We announced the launching of our new VIA (Veriditas International Association of Professional Labyrinth Facilitators) in a previous eNews. We were hoping to have everything ready for an August launch, however, a variety of happenings have slowed us down. We are now planning an October launch. VIA will first be presented to Facilitators at the Veriditas Council meeting October 22nd in Los Angeles. Watch for the details on this important facilitator gathering with seminars on a variety of topics!
We then will then roll out VIA at each Facilitator Training for the next year.
Becoming a member of VIA will provide many benefits, but the one that we're very excited about is a public directory listing of members. This way folks from your community can find you off our website and you will have the chance to advertise you and your events in a searchable directory available to the public! Watch for more benefits to come!!!
The good news is that you can still register now for the Facilitator Subscription Program at $120 and be "grandmothered" in to VIA when it opens. This is a savings of 20%. Join us now as we grow our resources for facilitators!
All the best,
Kathe is a former association executive, teacher, trainer and conference presenter. Her interest in the labyrinth was inspired by a visit to Grace Cathedral in 2006. In 2011 she took the Facilitator Training in Chartres with Lauren Artress, and in 2016 at Chartres, will become a Veriditas Certified Advanced Facilitator. She chairs the Labyrinth Ministry Committee at Naples United Church of Christ in Naples, Florida where she is also a church Trustee. In addition to facilitating workshops and walks on the labyrinth, Kathe’s joy has been in facilitating the building of three Chartres style labyrinths, in Chatham, MA, Naples, FL, and on the campus of her alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University. This labyrinth, dedicated in 2015, is the third Veriditas Legacy Labyrinth, built in collaboration with labyrinth designer Robert Ferre and master builder Marty Kermeen.
The success of our auction is largely determined by the items we have available for bidding. Now is the time for crafters to craft, shoppers to shop, and for a general burst of creativity in support of our mission of inspiring personal and planetary change and renewal through the labyrinth experience. No item is too big or too small!
How do I donate?
Donating an item is easy! This year we are making it very simple – with a digital photo and a description of your item you can create and post your own listing directly on our auction website: www.biddingforgood.com/veriditas. If you prefer, we are pleased to offer assistance with the creation of your listing. Connect with Jenny Slama (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get started!
What could I donate?
We welcome all kinds of donations to our auction. Are you an artist who could donate their creations? Do you have a special skillset or expertise that could provide a service for someone? Would you consider donating an item to our auction?
Donation items include (but are certainly not limited to): labyrinth items, music, artwork, getaway vacations, services, books, unique products, jewelry, home & garden items, goods exclusive to your region of the nation – or the world! It’s wonderful to have a wide variety in both items and price range. (Please remember that part of your donation is being responsible for the shipping of your item to the winning bidder, and costs associated with that shipping.)
Share the excitement!
The more the merrier in this auction! You can help us get the word out by sharing our website (www.biddigforgood.com/veriditas) with anyone who might be interested in the auction items, someone who want to support our mission or those who might be interested in learning more about our organization!
Interested in sponsorship opportunities?
There are literally thousands of people who receive the information about our auction and are interested in the labyrinth. In addition to the recognition donors receive, another meaningful way to advertise is through our sponsorship opportunities. Contact Jenny Slama to learn more!
by Chris Katzenmeyer, Legacy Labyrinth Project Director
The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and Veriditas partnered in dedicating the Deerheart labyrinth on the Earthrise at IONS Retreat Center campus as an official Legacy Labyrinth. This is the fourth labyrinth in the legacy labyrinth linage. The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, Founder of Veriditas, Dr. Cassandra Vieten, President/CEO of IONS and Chris Katzenmeyer, Veriditas board member and Project Director of the Legacy Labyrinth Project along with 25 others consisting of Veriditas staff and board members past and present, people who built the first Legacy Labyrinth in Argentina, several members of the IONS community, and Debra Jonsson, IONS Retreat Center Director joined together in the interactive dedication.
Lauren Artress led a ritual of Intention while Judith Tripp, Veriditas board member, played flute. All in attendance participated in this Intention, and ceremonially linked all previous Legacy Labyrinths with the Deerheart using sacred materials from each, i.e. Argentine crystals, beach sand from Florida, etc.. Bay branches dipped in water were used by all in attendance to bless the labyrinth. The Deerheart labyrinth is now officially a Legacy Labyrinth joining the network of labyrinths dedicated to peace and healing around the world.
