February 2014 




The Second Annual Veriditas Community Gathering

February 7-9, 2014
By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council member


(Photo by Lars Howlett: www.discoverlabyrinths.com)

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival….”


~ From The Guest House by Jalaluddin Rumi

Fifty-four people responded to the call of the labyrinth community and attended the Second Annual Veriditas Community Gathering in Petaluma, California. We arrived from eight regions to the Veriditas home base at IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) EarthRise Retreat Center. Forty-two facilitators sought renewed connections, and twelve others took a next step with their interest in labyrinths, along with Veriditas Board and Council. Long-sought rain arrived too to welcome and cleanse us.

The West Room changed from a quiet room with known and unknown faces into energetic interaction as a fun icebreaker brought us to our feet. Distinguished silver and black Veriditas coffee mugs went home with the winners, and all of us knew each other better. 

Judith Tripp, a Veriditas Board and Council member, offered the weekend’s rituals and opened by inviting us to imagine the connections between all the labyrinths of the world through the great roots deep into the ground. Our roots, the labyrinths’ roots, and the thirsty roots of the northern California trees found nourishment and inspiration. As the opening labyrinth experience, the entire group walked the 36’ Chartres-design labyrinth and realized the impact of more than 50 walkers on a labyrinth at one time. I met Carol Howard-Wooton, my Facilitator Spotlight interviewee for the January eNews, for the first time.



This spacious West Room became our home base. On Friday afternoon we gathered for the keynote presentation by our founder, the Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress who spoke in her motivating, challenging and authentic way on “Living the Symbolic Life: The Labyrinth as Organizing Principle.” The schedule was filled with guided writing exercises on personal labyrinth experience and pilgrimages;

 
reports from Veriditas staff, Board of Directors, and Council; small group discussions on the Body of Knowledge /Wisdom in our labyrinth experiences and potential next steps and options for Veriditas; and an experiential SoulCollage workshop, facilitated by Catherine Anderson.

Along one edge of West Room were large tables inviting our curious, supportive eyes. The Veriditas
table offered labyrinth products and a chance to meet Veriditas staff with whom we had only spoken on the phone. The Council table held a Facilitator display board showing activities of facilitators worldwide and maps of the Regions and labyrinths, as well as notebooks on Global Healing Response and Little Miracles On the Path. Color photos depicted the building of the Deer Heart Labyrinth at IONS; a walk as a tribute to Nelson Mandela; regional facilitator luncheons held in conjunction with the bi-annual Council meetings, and an outdoor wedding ceremony on a labyrinth made of hay in Hungary.

A Silent Auction table was set up with more than 60 objects offered in the Silent Auction to benefit the Melissa Postnikoff Community Outreach Scholarship Fund. Melissa was a respected and loved member of both the Board and Council who died after a long bout with cancer. Past and current Council members offered labyrinth-related items for sale, including Ellen Bintz Meuch’s three felt Chartres Grail containers, bookmarks, labyrinth photo and art cards; an altar cloth, jewelry, and books and tapes. The grand total of $1115.00 will assist three people in underserved populations to be able to attend facilitator training.

Lars Howlett offered his first hand-painted labyrinth for its premiere walk on this occasion. He created an extended 11-circuit Classic design with a compelling circle to step into at several places along the path. My pre-breakfast walk of this new labyrinth offered me precious time for quiet and grounding. 

(Photo by Lars Howlett: www.discoverlabyrinths.com)

And the rain continued to fall. The downpours inspired camaraderie and goodwill as willing drivers filled their vehicles with hungry participants for the shuttle up the quarter-mile stretch to the Community Dining Hall. Delicious organic, healthy food welcomed us for all three meals. Eating at the round tables became our primary time to talk with each other, reconnect with fellow travelers, meet new people, and share ideas and plans. Saturday afternoon Lars reported that the Deer Heart Labyrinth was under water and unwalkable. I had so looked forward to experiencing this fabled labyrinth surrounded by the beauty of this hilltop. Another visit, another Gathering.

Suddenly, the closing labyrinth walk and ritual were before us. Judith spoke again about our roots and the labyrinths’ roots connecting. The nourishing rain brought the metaphor to life. We had connected here in community, and hopefully that will continue in our regions and pilgrimages. As Lauren said, “It’s safe to say. We’re on a spiritual path.” 

“The end of the journey through the labyrinth is not at the center, as is commonly supposed, but back at the threshold again: the beginning is also the real end. That is the home to which you return from the pilgrimage, the adventure.”  

Rebecca Solnit

Donor Spotlight

by Rita Canning, Development Coordinator

This month Lee Matthew has graciously agreed to be interviewed for this column. Lee is a Veriditas Board member, Certified Facilitator, donor, author of the beautiful book “Veriditas: Pilgrimage to Chartres” and creator of the complementary video DVD.

Rita: When did you first encounter the labyrinth?

Lee:
In the early 1970’s I was in graduate school in Paris. We didn’t have a lot of time or money to travel, but Chartres was only an hour away. I was aware of the labyrinth there, but at that time it was always hidden under chairs. They never uncovered it for walking the way they do today. But I was able to buy an 8x10 photograph of this labyrinth that I couldn’t see, and I framed it. That image hung on my wall, wherever I lived, for many years. But I never actually walked a labyrinth until sometime around 1998. I was visiting San Francisco, and happened to be at Grace Cathedral when there was a Grace After Hours event. The cathedral was candlelit, the labyrinth was open, and there was beautiful music. That was my first labyrinth walk, and it was an amazing experience - so amazing that on my visits to San Francisco every year I’d make a point of going to Grace to walk the labyrinths, both inside and outside.

Rita: How did you get involved with Veriditas?

