October 2016 e-News

Veriditas Auction Success

Thank you so much to everyone who joined in the fun in this year's Annual Online Auction. We're delighted to announce that we raised over $15,000 through your participation. 

Our thanks also to Jenny Slama, who did a fabulous job coordinating the auction. She will be working on letting you know where to ship your donated items in the next couple of weeks. If you won items, those will be in the mail soon!

VIA Has Launched!


We're delighted to announce that VIA: The Veriditas International Association of Professionally Trained Labyrinth Facilitators has launched! 

Veriditas is best known for presenting the labyrinth as a spiritual tool, one that can be taken into many different settings and offered to many different populations.  

After two decades of providing quality training for those who want to share the labyrinth with others, Veriditas has taken the next step. Facilitators stand at the heart of our organization and we have formed a professional association for our trained labyrinth facilitators. Labyrinth facilitators have taken the labyrinth with them into many professions, such as clergy and spiritual direction, counseling, teaching, wellness, health care,  to name only a few. There is an emerging and defined body of knowledge around how to facilitate the labyrinth that needed to be recognized as a new and growing profession.  

Whether you hold your labyrinth facilitation as an avocation or as a part of your professional work, you are invited to join us in this new endeavor that is designed to recognize your skill, empower you with a professional organization, and provide you with affiliation and a sense of belonging in a growing field. 

VIA welcomes anyone who has completed the
Veriditas Facilitator Training.  

Benefits of Membership

  • A free bimonthly webinar with Lauren and a guest speaker on topics relating to labyrinths and your labyrinth practice.
  • A Business Plan for developing a labyrinth practice
  • An expanded section of "Best Practices" in labyrinth work, chock full of resources to enhance your work as a facilitator.
  • Downloadable pdf handouts of "Guidelines for the Walk" and other handouts.
  • Have a web page created for your labyrinth or yourself as a Veriditas facilitator by Warren Lynn.
  • A free labyrinth tote bag (please allow 6 weeks for delivery)
  • Links to Lauren's radio show recordings and/or talks
  • Lauren's Corner with Lauren's Cello playlist, quotes and resources used in recent workshops.
  • a 10% Discount (not to exceed $100) towards one of our signature programs at Chartres or Grace. (Cannot be combined with any other discounts. Discount rate will appear when registering.
  • A 10% discount on all online classes.
  • A public profile page in a facilitator directory that will be visible to and searchable by geographic area by the public.  Here you can link to your website or provide your email so people can see your events and offerings.  Anyone can search for a facilitator and find you in your geographical area.
  • An electronic badge for your website and/or email that indicates you are a member of VIA, a professional association of labyrinth facilitators.
  • A membership pin that indicates you are a member of VIA.

FACILITATOR SPOTLIGHT: Luella Wagner

By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member


For this month of transition to fall and the breath-taking Hunter’s Moon, I introduce Luella Wagner, who lives and works in the Los Angeles, California area.  She has had remarkable experiences with youth and the labyrinth and shares her story here in her own writing. 

Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?

I think the labyrinth knew I needed help and it miraculously showed up at exactly the right moment; so subtle, so unobtrusive, so stealth, I didn’t even know it was there. And magically its twists and turns led me on a new path to find my true purpose in life.  As most life changing discoveries occur in the midst of sorrow, disappointment, and loss, my introduction to the labyrinth was no different.  I had what I thought was my “dream job.” I was teaching history and drama at an all girls’ Catholic high school in Sierra Madre, California.  I was also the director of the fall play and the spring musical. I received several positive write-ups in local newspapers and numerous grant awards. When my contract was not renewed, I was dumbfounded.  Anyone who has lost a job knows the feeling of rejection, humiliation and trauma that goes with it.  Mysteriously, “Praying the Labyrinth” by Jill Kimberly Hartwell Geoffrion with the Forward by Lauren Artress fell into my hands. The book combined a series of prayers followed by reflection questions. The reflection questions allowed me to go deep within and I was able to write down my true feelings and work through my loss and rejection.  

