratives about transcendent experiences are told as proof that the labyrinth either has a power or enables one to tap into a power, proof that something is actually happening that is not merely coincidence. As I walked, the music came to a part where there was a sound of mighty rushing wind and I felt the presence of angels as they "whooshed" around the room. The labyrinth facilitators persist in their calling despite limited resources and support just like others with ministries. As might be expected, everyone does not have such powerful experiences every time they walk.
The labyrinth facilitators are dedicated to their calling and committed to exploring the full potential of the labyrinth's power.
I would like to acknowledge the contributions of Margaret Saizan, who closely collaborated with me on this research from its inception.
Maida Owens is director of the Louisiana Folklife Program within the Louisiana Division of the Arts.
Vatican's chief exorcist has claimed that practicing yoga and reading 'Harry Potter' brings evil. To know that – just like you, and the person next to you – I am blessed, and always have been, with everything I could ever possibly need or want to be my most fabulous authentic rockin’ self.
All we have to do most times is to get out of our own way, quieten our distracted ego-ridden worrying frantically busy head, and just simply be, for it to flow. But not just in classrooms – after all, kids of all ages can surely practice their human ‘being’ skills anywhere! Not quite the same as meditation per se, but still delightfully calming just being in the moment in one way or another. Humans experiencing life at these levels feel that they are the source of their lives-they create effects in the physical universe.
Hawkins' second book on the topic of consciousness,The Eye of the I, he discusses how human consciousness can evolve to a level of consciousness of 600, and beyond-into the realms of the mystic and sage. They are motivated by their belief that the labyrinth has a transformative, healing power for those who walk the labyrinth. On the surface, walking a labyrinth is quite simple: The walker follows a winding path to the center, turns around, and walks out. Generally, facilitators feel spiritually called to work with labyrinths by a higher power, but they articulate their call and their beliefs about the labyrinth according to their own faith and beliefs. Jargon includes the parts of a labyrinth, especially circuit (a circle around the center) and labyr (a double-ax symbol formed where two 180-degree turns meet). Usually involving a serendipitous experience, the stories often center on healing relationships. Progressive, mainstream Christian churches often embrace a labyrinth ministry in an effort to return to mysticism or introduce a contemplative tradition.
Lauren Artress, Canon of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco and a Transpersonal psychotherapist.
They come together through The Labyrinth Society's annual meeting, in which Artress also participates. In south Louisiana in 2006, the labyrinth community, in addition to those who use the labyrinth as a personal tool, is made up of about forty-five facilitators or enthusiasts who include Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, Unitarians, New Agers, Neo-Pagans, Wiccans, and followers of Unity.
Margaret Saizan and Daria Woodside work with me on the Baton Rouge Labyrinth Project, an initiative to get labyrinths built in public spaces. As with any ministry, the facilitators need support and seek to connect with others with similar concerns.
She agrees with Artress' vision of mainstreaming labyrinths into the broader culture in non-sacred arenas such as hospitals, parks, and prisons. She also has a unique, twenty-four foot canvas labyrinth she calls the Blue Lotus because of the lotus petal design incorporated into the perimeter and center. Cherri holds labyrinth walks during the seasons of Advent and Lent for "all who want to draw closer to God." This scheduling is the most typical pattern for Christian churches, but some offer more frequent walks. Whether it's joy or sorrow, the labyrinth seems to bring its own healing language to our lives and to what we are dealing with in the moment.
This husband and wife team also see themselves as healers, but their ministry is different than the other facilitators because a large portion of their time is focused on tending a physical space.
And that paradigm for me is tolerance, especially tolerance of all religious beliefs, and recognition that God speaks to different people in different ways in different voices and all of God's ways are valid, and who am I to question how God manifests, or doesn't manifest, to any other person.
You're not going to walk it every day, so if everyone has their own, every labyrinth is going to sit there unused and overgrown and waste a lot of resources, and keep us all separated instead of coming together." But I've learned that the experience of building a labyrinth, the process of thinking through the geometry, raising the money, doing the physical labor, holding the meetings, working with a group towards the goal, is highly medicinal in itself.