It was a powerful ceremony of intentional connectedness, grounded with the words shared by Cassandra and Chris of IONS founder, astronaut Edgar Mitchell after his epiphany in space when returning from the moon. “It’s all one thing, you, me, the Universe. Not separate….. it is all an overwhelming oneness and connectedness. We are all connected! I now know this to be true.”
The Legacy Labyrinth Project is a unique endeavor to create a network of interconnected labyrinths around the globe to promote peace and healing for communities and the planet. As you walk the path of a Legacy Labyrinth you are connecting with all others walking labyrinths around the world for peace and healing.
By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member
For our end-of-summer featured facilitator, I introduce Susan Kehoe from Ottawa Canada, whom I met at the April 30th Labyrinth Facilitator Renewal Day, offered by the Veriditas Council. We walked her beautiful mother of thyme labyrinth the following day.
Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?
Both /And. Before the labyrinth path, my intention was to create a walking meditation path in my rambling ’wild ‘ garden. Our home sits in the middle of the city on a double lot made of stone, heritage poppy plants, fir and maple trees, shrubs and, as I learned later on, a variety of medicinal herbs and lots of dandelions.
In 2005 I was three years into a long recovery from burn out. My paid work in palliative care chaplaincy (a precious good work I enjoyed), caring for 3 young children and a husband working in international development eventually tipped and landed me in mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion.
To create a walking path of stones placed around the garden was an idea in response to my daily companions - depression, fatigue and anxiety. Somehow I knew being outside with the birds, the squirrels, the bees and dragonflies - the Elements - was a necessary part of becoming well.
Some years later I would say the Labyrinth found me at home in my garden and continues to be my steady companion on life’s road.
What was the inspiration to create your beautiful thyme labyrinth?
‘Create the path by Walking’
I don’t recall where or how I came to know about labyrinths, but in the spring of 2005 my good friend Catherine said, “Why don’t we try something called a labyrinth?” A somewhat flat space of approximately 28x28 was available in the dandelion patch. We set about with readily available materials – bricks, lawn cloth and $100 worth of creeping mother of thyme from the farmers market. I have never needed to buy more as each year it has grown enough to keep transplanting, thus the ‘fields’ are low growing thyme with some sedum and other types of cooking thyme. The path is natural cedar mulch and pine needles that I collect when neighbors put out their recycle bags of yard debris. A delight one year was to notice a small pine tree growing out of the composted material. I have since transplanted it and it is now a foot tall.
Please share how you maintain it and how you offer it to the community.
‘Let the soul be fed for Earthsakes!’
Thyme, and perhaps we can say ‘mother of thyme,’ is very forgiving. Through drought conditions or torrential rains, it does very well. Each Spring I hire a young student to cut back the fields of thyme and replenish the mulch. In past Autumns I have planted crocus and other early miniature bulbs which are the first ones up after the winter snows. The thyme flowers purple by the Summer Solstice and the sedum blossoms yellow.
Earth Day April 22nd is the first Open Labyrinth Garden I host. Here in Ottawa, Spring is just beginning and for my earth labyrinth, this is her feast day. Friends, family, young people from the nearby high school, and little ones from the neighborhood drop by. In the early years I would offer more formal ritual, but as years went by I discovered a simple welcoming invitation to walk a garden labyrinth garnered feedback of how calming and peaceful it was to just be in the garden. This has taught and shown me, over and over again, the profound and innate caring always present in our beloved Earth. My job is guardian and caretaker of this particular garden and labyrinth. Besides Earth Day, I offer the labyrinth for Winter and Summer Solstice and whenever a small group asks to come to walk. A number of church groups come as part of their enrichment programs. Once again, yes, I am the facilitator, the one who prepares and holds the space, yet it is the labyrinth that does the teaching, the holding, the receiving and the giving.
In the center of the garden labyrinth are stones from all over the world. People bring me stones; I collect stones from the various places my husband and I have travelled. In the centre of the labyrinth is the whole world.
How did you first encounter Veriditas?
When my labyrinth friends Grace and Deb invited Lauren Artress to the Ottawa area in 2010, my more formal education and experience of Labyrinth began to expand beyond my garden. And though I am very partial and prefer outdoor living labyrinths, I came to appreciate and experience labyrinths of all kinds. I discovered what I had previously only read about – the wisdom embedded in an ancient pattern. Whether in church marble or tile, in veterans homes, in hospitals floors, on canvas, in prisons…..
Of the many rich resources the Veriditas community offers, it is the Global Healing Response initiative I am drawn to use. It is very resonant with the intercessory prayer that is part and parcel of my Contemplative path practice. The walking meditation in my earth labyrinth is balance to the sitting meditation (Centering prayer) I try to do and be each day.