How did your involvement with the youth begin?

I eventually landed a job teaching Religion at a Catholic co-ed high school closer to home. It wasn’t my dream job, but it would suffice. It was at Bishop Alemany High School that I found ways to introduce the labyrinth into the curriculum. It was the 60th anniversary of the invasion of Poland, so I did a lesson on St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Catholic priest who died at Auschwitz offering his life to spare someone else’s. I organized a field trip to St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Thousand Oaks, CA. The church is newly built and the interior has architectural elements inspired by the concentration camp: barbed wire decorates the pews, Stations of the Cross and the altar. The church also has an outdoor labyrinth, which was the real reason for the trip. I had introduced the labyrinth in the classroom; incorporating sacred geometry, readings, prayers and activities, so the students had a basic understanding of the labyrinth before they walked it. At the church, the students walked the labyrinth with eagerness and sensitivity. I wanted to extend the experience to the entire school, so I contacted Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino and I was able to rent their canvas labyrinth and offer it to all the classes at Bishop Alemany High School. While I was proud of the work I had done at the school, it left me unfulfilled and I yearned for something new and different. Completely out of the blue I was offered a teaching position on an Indian reservation in Montana. And the labyrinth followed me there. I was amazed one day as I arrived at school in the dead of winter to find that someone had created a labyrinth in the snow. It was a gentle, sublte reminder to let me know I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I found out later that it was one of my students who created the “snow” labyrinth. 

To say that my time in Montana was life changing is an understatement. When I returned to Los Angeles, I was no longer the same person I was when I left. I knew that my time in the classroom was over, so I looked for other opportunities. I ventured into the world of writing and public speaking. I presented workshops on a variety of topics until one day a friend of mine asked “Why don’t you offer a workshop on labyrinths?” That prompted me to go further into my understanding of the labyrinth. There is a Native American quote: “If you want to understand something, stand under it.”  While I couldn’t stand under the labyrinth, I could stand on it and walk it. Fortunately, for me the Boy Scouts had installed a labyrinth at Prince of Peace Church in Woodland Hills, which was within walking distance from my home. 

I took it upon myself to walk the labyrinth everyday seeking answers to questions, solutions to problems, and insight into the “why” of things.  I walked the labyrinth in the early morning, late afternoon, twilight and midnight. I even walked it at dawn.  While I never experienced any earth shattering revelations, I was amazed at the effect walking the labyrinth had on my daily activities. My work took on a clarity and vision that I had not experienced before. Mentally, I was able to look at things from a different perspective and see things I wouldn’t normally see.  I began to see things symbolically as a metaphor for something larger. I compiled my findings into a workshop format and offered my presentation at various retreats and conferences throughout the Los Angeles area. 

Please tell us about the Youth Rally and the labyrinth. 

This past July, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles invited me to present the labyrinth at the “City of Saints” Youth Rally at UCLA. More than 700 teenagers were introduced to the labyrinth over the 3-day period. While the labyrinth was new to them, their respect and appreciation was evident as they walked the path. In the center of the labyrinth I placed a bowl with slips of paper each one containing the name of a saint, keeping with the theme of the rally. As they entered the center of the labyrinth, they each chose a slip of paper with a saint’s name. I told them to research the saint and see what special message that saint had for them. Christina Lamas, the National Youth Coordinator for the Catholic Church based in Washington D.C. was astounded by the positive response. Her remark was “This is exactly what we need to be doing for our young people.” 


How did you find out about Veriditas? 

The year after I lost my job, a friend invited me to San Francisco for a visit. I hadn’t been there in years, so I jumped at the opportunity. While there we visited Grace Cathedral and walked the labyrinth. Curious about finding labyrinths closer to home, I used the labyrinth locator that eventually linked me to the Veriditas website.  

What is your primary work with the labyrinth right now?   

For the past four years, I have presented workshops entitled “Understanding the Labyrinth” at the Santa Barbara, San Pedro, San Gabriel, San Fernando and Los Angeles Regional Congresses. In addition to the annual congresses, I offer labyrinth presentations for schools and parishes throughout the Los Angeles area.  I continue to work with Holy Spirit Retreat Center where we offer quarterly labyrinth walks on the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. We are currently raising funds to build a permanent labyrinth for the center. 