As a result, she and her husband have made pilgrimages to Chartres Cathedral twice with Artress and have participated in several retreats in the region. For example, John said that he apologized to one lady who came to walk their labyrinth because there were ant hills in it. A cranky, nervous woman complained "It was a moonless night and I could hardly see the path. Since the facilitator's primary responsibility is to hold the space, they feel responsible for caring for them. While Cherri describes her message about the labyrinth as "hinging on the grace of God through Jesus Christ," other Christian labyrinth facilitators do subscribe to a more New Age approach. They often walk with virtually no orientation even though facilitators and information are available. The most intense time is during an actual labyrinth walk, but labyrinth facilitators see their role as an ongoing responsibilitya€“a ministry. Every person I've met from my [Veriditas facilitator] training in Sedona, to the people who went to Chartres, to the people I've met through The Labyrinth Society, to the folks in the Baton Rouge community. Daria is one of many labyrinth facilitators who have training in other complementary healing modalities and apply that knowledge to the labyrinth. And the quality of the work and what happened, the level of energy of the work was a quality I've not repeated. Some consistently say that the labyrinth enables one to come in contact with God, but others are just as likely to refer to the power as the Mother, the Goddess, the Divine Feminine, or the Source. For some, there are no coincidences in sacred spaces for enlightened, aware people who are awake.
Since facilitators don't want anyone to have a negative experience, they try not to raise unrealistic expectations and tell people that the labyrinth is simply a tool and that the experience depends on the walkers and their intentions. Generally working in isolation or small groups, they draw upon varied influences from popular sources such as books and the internet, and their own spiritual background, education, and personal experiences to create personal belief systems about the labyrinth.
Because their goal is to retrieve lost ancient knowledge while integrating scientific research, they constantly examine their personal experiences and reevaluate their beliefs. Artress' efforts were first labeled "The Labyrinth Movement" by a reporter in a New York Times article on May 12, 1998. Narratives by the labyrinth facilitators about their call to the labyrinth are similar to called-to-preach narratives documented by Elaine Lawless (1988). In some editions of her publication, Walking a Sacred Path, Artress invites people to walk labyrinths and be at the center for the turn of the Millennium at midnight December 31, 1999.

This article was originally published in the Louisiana Folklore Miscellany, Volume 18 in 2009.
November 27, 2011 - London Vatican's chief exorcist has claimed that practicing yoga and reading 'Harry Potter' brings evil. He went to graduate school at Boston College, became a social worker, got married, raised four children, got elected to the Clinton Board of Selectmen and over the past years, has watched three wars unfold on his television screen. Which is exactly where “Miss Jodi” Sykes, a former early childhood educator and the author of I am Special – The Power is in ME! Hawkins himself had a spontaneous awakening experience that rendered him into a bliss consciousness beyond "normal" reality. A diverse group, they come from different religious traditions, bringing different perspectives, skills, and experiences to the labyrinth community.
But, the labyrinth community believes it to be much more when used as a prayer walk or meditation. Installations can feature different patterns to walk and can be simply a path mowed into grass, painted on a portable canvas, or created with pavers or granite. I have participated in this community first as a labyrinth enthusiast and activist and more recently as a Veriditas-trained facilitator. Since the labyrinth belief system has these popular influences, it is a vernacular health system.
Some focus on ministering to a specific community such as church members, while others have a wider focus of promoting labyrinths to the general public and expanding their use to secular settings. Other jargon refers to the types of walks (individual and group, open and closed) and at least the two primary patterns, (seven-circuit, Chartres). More diverse beliefs are heard in the Society with New Agers, Neo-pagans, and dowsers in addition to mainstream Christians, addressing a broader range of issues. Michele Fry and John Nagle maintain a turf labyrinth in their front yard as a community service. Trained as a Veriditas facilitator in 2001, she initiated the Baton Rouge Labyrinth Project in 2003, when she approached me to help her make it happen. In addition to offering labyrinth retreats to groups, she provides labyrinth walks through the Volunteers of America's Spirit of Louisiana project to help hurricane relief workers in South Louisiana cope with job stress. Prior to this position, Cherri had been active in many other ways in the church and in labyrinth programs at other churches. To take our labyrinth experience and place it in the context of God, in the context of Christ walking with us, and finding the Christ within us, we are always moving toward a deeper, inner, divine faith.