Essentially that is what I can offer to others who come either here or to the church or other labyrinths. What I have discovered is - that is enough! for me and for many others. To pause, to slow down, to walk with intention, less is more. I will soon enter my 60th year, retired from formal work and now volunteer to lead and hold mindfulness meditation. The labyrinth dovetails very well with the wisdom of mindfulness, and I am beginning to find many new variations on the theme of – Create the path by walking! The labyrinth path is an integral part of my life path, accompanying me into deeper compassion, gratitude and love.
Please tell us about Path Adventures and your role as one of the founders.
We are three friends, soul friends, dream friends and out of that rich relationship, we look after and facilitate 1st Friday labyrinth walks at St. Lukes, a local church in the Centertown of Ottawa. It all flows quite smoothly: we have got the lighting of 128 candles down to a fine art and take turns arranging for musicians, preparing the Center, and leading the walks. The path adventures community, the three of us, and other friends make up my labyrinth community at present. www.pathadventures.com
What do you consider your greatest challenge in working with the labyrinth?
If it can be called a challenge, then it is my tendency to underestimate the profound depth of healing and care that lives in the field of energy contained in a labyrinth. In addition it is an awareness that reminds me to both hold lightly and grow into a deeper respect and honoring of the ‘walkers’ who come. Some come with heavy hearts, with joys, and with thank you. Whatever they bring, the labyrinth receives. My task is to witness and to hold the space for the inner work to be done. I am pleasantly surprised and deeply humbled every time, and so, I am reminded and nudged along towards my own transformation.
Please share a profound experience of your own or someone else in the labyrinth
Many profound experiences over the years. One that was a bit more dramatic occurred this past week with a house guest. After meeting my husband a few months ago, she came all the way from Germany on the proverbial invitation: “if you ever come to …… please look us up – “ and she did! And not just for a day or so but for a whole week!
We had a sense that she was a spiritual seeker, so we settled into a round of tourist stuff and long chats over breakfast. However, it was the labyrinth that drew her outside many times over the week although she had never heard of labyrinths and was very curious upon hearing about them. Barefoot, in the early morning, in the heat of the day and candlelit at night. Over the course of that week, the labyrinth invited her in with her pains and concerns, held her, and led her to let go of a long-standing childhood wound, freeing her with resolve, forgiveness, openness and compassion for her life and those in her life.
We have accompanied many over the years in a similar process that can take many months. What I witnessed with this visitor was an intensive healing process inside of a week and with the labyrinth as the healing container. And as I do each time I enter and leave the labyrinth, I bow and touch Earth with deep gratitude
St. Luke’s labyrinth
I am deeply inspired by the way of Celtic prayer and, in particular, the Irish poet John O’Donohue and his book of blessings, titled ‘To Bless the Space Between Us.’ His poetry inspired the following that I offered as part of the opening of St. Luke’s labyrinth:
Let us bless the Space between us:
This beautiful church space, the space of the labyrinth that invites pilgrims, seekers, to walk in silence with each other.
Let us bless all who will come to walk, for those who will hold the space for others as they bring their concerns and worries, their intentions and the names of those they love.
Let us bless the space between us, above and below, to the side and behind.
May we receive abundant blessings and extend gratitude.
May our words of benediction go deep, far and wide.
May our words of benediction, spoken and unspoken, bless the space between us.
We are filled with gratitude. Amen!
When did you first encounter the labyrinth?
In 1999 I made a trip to San Francisco with some friends. We went up to the Grace Cathedral grounds and saw the outside labyrinth. I really didn’t know anything about it. There was someone walking it, stopping at the turns and getting on his knees and praying and I didn’t have any idea what he was doing or if that is what you are supposed to do. In that same year, a few months later I went to Chartres with a group from the University of Nebraska. We were touring all over France and spent only two hours at Chartres. The first time I saw the labyrinth there the chairs were on top. I wanted to know more about it and kind of haunted the gift shop for things to teach me about this labyrinth. I didn’t know anything about the labyrinth really. So that kind of started it. I had been working on my Master’s degree in Art Education and I was really interested in mandalas. The word “mandala” brought me to a lot of different places. I liked the idea that a labyrinth was a giant mandala that you could walk. You don’t just have to draw one or paint one, it doesn’t need to be little. Your whole body can be involved. So I think my interest was piqued. Then I personally put my feet on those two labyrinths in 1999 and that’s when it all started.
How did you first get involved with Veriditas and Lauren?