Last summer, I sojourned to Petaluma and attended the facilitator training workshop. I completed the requirements and now I am a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator. 

What is your vision for your future labyrinth work? 

I recently attended a retreat presented by Father Stephen Coffey, entitled “Sophia Wisdom in the Writings of John of the Cross”.  I was astounded by the many similarities I found between walking the labyrinth and John’s process of spiritual development. While I am still in the beginning stages, I hope to incorporate the writings of John of the Cross, specifically the “Dark Night of the Soul” and the “Ascent on Mount Carmel” into my teachings on the labyrinth.  The spiritual teachings of John of the Cross are taking me to a higher level of understanding and growth and I hope to share that with others. While the labyrinth is a flat surface on the ground, in some ways I see it as a spiral staircase leading me upward with every step I take.  I hope to take others with me on that spiritual ascent. 


VERIDITAS Holiday STORE opens soon!

The Veriditas Holiday Store will be open from November 15th through December 15th. Watch for an email that will let you know its open. We have a variety of Labyrinth - related items, many of which make excellent Holiday gifts for the labyrinth enthusiast in your life!

SUSTAINERS CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT: Deborah and John Saxon
by Rita Canning, Development Coordinator


Deborah Saxon with a friend on the Labyrinth
As we move into fall, I had the unique experience of interviewing a couple who are Sustaining Givers and committed supporters of Veriditas. Deborah and John Saxon are Veriditas trained facilitators who enjoy facilitating labyrinth walks together.  

When did you first encounter the labyrinth?

Deborah:
First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs in 2000.  We found it because we were new to town and didn’t know a soul. We found their ad in the phone book and something about it intrigued us.

John:
Yes, they had an ad about having a labyrinth for walking. So we started attending that church and walking the canvas labyrinth that they put out on Thursday evenings.

How did you get involved with Veriditas and Lauren?

John:
Lauren Artress came to Colorado to speak at a spiritual director’s conference. We noticed that she was the Founder of Veriditas, this labyrinth promoting organization. We thought it would be fun to go hear her speak even though we didn’t know a whole lot about her at the time. Although we weren’t spiritual directors we decided to go ahead and sign up for the one day conference and learn some more about labyrinths. That was our first contact with Lauren and Veriditas.

Deborah:
I think the first time we did a group walk was the evening of that daylong conference. It was a beautiful labyrinth with candles lighting our way and surrounding the labyrinth. Through this we realized the importance of doing group walks, not just our individual walks. Also, learning from Lauren about the different contexts around the labyrinth and reading her book was helpful.

Would you each share a story or experience around the Labyrinth?

Deborah:
When I was finishing my doctoral dissertation, I wanted something to both celebrate that and to spend some time discovering about my next steps.  I had a dream about the labyrinth.  I woke up thinking that I needed to call Lauren and talk to her about it. When I did she was so reassuring, healing, and grounding. She told me that the labyrinth could be very important as a balance to the academic work I had been doing. So John and I decided to go Chartres.   We were especially attracted to that one because it included a one day “Meeting Mary” event with Judith Tripp. We did the pilgrimage and then decided to stay for the Facilitator Training because we thought it would be so valuable at that point.

John:
One of my favorite stories was onetime when Deb and I were leading a labyrinth walk together and there were 20-25 people. I was playing intuitive piano while Deb was guiding the walk. I was playing the music to help deepen people’s experience of walking. Just as I finished one set of 10 minutes, one lady completed the walk and came to me with tears in her eyes and gave me a hug, saying this was so powerful for her. She said that she had lost a loved one recently and was having a very difficult time in her life. Doing the walk and listening to the music made her feel alright again. She was so grateful to us so we all had a big hug. 