For Cherri, space for the labyrinth has to be arranged in advance because of the many programs offered by her church. Until May 2008, their labyrinth was the only public permanent labyrinth in town and is often the first labyrinth to the community, John says, "Above and beyond what we get out of it ourselves, it's an opportunity to give something back to the community we live in.
We intentionally set up our labyrinth as a sacred neutral ground so that it holds no religious point of view.
So now we try to be included by doing consulting and help people as much as they want us to, so they can struggle to build their own as we did with ours. In 2005, they held their seventh annual outdoor New Year's Eve celebration in their labyrinth.
She uses the labyrinth as a personal tool, including using a wooden finger labyrinth which one uses by tracing a labyrinth with a finger. The labyrinth provides a venue for our mind to provide us the insights or intuition that we need for our healing.
She is introducing the labyrinth as a supplement to the contemplative movement within Methodism, which is new to her congregation.
The contemplative movement of prayer, silence, retreat, and the practice of the classic spiritual disciplines is beginning to take root in our church life. Many, especially those who work in church settings, refrain from expressing ideas that may not be perceived to be strictly Christian to their congregation.
On a more practical, day-to-day basis, Margaret says that "holding the space sounds like a€?not doing a thing.' But holding the space takes up a whole lot of energy, and your ability to do that well comes from years and years of consciousness work and spiritual practice" (2004d). At one point, Daria, a level-three Reiki Master, experimented with this in her practice and used a double finger labyrinth with her clients before sessions. In fact, it was as if someone else, an energy, came in and took over the treatment, and at one point I just sat and watched. Some believe that the energy comes from us, others believe it is from the earth and use dowsing to place the labyrinth, while others believe it is from both but ultimately from one source, God or a Higher Power. I heard Pachelbel's Canon as I walked (which wasn't playing) and I got another profound message, which I spent the next year pondering. They also assure people new to labyrinths that they themselves do not always have powerful experiences.
As the number of labyrinth facilitators increases, the influences within the labyrinth community grow as individuals draw upon their varied expertise and knowledge.
As a result, the belief system about the healing power of the labyrinth continues to evolve within this emerging community. Holy Women, Wholly Women: Sharing Ministries of Wholeness Through Life Stories and Reciprocal Ethnography. Father Gabriel Amorth, who has carried out more than 70,000 exorcisms in the past 25 years after being appointed by the late Pope John Paul II, surprised delegates at a conference by revealing his dislike for yoga and 'Harry Potter'. Dziokonski, who was a Navy corpsman assigned to a Marine Corps rifle company in Vietnam and a recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat "V," considers himself a strong man, a self-described curmudgeon. He determined that the human experience can be placed on a scale that he labelled from 1 to 1000.
Hawkins reports that the great prophets of recorded human history (Jesus, Krishna, Buddha) all calibrate on this scale at 1000. Their commonality, which forms the basis of the community, is their belief in a higher power, that the labyrinth creates a liminal or sacred space in which one can interact with that higher power, and a passion to help others have such experiences.
Through planning community labyrinth events and attending walks planned by others, I noticed the importance of oral tradition to form the community and the beliefs as expressed through narratives. While some facilitators receive formal training and certification, I use the term facilitator to refer to anyone working in this capacity.
Some go on to learn about other patterns (Santa Rosa, three-circuit, Chakra Vyuha, Reims, Baltic, Ely, and more) and classifications of patterns (single mouth, double mouth, classical, Roman, Medieval).
It is not known how labyrinths were used or what people believed about them in different time periods. In secular contexts, less spiritual language is used, and the labyrinth's power to reduce stress is emphasized along with its role in mind-body healing. Even though labyrinths in the United States predate her efforts, she has deeply influenced beliefs about the labyrinth's powers. Society members also focus on more labyrinth patterns including those that predate Christianity, especially the Seven Circuit Classical [See Figure 2].
While the majority are middle- or upper-class, white women who are middle-age or older, it is difficult to otherwise generalize about this eclectic group. Cherri Johnson has a labyrinth ministry as spiritual formation director at a mainstream Protestant church. She participates in both the Veriditas Facilitators Network and The Labyrinth Society and has a portable canvas labyrinth with a thirty-six foot, painted Chartres design. She was trained through the Methodist Church conference center's labyrinth program and has conducted facilitator training for churches in other cities. They built the labyrinth in response to Artress' call for people to be walking labyrinths during the turn of the millennium, December 31, 1999.3 and have maintained it since as a pattern sculpted or cut into the grass. We like to visit other labyrinths and still very much like the idea of everyone supporting each other's efforts.