Lee:
In December of 2008 I happened to be back in San Francisco. It was the first time since 1998 that there happened to be a Grace After Hours event when I was in the city. That evening Lauren was giving a talk. I went up to the cathedral, walked the labyrinth to beautiful music, then joined the group for Lauren’s talk. She gave a wonderful talk on nourishment on all levels, including spiritual nourishment, and tied the labyrinth experience into that. That evening was wonderful for me because I had read Lauren’s books by then and I was curious to meet the person who was bringing the labyrinth back into the modern world. And, of course, I was inspired by her experiences in Chartres. I would have never had the courage to move those chairs! So that evening was my first exposure to Veriditas. Based on Lauren’s talk I decided that the best way to spend my 61st birthday was to attend the Spiral of Transformation workshop with Lauren and Mary Hamilton in January 2009. That weekend completely blew my mind. I had been a Marion Woodman fan for quite a long time, and it was an amazing experience to put some of the Marion Woodman concepts and exercises together with the labyrinth experience. I had a very, very deep response to it. Based on that weekend, and a later chat with Lauren, I went to Chartres for the first time that May. The cycle featured Jeremy Taylor and dream work, which was wonderful because I’d been working with dreams for a long time. But the real reason I went all that way was to walk the Chartres labyrinth. It was an amazing experience -- going down into the crypt and walking the candlelit pathway up to the labyrinth. Afterwards I turned to a friend and said “I’ve been waiting for 35 years to do this”. Veriditas had offered me a way to 
 
realize my 35 year old dream to walk the labyrinth at Chartres. After that experience, I realized “how could I not get involved with Veriditas? How could I not donate?” It just kind of followed. Dawn talked to me about being on the board, and I met some of the people who turned out to be this amazing labyrinth family. What an opportunity.

Rita:
Would you talk about your inspiration for and work you have done with the labyrinth?

Lee:
My ongoing experience with the labyrinth is very rich. It has helped me to process grief and recover from cancer surgery. It’s also been there for me when I’ve been celebrating. The labyrinth experience doesn’t stop after your pilgrimage; it continues when you come home.I did the Facilitator Training in Chartres in 2010 and the year after that I led some walks in New Mexico. I led walks at several different churches, and I did a half-day retreat at an Episcopal Church. It was very satisfying to provide that opportunity for people to have their own labyrinth experience. At this point I’m finding the work that I’m doing on the Board and various committees is a really good fit for me and seems to be the best way that I can serve and support the work of Veriditas. 

Rita: Why do you donate?

Lee:
I have a commitment to give to Veriditas what is needed. For me the classic “time, talent and treasure” describes it. So I donate time, and I try to figure out things to do that fit my skill set, but treasure is a huge part of what Veriditas needs. We need money to keep the doors open, and I want those doors to stay open for myself and for other people. I’ve seen what the labyrinth can do for people, and I think that Veriditas provides labyrinth experiences in a unique and high quality way. I also know that “every dime and every dollar” I donate to Veriditas is put to good use. It’s never wasted, it’s used in the service of the labyrinth, so I’m very comfortable on that level. But we need more dimes, more dollars. So I do what I can. I think it’s very important to be a Sustaining Giver so that the organization has an even cash flow. It’s also very important to give additional donations. So I do what I can. 



Product Highlight from our Product Partner iSpiritual


   

Wooden Finger Labyrinth


Chartres Style 12" sq. wood Labyrinth available in light or dark wood. Has a hanger on the back.
iSpiritual purchases this labyrinth for customers seeking an inexpensive wood labyrinth.

Click here to order




Global Healing Response


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 2014 is Unity and the focus for this quarter is Consensus. The quote is by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” - If each of us could host or personally take the time for a GHR labyrinth walk, think of the unified healing energy we could create! The first quarter is posted on the website, www.globalhealingresponse.com. We encourage you to visit the site soon and often.
 

Little Miracles on the Path


Each month, Linda Mikell, secretary to the Veriditas Council and New England Regional Representative, emails a Little Miracles on the Path story to 439 facilitators who have signed up for them. Facilitators from all over the world send her stories about interesting, touching events that happen at their labyrinth walks. If you would like to receive these stories, please contact Linda (edlinmik@optonline.net). Please don’t forget to send your story when you have one. Little Miracles are archived on the Facilitators Portal of the Veriditas Website.


Calling Facilitators: Invitation to Apply for
Membership in the Veriditas Council


Please respond by May 1, 2014

Do you want to deepen your involvement with the labyrinth, Veriditas, and the community of facilitators?

The Mission of the Veriditas Council is to serve the labyrinth and the Facilitator community by strengthening connections and developing resources. Our Purpose is to develop and implement practical ways to support the work of Veriditas facilitators, and we work in cooperation and collaboration with the Veriditas Board and the larger labyrinth community. The Vision of the Veriditas Council is a strong, community-based, global network of labyrinth Facilitators, supporting the work of Veriditas.
  The Veriditas Council announces openings in the Council Circle and invites you to complete an application for membership in the Council. 

You will find the Application Form on the Facilitator Portal. Click on “Facilitator Portal” in the list on the left side of the Home page. Your username is your Email and then add your password. All applications for this current open period are to be submitted electronically by May 1, 2014. If you have questions about the application or the process, please contact the Council at the following address: Council@Veriditas.org



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Veriditas is dedicated to inspiring personal and planetary change and renewal through the labyrinth experience.

We accomplish our mission by training and supporting labyrinth facilitators around the world, and offering meaningful events that promote further understanding of the labyrinth as a tool for personal and community transformation. Our Vision is that the labyrinth experience guides us in developing the higher level of human awareness we need to thrive in the 21st century.

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