I had a friend here in Kearney named Marcy. She built a cretin labyrinth in her yard. She also didn’t know too much about it. She’d seen an art installation and though it would be a cool thing to put in her yard. We had a mutual friend, Lisa Hilliard who was facilitating labyrinth walks in Kearney. She started inviting us to events. In August of 2001 Lisa gifted me with the experience of going to the Golden Door for Lauren’s events there. I think that’s the first time I met Lauren. It was such a wonderful opportunity to have a whole week with Lauren doing all these labyrinth experiences… the small groups and walks and everything that happens. Over the years I feel that our friendship grew because I have done so many other things with her. Because of Lisa and her relationship with Lauren I went to the Golden Door twice, the next time in 2003. Lauren has been to Kearney twice to give facilitator trainings. Lisa set them up, getting people to sign up. When Lauren was in Kearney she blessed every labyrinth we have in town, which is quite a few!
Would you share a story or experience or two of the Labyrinth?
My husband went with me to the Chartres Pilgrimage in 2009, which was wonderful. I remember how special the candlelit walk was down in the crypt in the Mary Chapel, making our way up to the labyrinth. The musicians who were there and the feeling of the drumbeat, the heartbeat and my heartbeat. I kept getting the message to “Listen to my heart, listen to my heart.” That was a powerful experience for me, listening to the drumbeat that was matching my heartbeat. It really felt like a Divine message for me to pay attention, to “listen”. It was a very memorable experience that made me feel very attached to Veriditas.
One of my favorite experiences was at the full size Chartres labyrinth that was installed a few years ago at Yanney Park in Kearney. It’s a public park. Lisa, Lorna, Marcy and I wanted a permanent Chartres labyrinth for the community and we were on a committee to design it and work with the city to get it going. Robert Ferre and John Ritter came out and actually built it. I have facilitated many walks there and would walk it a lot myself. This particular time I was feeling really agitated. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on in my life. I thought that I needed to walk that labyrinth……So I drove up and walked out to it. First, there was an elderly gentleman and a toddler. I really wanted it all to myself. So I’m watching them and then a parent with a special needs child in a stroller comes. I had to remind myself to be patient because I wanted to have that labyrinth to myself. Then they were finally all leaving and I thought “Great, this is great.” And then these two little boys, 6 or 7, come running down the hill, screaming around the sidewalk onto the labyrinth and one of them yells “Let’s be dirt bikes!” And they are just ripping around it. At that point I just start laughing to myself because I thought they know what they are doing here. This is really cool. It was such a message to me to let it be, let it go, slow down and just enjoy. Look at all these different groups of people that are out, enjoying this labyrinth in the park, even though they don’t know anything about what the labyrinth is. And these kids just want to be dirt bikes. That was a lot of fun. It really sticks with me because it’s a reminder of what the labyrinth is: just let go, let it be.
Why do you donate to Veriditas?
A lot of it is because of my immediate community and the Chartres labyrinth that we now have at Yanney Park. Because so much of the community has no idea what that thing is out there, I feel a sense of responsibility to educate and to continue facilitating walks out there. Little ripples go out if people begin to understand what it’s about and that it’s nothing to be frightened about; it’s not sacrilegious and it’s a lovely thing to have in a park that the whole community can use. So there’s that sense of duty or responsibility to my community. There’s also a sense of gratitude to Lauren and the others who have worked to create this community of labyrinth awareness and facilitators. I still facilitate and educate. It honors my relationships with my friends and my teachers and my co-facilitators. Respecting them and carrying on the work is important to me. Being a Sustaining Giver is more convenient for me. It is easier to have it coming out of my credit card each month. I don’t have to worry about wring a check.
iSpiritual is offering a 20% permanent discount for Veriditas effective July 1st.
Simply enter veriditas20.
The discount applies to everything on their site. Click here to shop.
The Global Healing Response, founded in 2005 by Council member Ellen Bintz Meuch, offers an annual theme and quarterly ideas and information to enrich labyrinth walks.
The GHR theme for 2016 is Stability
"The world is beautiful outside where there is stability inside." -Unknown.
“It does not matter how slowly you go
Picture/symbol: Mountain (Photo by The Rev. Warren Lynn)
"Little Miracles" is produced by Linda Mikell. Each month she shares an inspirational story from a labyrinth experience that is sent to her by a facilitator. She welcomes YOUR story. I'm sure you're got one, and we all benefit from this sharing. Thank you, Linda!
Please send your story to Linda Mikell at email@example.com
Booklets are available online for
$10 each plus shipping.
Proceeds benefit the Veriditas scholarship fund.