May 2015 




On May 25, 1995, articles of incorporation were signed in San Francisco
to create the non-profit organization called Veriditas.


A lot is happening to celebrate Veriditas' 20th Anniversary:


  • Anniversary Fundraising Campaign launched this month. Check your mail box for your opportunity to join the circle and celebrate Veriditas, or join the circle by donating $36 - $360 online today.

  • Celebrate Veriditas@20 by joining us for a very special event on August 14th and 15th in San Francisco. Sign up online.

  • The Certification Amnesty window will be opening up again on May 25th (our actual Birthday) through August 14th. We are again offering a window of time when Facilitators who have missed getting their certification materials in, can still submit an application without re-taking Facilitator Training as a refresher. Sign up online via the Facilitators Portal.

  • Announcing for one year only, an actual size Chartres canvas labyrinth will be offered by Paxworks. Call the office to order a 42 ft. canvas labyrinth, just like the one made to loan Chartres Cathedral while the stone labyrinth is covered by renovation.

  • Special anniversary items will be for sale in our silent auction - everything from the last labyrinth umbrella in stock to a special 12 ft. personal labyrinth that's been to Chartres and back. Watch for details to come.



Celebrating Our History: How it all Began

An Interview with Judith Tripp by Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member


This month I interviewed Judith Tripp as we continue to feature people who have contributed significantly to Veriditas over its first 20 years.  Judith participated in the first Women’s Dream Quest in 1987 and currently facilitates the Dream Quest wherever she is invited. She recently returned from a second Dream Quest
in Poland.



Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?


The first time that I heard about the labyrinth was on a radio show with Richard Feather Anderson.  I was on my way to my daughter's Waldorf school and immediately thought that it would be a fine addition to that program.  When Lauren mentioned bringing the labyrinth to the Quest program in a meeting in her living room, I was already enchanted.  


Can you tell us about those early beginnings of Dream Quest?


Prior to 1987, Lauren created QUEST as an outreach to people outside the Grace Cathedral community.  As an extension of that program, Lauren and Elaine Gilmore planned an overnight event at Grace Cathedral and invited many women from the larger community to join them.  I was part of the leadership of this circle from the beginning.  One hundred and twenty women attended that first Women’s Dream Quest (WDQ). I had an immediate sense that it would be a part of my life.  After three to four years, I took on the leadership of it. 


How did the labyrinth and Dream Quest meet?


In the sixth year of the Dream Quest, we used the canvas labyrinth as our “stage.”  Previously we had gathered around the font to begin our rituals.  It was a natural extension to step onto the labyrinth to create our circle to do our psycho-spiritual exercises and then to return later in the evening for individual labyrinth walks.  The labyrinth has been our centerpiece ever since.


What do you think is the strong draw of Dream Quest?


I believe it offers women a chance to return to the land of their souls.  Women are hungry for an opportunity to have time for their inner lives in community.  As we have continued through 28 years, many women return to the Quests in San Francisco, Virginia, Chicago, now in Poland, and soon in Australia as a yearly ritual of celebration of the Sacred Feminine. Some come through to themselves.  They have 17 hours to come into a new space and new consciousness to find their heart space and live there.  With six or seven leaders, musicians, and artists, they live in this community for the evening. 


What is your role in this?


I am the creator of the themes, meditations, meditative flute music, songs and psycho-spiritual exercises that set the stage for the Quest.  It is my job to call the circle, pay attention to the energy, train the small group leaders, and write about each years' cycle of Quests in blog posts and articles.  For example, this year's theme is “Dreaming the Mystery.”  I have already begun to dream of the meaning of this theme and to create practices and art projects that will support it.  The theme for the next year always comes to me in November.  I trust the synchronicity of the message.  


I am a facilitator who trusts in the sacred feminine style of leadership.  I am there to help participants discover their personal “land of the soul.”   My interaction has to do with understanding where each person is on his or her journey.   I believe strongly that this is what I am supposed to do in this world. 




What do you see as the connections between the labyrinth, Veriditas, and Dream Quest?


Veriditas is committed to training facilitators, and through this, people get inspiration to find their work.  I believe that Veriditas helps people to find their heartsong.  It is a way of connecting people all around the world, encouraging heightened awareness and consciousness.  Our work with Dream Quest is a complement to the work of the labyrinth, an outgrowth of the labyrinth.  Through personal action, I continue the gift of the labyrinth with my willingness to be honest and open.  