Deborah:
At a walk on Good Friday we walked a labyrinth with a woman who was a colleague of John’s. It was suggested that we put rose petals in the center of the labyrinth so people could just take rose petals as they left the labyrinth. We found that was so lovely. On Good Friday it was like sharing the suffering of Mary and others who were at the cross of Jesus. We just walked in and held that space of suffering. There was a woman in a wheel chair who waited until everyone else was finished. Then her husband wheeled her on the labyrinth’s path. When she was done, she came out and said that she doesn’t normally like all the noise and crowds on Easter. “For me today was my Easter.” It touched us very deeply and through this whole experience it connected us to the pain of the world and at the same time the celebration, joy, healing and inspiration that comes from walking the labyrinth. It’s very meaningful to us to be able to create space and facilitate events where people can have these kinds of experiences. It’s very little about us, it’s the power of the collective focus.


What does the labyrinth mean to you?

Deborah:
Labyrinth walking centers and grounds my own spiritual practice. We both love the fact that it is so open to anyone regardless of their religious or ethical traditions. What we are interested in is finding ways to bridge our connections with people all across the world, and with the various kinds of people in our own communities. This is something deeply spiritual. 

John:
The practice of walking the labyrinth for me is centering and grounding for sure, especially when I’ve had a frenetic day or week or month.  It’s nice to be able to come back to it. The labyrinth also provides a great service in the way of emotional release and healing. I know that sometimes when Deb and I have walked the labyrinth we’ve come into a special relationship with the Divine Feminine as a result of our walk. Sometimes we’ll compare notes and discover we had the distinct impression that we’ve been served by the Divine Mother, by Mary. We’ve been in the presence of Divine Feminine while walking. That’s such a deep blessing for us when that kind of thing happens.

Why are you Sustaining Givers to Veriditas?

John: 
When we first started walking the labyrinth back in 2002 it was certainly a meaningful experience for us. But we feel so much more enriched by having had the education and instruction from Veriditas.  And we really believe that the propagation of the idea of walking the labyrinth and learning the history behind it as well as other benefits are important for people to know. Our feeling is that somehow people really want to connect deeply in a spiritual way.  It would be a fabulous thing if they could know that the labyrinth is a safe place where they can truly be themselves and accept healing.  So we wholeheartedly support this effort. 

Deborah:
If it weren’t for Lauren Artress the practice of labyrinth walking just simply wouldn’t exist as it does today. Her courage and her willingness to go outside of traditional boundaries are so important. I think the labyrinth came to her rather than she came to it. And that has been so enriching for everyone.  When I was at a Labyrinth Society meeting, they asked everyone to stand up who had either been trained by Lauren or Veriditas as a facilitator or certified facilitator. So many people rose up!  I thought what a remarkable thing for Lauren to be the one who started it in motion, or at least was the conduit for setting it in motion. It is difficult to express our gratitude for the way in which she has facilitated people connecting through the labyrinth.  For us to be a part of that in any small way is such a privilege.


SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR VERIDITAS COMMUNITY from iSpiritual

iSpiritual is offering a 20% permanent discount for Veriditas.

Simply enter veriditas20.

The discount applies to everything on their site. Click here to shop.

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 2016 is Stability 

"The world is beautiful outside where there is stability inside." -Unknown. 

Focus for 4th quarter: Serenity

Quote: 

“Today I want to feel the release of fully letting go of those things I cannot change. May today feel lighter and more joyful as a result.”    —Shawn Fink

Picture/symbol: Calm Water (Photo by The Rev. Warren Lynn)

Color: Blue

www.globalhealingresponse.com

LITTLE MIRACLES ON THE PATH

"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 edlinmik@optonline.net

Booklets are available online for

$10 each plus shipping.

Proceeds benefit the Veriditas scholarship fund.

CELEBRATING 1000 FACEBOOK FRIENDS! (Thank you!)

Love Veriditas and our programs? Tell your friends and "friend" or "follow" us on Social Media by clicking the icons to the right - an easy way to share the love (be sure to like and share posts with your friends) - Thank you!


101 San Antonio Road, 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.

© Veriditas 2016. All rights reserved.

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