She became convinced of its value in healing people and has worked to introduce it to her church and the university where she teaches art. As Cherri says, "you honor that as a facilitator," but Cherri shares one time she made an exception. In addition, she says, "a few people were worried about it being a pre-Christian symbol and questioned me about its symbolism.
The labyrinth is a supplement, a tool that points us to the contemplative movement of prayer. They hope with time they will build a core group of supporters who have had strong personal experiences with the labyrinth so that they can someday reveal all the powers of the labyrinth, or as Cherri said from the Christian perspective, "strong personal experiences of prayer and healing with God via the path of the labyrinth" (2006a). But others, at least at times, seem to allude to the labyrinth having a power of its own, separate from God and not simply channeling the earth's energies. But the fact remains that transcendent experiences are not at all uncommon, which reinvigorates the facilitators to continue their ministry. Together they create a community as they seek out mutual support in their ministries and collaborate to expand awareness of this tool.
So when he found himself at the top of a mountain crying over a dead butterfly, he knew he needed help. At times their beliefs or faith backgrounds conflict, but individuals generally overlook differences and often collaborate towards the higher calling of spreading awareness of labyrinths as a form of meditation.
Despite their varied beliefs, members of the labyrinth community are devoted to an ecumenical spirit.
Labyrinth enthusiasts and facilitators freely adapt these concepts in response to their individual labyrinth experiences and for their spiritual beliefs and community.
One of the facilitator's primary responsibilities is to "hold the space" before, during, and after an event.
Labyrinths date from Neolithic Europe with a zenith during Medieval Europe, but whatever knowledge existed in the past has been lost.
In settings such as faith-based hospitals, both spiritual and scientific arguments are used. Her book, Walking the Sacred Path, has been instrumental in the spread of labyrinths since its publication in 1995 and has been read by virtually all in the labyrinth community. Found in European Neolithic rock art, this pattern is the earliest known labyrinth and dates from 2000 BCE Spain (Saward 2003: 49). Artist and art therapist Anne Bigger works to introduce a labyrinth at a university and a church. Relating transcendent experiences that the facilitators have witnessed reinvigorates labyrinth facilitators to continue their ministry. I feel the labyrinth is a tool that can help guide communities, the culture in a number of ways, help people find meaning, connect to spirit, make sense of their lives and work.
A "cradle" Methodist, she works in Christian churches, though she has facilitated a walk for a Jewish group. This requires a significant commitment of time and resources because they include the Chartres design's 112 lunations on the perimeter, but they feel that tending the labyrinth is a form of meditation because they are creating a sacred space.
All the things people accomplish when they walk a labyrinth, I also accomplish tending our labyrinth. Tending the labyrinth, which is why we call ourselves The Labyrinth Tenders, and holding events is one of the things that helps bind us together as a couple. She just says that it is a walking meditation, prayer, or reflective experience that promotes relaxation and healing. Since it has been used for thousands of years in our tradition, it has rich Christian symbolism. During the walk, I had the insight: "You are a healer," and I thought what the heck does that mean?! I'm not sure I felt any answers coming as to why I was there, but I knew this was something that I wanted to do again. As walkers report transcendent experiences and facilitators experiment with the dynamics of walking labyrinths, beliefs about the labyrinth as a healing tool will continue to evolve within the labyrinth community. Their motivation is to provide a way for people to connect with the supernatural with which they believe they can interact.
They may both seem innocuous but they both deal with magic and that leads to evil," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying. And he found relief and release in a yoga program designed specifically for war veterans called Yoga Warriors International. Humans experiencing life at these levels are trapped by life; they feel victimized by the effect of forces in the physical universe. Yet, Carl Jung calibrates at 540: he coined the term "collective consciousness" -- a concept that transcends conditioned mind, reason or quantifiability.
Unfortunately, their message was translated by followers with less enlightened viewpoints; this explains the Holy Wars, and the vengeful God of the Old Testament. It doesn't 'mean' anything; it is just startlingly that which it is, complete and total in and of itself.