In 1993, Lauren was invited to bring the labyrinth to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. I was invited to help install the labyrinth in the transept and play the flute during the labyrinth walks that week.

You and your flute are well-known partners. Please tell us about your music background and the music you offer. 


I have been playing the flute since I was 13 years old, but I picked it up again in graduate school in the late 70s - 80s.  I also play the guitar in Dream Quest and would someday like to play the cello.  I primarily improvise when I play for labyrinth occasions by paying attention to the moment and responding.  I have a strong foundation in classical traditions and have also been influenced by East Indian (raga) and Native American music.   I enjoy jazz and its unconscious process. I use my silver flute most often with its versatility and have twenty bamboo and two Native American flutes.  Playing my flute is part of what I bring to the moment as an element to allow people to find what they are looking for.  I believe that all spirituality has entered into spiritual forms, and I consider music to be part of that mystery.   I love to sing although I have never studied it formally.



What are your observations about the evolution of Veriditas and your involvement over the last 20 years?


I have been there from the beginning with Veriditas.  
I see it evolving into a way of being in the world.  The name Veriditas means the greening power of God. I see Veriditas as part of loving, service-oriented activities that encourage growth and renewal without dogma.   I have been a part of the Council, the Board of Directors, and the Legacy Labyrinth.  My experiences in Argentina and Jacksonville with the legacy labyrinths strengthen my sense of a way of gathering that allows for a lot of love and connection. I see more and more legacy labyrinths as important portals of healing around the world.

So, you have been part of the Council since its beginning?


Yes. In March 2004, Lauren called for the first Council meeting, and forty people attended.  It was then called the Spider Plant Project.  Three current Council members were also present: Ellen Bintz Meuch, Jo Ann Mast, and Marge McCarthy (now Council Member Emeritus). The Council is an advisory group that loves the labyrinth and is dedicated to the evolution of Veriditas. I am currently the Council representative on the Board.


How has Chartres been important to you?


Chartres is the home of my heart.  I have had some of the most healing and profound mystical experiences of my life there.  In 2004 I spent 2 ½ months in a small apartment in back of the Grand Monarch, writing and living in the rhythm of the Cathedral.  The labyrinth brought me to Chartres, but the tradition of the Sacred Feminine throughout history, from the goddess to Mary, has kept me returning as a pilgrim.  I think that Chartres is truly the spiritual home of Veriditas. Everyone I know who has made the pilgrimage finds solace, inspiration, and deep love in the journey.


Do you consider yourself associated with any one religion or faith?


I am a mystic.  All paths of the heart draw me.  I am comfortable in the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the yoga asram, and the cathedral of nature.  I have studied mystical Judaism, Sufism, Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, and indigenous shamanic practices over my 41 years on the path.


What are your visions for your future?


I hope to continue offering Dream Quests, pilgrimages, and retreats all over the world while working with individuals in my psychotherapy practice.  I have been enjoying weekend and 4-day retreats where some of the practices of the Dream Quest can be deepened and the circle made stronger.  I am also interested in the global connections that are made between labyrinths and the communities that form around them. Each labyrinth is a path to the inner life and each person who walks has an immediate connection to his or her brothers and sisters who walk.  I love it when I can tell the women I just worked with in Poland that there are women around the world sharing the circle with them.  I believe the invisible threads that connect us bring healing.  



 


Donor Spotlight: Gary Petersen

by Rita Canning, Development Coordinator

In our continuing honoring of the 20th Anniversary of Veriditas, for May’s column I had the joy of interviewing Gary Peterson. As well as being a major donor, long time supporter and trained facilitator, Gary is a past Board Chair who brought his commitment and organizational development expertise to help steer Veriditas through a time of great change into the growing stability and expansion that we are experiencing today.



Rita:  When did you first get involved with the labyrinth and Veriditas?


Gary: I lived in the Bay area for many years down on the peninsula working with a group of folks who were exploring the idea of community building. In one of our meetings someone brought in the SF Chronicle article that talked about Lauren and the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral. So we all decided we should do a little field trip and go up there and walk the labyrinth. This was 1992 or 1993 before the permanent labyrinth. So we went up to Grace and walked it and had a really interesting experience. My experience was that something shifted and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Though I had a very strong sense of balance when I finished the walk, I couldn’t identify a very different feeling I was having. Six months later walking on the beach a light went off in my head – the experience that I had gotten from the labyrinth was a moment of peace. This was very interesting because then I had to start asking myself questions about why I was living my life in a way where I could experience a moment of peace and not recognize it for six months. And out of that came a very deep exploration of purpose and meaning. It was a very potent experience and it really began to change things in my life. 


After about a year of having my first experience I went back to Grace Cathedral around the time they were starting to use the tapestry labyrinth. And then the labyrinth just started showing up in my life. I decided I needed to go to Chartres Cathedral. (This is before Lauren started doing pilgrimages there.) I got a much greater understanding about Chartres through Joseph Campbell who spoke eloquently many times about Chartres Cathedral.


In 2001 I uprooted my life and moved 200 miles away to Nevada City.  As I was finding my way into the community I saw an article in the local paper about a woman who had just built a labyrinth. When I met her, she showed me a picture of the building of her labyrinth, in which I recognized two people who were with me at my first walk at Grace! That’s how I got reconnected to the labyrinth. 


In that same year, 2001, I made my first trip with Veriditas to Chartres. It was very wonderful. I was traveling alone and for me, it was very much a singular pilgrimage. The first time you get into the depths of Chartres Cathedral it’s very transformational. I was deeply attracted to the well and the chapel underground. I realized that, though I had been to the Cathedral on my own before, when I went back with Lauren I felt completely comfortable. When you step through the door into that Cathedral, it’s another place, a different place altogether. As Lauren describes it, it is a space within a space. When I went back I was also fascinated by the structure and the architecture of the Cathedral and the old town. It was profoundly moving for me. During this time I began to accept journey and pilgrimage as a metaphor for life. The labyrinth provided a context for me about the continuity of time and of life. I have always accepted the labyrinth as a portal, an entry point into interior spaces. I understand and have always understood the labyrinth as a classic sense of balance. The feminine and the masculine, the yin and the yang, the darkness and the light – all those natural balances we accept as humans. I hold that classic notion of all of us embodying all of it – the good and the evil, the light and the dark. The labyrinth is a place that supports recovery, understanding or arriving again at the balance. I always feel that when moving between the quadrants and the way it’s laid out that there’s a rhythm there. That’s always been extremely important for me.


Rita: I know that you are a former Board Chair. What inspired you to get more involved with Veriditas?


Gary: I have a very strong organizational development background. I’m fascinated with how we as human beings choose to organize to accomplish our work and for over 20 years I’ve had my own organizational development practice. The first time I met Lauren was when I went to Chartres and presented her with this organizational process diagram I drew of how I saw her laying out the week. With the small groups, she has a very therapeutic approach, which is her background. I showed her this map I had drawn of how the small groups should reconnect to the large groups to share the learning. This was the first time I had met her and I’m showing her this diagram! All I can say is she was as kind and patient with me as she is to so many others. After that I started paying attention to the organization of Veriditas. I did my facilitator training at Grace Cathedral, did some of the Urban retreats and learned about the organization through the people I was meeting. I was around in one period where the organization was going through a lot of change and the future appeared uncertain. I was invited to a couple of Board meetings by the Chair and started making a few suggestions. At the third board meeting I attended, the Chair said that she was glad I was there and that I was the new Chair! I was able to step in at a time when there was a need for my skills and leadership style. We did some strategic planning and working on broadening the work of Veriditas. We moved to the beautiful IONS property where we could have offices as well as hold workshops and retreats there. A labyrinth was constructed on a hill with a beautiful view. The Council, the Master Teachers, the expansion in programs all came out of that time. We sought to grow Veriditas more in alignment with who Veriditas was in relation to the labyrinth community that had grown up around Veriditas. I have always believed that no matter how difficult things sometimes have been with fundraising or organizational issues that  the labyrinth is always there to keep Veriditas going.

On a personal level for me I am very much a student and practitioner of leadership and my work with Veriditas has really allowed me the opportunity to push my edges on my leadership skills and development, particularly around collaborative models. In the work that I am doing now in the world I’m bringing people together who never talked or worked together before to address the issue of water that affects us all. How many times I’ve reflected back to the leadership lessons I learned from Veriditas about letting people be who they need to be! Sometimes we walk side by side, sometimes we walk alone but all of us eventually walk together. Allowing that space for people to be who they need to be without judgement, finding that balance all comes to me conceptually from my work with the labyrinth and my work with Veriditas. 