Part of a worldwide labyrinth revival to raise spiritual consciousness and heal others by providing transformational experiences, they are participating in the latest of several labyrinth revivals in history.
Related to mazes, labyrinths are distinguished from them in that labyrinths have no loops, dead-ends, or forks. I examine not what individuals have learned through books or Internet, but rather what they actually do with the labyrinth, their personal beliefs about the labyrinth's healing power, and their emergent oral traditions that are passed down informally within the group. The "space" is created by the presence of a labyrinth and the intent of the facilitator to offer the space to a group.
Some in the labyrinth community are fond of saying that the ancients or Medieval monks didn't leave a user's manual and that they are working to rediscover lost knowledge that can help humanity today.
The Labyrinth Society (2006) says that "labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity," meaning that a labyrinth is a tool that accesses the intuitive, creative modes of thinking.
I interviewed her about her current ideas of the labyrinth's power because she trained many facilitators working in the United States, especially those based in churches.
After I interviewed Margaret Saizan, she posed some of my questions to the Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitators Network e-mail list, which prompted a lively discussion. Through my work with labyrinths I feel that I am participating in the creation of a new myth, and indeed a new society. Margaret's background is a blend of different Protestant traditions along with Catholicism and Judaism.

As prayer draws us closer to God there is a silent and profound connection and communion with Christ.
For Cherri, the only space large enough to accommodate it is the heavily programmed gymnasium. We want it to be a lens that just assists people to see what they need to see, rather than what we see or want others to see.
They are from many different religious and spiritual backgrounds, [but t]here is a spiritual consciousness among those who work with labyrinths, and I think that the majority of us are aware that we are involved in some kind of work that is healing, consciousness-raising, transformational. I wondered (and sometimes still do) how this exactly works, but I've learned I don't need to know that .
Those working beyond a faith community generally encourage walkers to interpret the experience themselves and do not impose their personal beliefs on others. All levels below 200 are described as "Force," and characterized by a weak kinesiologic response and are conducive to weakness. God is a direct awareness and experience, a realization, a revelation, and the absolute perfection of pure subjectivity. Many in the community feel this is especially timely because they believe that the labyrinth reemerges during times of confusion to reorder chaos.
This distinction is used by today's American labyrinth movement, but in Europe today, uni-cursal patterns are often referred to as mazes. Her influence on facilitators in Baton Rouge can be seen in their language and motivations. Actually, she has become so intrigued with my research, that she says she is researching the researcher. Influenced by New Age spirituality, the divine feminine, and Jungian psychology, she is involved with ecumenical efforts and is comfortable weaving in and out of different religious settings. I have seen hope, tears, release, acceptance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and joy all take place during a walk.
Other, smaller labyrinth patterns are available on canvas, but most churches prefer the Chartres design.
The labyrinth provides a framework to step out of everyday reality and enter a field which we may perceive to discover healing. She says, "If you talk to the people in a language that they can relate to, then they will enter it.
This reaction to the labyrinth is not uncommon, and some churches not familiar with contemplative traditions actively oppose the use of labyrinths on the grounds that the devil will have easier access to the person's mind. Their faith in the labyrinth is so strong that most believe that its power will eventually be proven by science and that it will help heal the breach between science and religion. Cimini, the founding director of Central Mass Yoga and Wellness in West Boylston, designed to alleviate the symptoms of combat stress or post-traumatic stress disorder. Beyond the modern American labyrinth movement, the term labyrinth is used to indicate both uni-cursal (labyrinth) and multi-cursal (maze) patterns. Labyrinth facilitator Margaret Saizan explains that she often refers to the transcendent as the numinousa€“where people are able to "make contact with a higher [power] . Some study sacred geometry because labyrinths were developed by cathedral master builders using mathematical and geometric principles. Many in the labyrinth community allude to accessing the right side of the brain and creating an internal balance generated by the rhythm of the walking and the mental state of no decision making. Artress sees walking the labyrinth as an embodied prayer that enables the body to come into consciousness.
Particularly self-aware of her calling and the role that it plays in her life, Margaret says she is "always thinking about labyrinthsa€“it's the nature of the call" (2004f). God is always present to us, but to see God's work of healing love in the moment is truly a cherished treasure. Many believe it to produce the most intense labyrinth experiences because of the symbolism embedded in it and because it has eleven circuits. I let her stay there for a very long time but when her cries became loud, I knew she was stuck.
The dominant influences on the belief system are Christianity, New Age spirituality, and Jungian theory. More recently, some draw on scientific studies of related fields and say that since walking the labyrinth requires focus, it is more appropriate to say that it is a whole brain activity that integrates the left and right brain. She emphasizes that walkers should find their own natural pace so that they can find their energy flow. All interviewed labyrinth facilitators reviewed the article before publication and provided clarifications and revisions. When Margaret and I announced the Baton Rouge Labyrinth Project a few months later, she became involved. But the number of circuits creates the space problem, because eleven circuits can't be made smaller without making the paths so narrow that they are hard to follow. I went over to her and knelt with her and asked if she needed companionship or someone to talk with. I know that if I can just get them [there] I know that the numinous will take over from there. But that is not the issue in Cherri's church, which is an established, large, mainstream, but progressive church.
I really can't explain it, but I feel that my consciousness was altered." He wasn't afraid, but he really got that something of import was happening for him. Despite my questioning, I did feel a sense of excitement and joy and reached a point along the path, where I almost felt as if I wanted to run right out of the labyrinth and start this brand new and exciting life of healing! I went into the room where the labyrinth was set up and the first thing was [that] my very favorite music was playing - kind of an unusual piece of music. It touched me that all these ordinary folks were having deep spiritual experiences and connections in the labyrinth.
While these are expressed differently by different facilitators, most would agree that the labyrinth offers a way to connect with the spiritual realm that does not require the person to subscribe or even be aware of the belief system. Speaking on the subject of People And Religion at a fringe event at the Umbria Film Festival in Terni, Father Amorth spoke of his distaste for JK Rowling's young wizard. One of their attractions to the labyrinth is that they feel it is highly accessible to new people because walking a labyrinth does not require rigorous study and the gentle walking movement does not require one to sit for long periods of time.
She also encourages walkers to pay attention to sensations, thoughts, and feelings while in the labyrinth and to use what happens in the labyrinth as a metaphor. I feel like he might not have had the language for it, but I think that he was experiencing the numinous.
I have wanted to do sacred work for a very long time, but I did not quite know what that meant or, in what direction I should go. This connection to the supernatural happens as a result of walking in a circuitous pattern that integrates the left and right sides of the brain, providing a whole brain experience. For this reason she doesn't proscribe activities for walkers since that would interfere with their opportunities for metaphors.
She brings a unique set of skills and knowledge to labyrinth work as a Reiki master, Unity chaplain, and former critical care nurse who has many certifications in allopathic and complementary healing modalities.
Although the seed was not yet sprouting, it had indeed been planted during that first labyrinth walk. In Harry Potter the Devil is at work in a cunning and crafty way, he is using his extraordinary powers of magic and evil," he said. Many in the labyrinth community are so convinced of the labyrinth's transformational powers that they support scientific efforts to link labyrinths to related research about stress reduction and the connection between healing and prayer or meditation.
Jungian influence is evident in this search for metaphors and the numinousa€“a Jungian term for an experience with the sacred.
She has also worked as a research assistant in a university center for complementary medicine.
There are no earth-shattering, life-threatening experiences going on here." Suddenly she came face to face with the fact that she was a very negative person, constantly making mountains out of molehills. She confirmed in our talk that she had had a healing experience, a deep communion with Christ and reconciliation with her sister. Facilitators believe that walking a labyrinth has a cumulative effect: The more people walk, the more they benefit, although every walk is different and not all walks are transformative experiences. Until that is accomplished, they present the labyrinth as a spiritual practice, meditation, or relaxation tool that slows the heart rate and quiets the mind. When we are focused on our call, what comes through us seems to be bigger than our normal, waking self" (2004g). As a result, Daria contributes a scientific research perspective as well as her personal experiences to the labyrinth healing belief system.