I walked the beautiful tapestry labyrinth at Grace shortly before it was put in storage, making way for the permanent one built there. That labyrinth said to me that I would never be done with Veriditas until it was back in use. I gave myself permission to leave the Board but I’m not finished with Veriditas yet until it comes back out into the light of day.


Rita: Would you share a story with us?


Gary: I live on the Monterey peninsula and Carmel Valley has a nice labyrinth that I like to walk. One day when I was there to take a walk I had questions about my role at Veriditas. So I’m out there on a nice quiet Saturday morning and I start to walk the labyrinth. Suddenly I hear a bell ring and all these voices. Apparently there was a major Cub Scout meeting nearby. The area was instantly flooded with 50 or 60 Cub Scouts running all over the place. Some of them saw me walking the labyrinth. One of them stayed behind me walking the whole way and others were trying to figure it out. I felt I just had to finish the walk. I continued the walk and thought about the questions I was asking. When I had finished, four little Cub Scouts went and sat cross legged right in the middle of the labyrinth.  When I walked around the circle and looked down they were all wearing little jackets with the words on the back “No task is too great”. I just laughed and thought “I’ll take that!” It was the answer to my questions. Then the bell rang again and they just got up and scattered to where they were going and left me in peace and quiet. Message heard, loud and clear!


Rita: I understand that you started the Sustaining Giving program at Veriditas.


Gary: Yes, I was sitting somewhere and I heard a couple of people talking about a sustaining giving program and I listened to what they were talking about. Mostly they were talking about how they forgot that they were giving and they just kept doing it. I thought that was very interesting and I went and googled it. I read about sustaining giving programs, did some research and wrote a report on it. Sustaining Giving provides a nonprofit that is dependent upon fundraising with a steady, predictable stream of funding that is so important to the organization when it comes to cash flow. 


Rita: Why do you donate to Veriditas?


Gary: To me, Veriditas shines like a light and in some ways I’m your original all or nothing guy. I’ve always felt the obligation to offset my participation with an organization by making contributions that support the business side of the organization.  It simply makes sense to me to direct as many of my resources to Veriditas as I can. Participation for me is about alignment. Finances, time, energy – you line it up with whatever you have available so that participation becomes as effective as possible.

On a personal level for me I am very much a student and practitioner of leadership and my work with Veriditas has really allowed me the opportunity to push my edges on my leadership skills and development, particularly around collaborative models. In the work that I am doing now in the world I’m bringing people together who never talked or worked together before to address the issue of water that affects us all. How many times I’ve reflected back to the leadership lessons I learned from Veriditas about letting people be who they need to be! Sometimes we walk side by side, sometimes we walk alone but all of us eventually walk together. Allowing that space for people to be who they need to be without judgement, finding that balance all comes to me conceptually from my work with the labyrinth and my work with Veriditas. 


I walked the beautiful tapestry labyrinth at Grace shortly before it was put in storage, making way for the permanent one built there. That labyrinth said to me that I would never be done with Veriditas until it was back in use. I gave myself permission to leave the Board but I’m not finished with Veriditas yet until it comes back out into the light of day.





Global Healing Response


Global Healing Response has been activated for the victims, survivors and land of Nepal after the devastating earthquake on April 28, 2015.

Click here for more information.


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 2015 is Restoration “All the beauty that’s been lost before wants to find us again” ― U2. The focus for this quarter is Reflection (Self and World). Quote: I believe that our society is merely a reflection of what is going on inside each and every one of us —Seal. By focusing on Reflection (Self and World) this quarter perhaps we will find strength and creative ideas for implementing Restoration. Thank you for joining us and creating a circle of global healing with the labyrinth! —Ellen Bintz Meuch

Take a look at GHR's beautiful new 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.


Has the Labyrinth changed your life? Tell us your story...


We are gathering your stories of how the labyrinth has changed you or your life. These stories will be shared on our website in the months leading up to our celebration, and in a book celebrating Veriditas' 20th Birthday. To submit your story for inclusion, please click here. Thank you for being a part of our Veriditas Family!



101 H Street, Suite D, Petaluma, CA 94952   |   707-283-0373   |   contact@veriditas.org

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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