She realized, "This is how I ama€“manufacturing problems where there aren't any." And all of a sudden her false expectations just lifted off her shoulders and she felt absolutely joyous. For a moment, you turn your back on the mundane world and enter a space of greater possibilities which allows for healing, because of faith and expectations. So, in a secular setting, she insists that the labyrinth have no symbols or wordsa€“so that people meet the numinous on their own terms and not hers. Jungian influences include encouraging walkers to use the labyrinth walk as a metaphor of their life, to look for symbolism in images that come during the walk, or to find the meaning of dreams. He studies each and everyone of us and our tendencies towards good and evil and then he tempts us.
With PTSD, your emotions are ruled by what happened 20 or 30 years ago." Dziokonski originally took yoga to gain more flexibility. So when you begin to walk it one time and you come back a second time, the third time more strength and more clarity unfolds from it" (2005a). This approach is typical of most walks, especially those open to the public in secular spaces.
I was so moved that God has provided this wonderful tool for helping people experience Divinity, and I realized that in a small way I was helping to feed the sheep by offering up these labyrinth walks. Many facilitators consider the labyrinth an archetypal symbol that is universally meaningful, making this an appropriate tool for societal healing. As he practiced yoga, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were unfolding a world away, but were hitting close to home for Dziokonski. She continues to interact with the labyrinth, and her thinking about labyrinths continues to evolve.
And when they walked out, they walked out very reverentially, and then one little boy said to his dad, "It was like being in a church." And they asked if they could build one in their yard. I was to become a "keeper of the sacred places of pilgrimage." Stepping out in faith has since opened many doors and I know, without a doubt, that there is Divine guidance happening here. They believe that if enough people use the tool for personal healing, the entire world will benefit from this transformative tool. This is not the first time that the 85-year-old has raised eyebrows with his forthright views, as last year he had said that the ongoing child sex scandals rocking the Catholic Church were evidence that "the Devil was at work in the Vatican". At a retreat in 2005, she presented a more developed belief system about the labyrinth's form and its relationship to brain activity. Because it is a mandala or yantra, it affects different parts of your brain, and can lead to a whole brain experience. For the individual, most often the healing is spiritual or emotional, but since it is an embodied prayer that facilitates the mind-body connection, physical healings related to body stress and mental states are considered possible. The war was in our living room," Dziokonski said, recalling the firefights that were being broadcast on the nightly news. She has come to believe that how deeply one activates the right side of the brain, making it a whole brain activity, is related to the number of circuits and labyrs in a design and how narrow the path is.
While some labyrinth facilitators focus on ministering to specific communities, many feel called to a more global ministry of peppering the planet with labyrinths in both sacred and secular settings. She feels that scientific research will eventually prove the labyrinth's impact on the brain.
On a societal level, she says that the great value of the labyrinth is that it joins those focused on contemplative practices with those focused on social justice, thus joining the inner and outer worlds.
In fact, Dziokonski had asked her to teach a class at the Worcester Veterans Center, which fellow veterans later decided to continue. She is not alone in believing that the labyrinth reemerges during times of confusion and has reemerged at this time in history to order chaos (2005b). If the person has faith in the symbol or the person telling them about the symbol, then they are more likely to be healed.
Artress emphasizes Medieval labyrinth patterns, primarily the one found in Chartres Cathedral in France [See Figure 1], because it is an archetypal pattern that has been vetted by unknown generations of users and contains lost knowledge that can be rediscovered (2005b).
This is one of the most complex labyrinth patterns with eleven circuits and twenty-eight 180-degree turns. In addition, she is the co-author of a study that will appear in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, "The Effects of Sensory Enhanced Hatha Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel." The study was done by Maj. Jon Greuel, an Air Force instructor pilot, in Kirkuk, Iraq, from November 2008 to November 2009 in collaboration with Cimini. She is also working with Worcester State University to study the effect of the Yoga Warrior program on military students at the university. Zest Yoga and Fitness in Auburn is one of the local studios offering the Yoga Warriors class with a certified instructor.
Zest Yoga and Fitness in Auburn began offering a Yoga Warriors class in September, and is open to all veterans and active-duty military personnel. Dziokonski, who regularly attends a Thursday morning Yoga Warriors session, said yoga has returned to him a sense of calm, and has improved his sleep.
Many Vietnam veterans are enrolled in Yoga Warriors, and also some World War II veterans, and now Iraq War veterans.
Dziokonski and Cimini said the emotional impact the war has on returning veterans may not become evident until months or years later.

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