April 2015 



Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?


I found the labyrinth unexpectedly; I was looking for something but I did not know what.  In January or February 1991, I was feeling burned out from my pastoral work with the AIDS crisis and took a short sabbatical.  I decided to dip back into Jean Houston’s work while asking, “What is my next step?”  I had worked with Jean in 1985; she hadn’t, to my knowledge, used the labyrinth then.

But this time her team had taped an 11-circuit labyrinth on the floor at the Greenskill Conference Center in Port Jarvis, New Jersey.  Jean used the labyrinth ritually with the 120 people present, lining us up front to back.  I couldn’t see the pattern clearly, which made for an anxious beginning, but the whole evening, I just wanted to walk it by myself.  The large group finally cleared out and went to bed, and I continued walking it, perhaps three times, with a few others. 

It had an impact on me immediately. I know this because I had a significant dream that night. It took a couple months for me to figure out the impact. After that, I felt like the Hound of Heaven was hunting me down. Finally, in March, I heard a clear voice say to me, “Put the labyrinth in the Cathedral.”  This was not my thought.  My immediate inner response was, ‘Who could do that?’


How was Grace Cathedral instrumental in the evolution of Veriditas?


From that very first auditory directive, the Cathedral played a major role. As Canon Pastor of the Cathedral, I realized that I was in the perfect place to "put the labyrinth in the Cathedral".  Working closely with the open-minded Dean Alan Jones during the AIDS crisis, with its inherent stress and fear, shaped my intuitive sense of what people needed. In 1989, 92 people had died in the broader Cathedral community.  I concluded we needed to find a prayer tool to do together within community. We wanted to see each other, be together, in a non-verbal way. 


Tell us about that first labyrinth in the Cathedral.


In August 1991, I went to Chartres with Alan Jones, his wife, and four others from the congregation to remove the chairs, if it was necessary, to walk the labyrinth. (See image below) Here is the well-known story about removing the 256 chairs off the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral.




When we returned to San Francisco, several volunteers painted the 36’ Chartres-style canvas labyrinth.  We originally created it to be part of the Common Boundary Conference on Sacred Stories held in Crystal City, Virginia. That was my first ever experience offering it. We opened the labyrinth for the first time at Grace Cathedral at the 24-hour New Years Eve event called “Singing for Your Life” with Bobby McFerrin. On that memorable night, 5,000 people came to the cathedral. Long lines of people waited patiently for their turn to walk. We had TV and media coverage on the 11:00 PM news announcing the opening of the labyrinth!

Beginning in March 1992, we opened the labyrinth twice a month: on the first Sunday in silence from 1:00 – 3:00 PM after services, before Evensong, and on the third Wednesday in the evening with live music. The cathedral sexton even built a little wagon for me to roll the labyrinth in and out of the Nave for these walks in the Cathedral. We did this for 37 months.

What was the sequence of the labyrinths after that initial canvas one?


The canvas labyrinth became so crowded that we had to take a next step. We had the inspiration to replace the canvas labyrinth with a Chartres-design tapestry labyrinth rug. I was able to raise the funds, so a small team of us measured the space and chose a variety of purple colors along with gray to match the limestone floor. The 34-foot wool rug arrived three weeks early, so we had to wait until after our large Easter were over to unroll it. The Fabric Committee thought of this labyrinth as temporary, but it remained in use for 13 years. It is in very good condition, and Veriditas has it in storage now with the hope of finding or possibly building a home for it.




In 2007, we installed the current limestone and marble Chartres-style labyrinth in the Nave of the Cathedral to replace the tapestry labyrinth.  Our goal was to get the permanent labyrinth into the floor as Alan Jones' legacy before he retired.

How do you feel the placement of the labyrinth in Grace Cathedral influenced the acceptance of the labyrinth?


I don’t think the labyrinth would have been as accepted if it hadn’t been placed in this mainline Episcopal Cathedral.  Grace Cathedral is the third largest cathedral in the United States and the biggest west of the Mississippi. By putting it in this well-known tourist site the cathedral became a pilgrimage destination. We moved the labyrinth from the fringe of consciousness to the frontier of spiritual practices.  The outdoor labyrinth in the Melvin E. Swig Meditation Garden was placed there in 1995.  It is now available 24 hours a day, which has helped introduce the labyrinth to millions (I'm sure we can say that number by now) of people around the globe. There are also approximately 4500 labyrinths on our World Wide Labyrinth Locator and counting.

Where and when did Veriditas enter into the picture?


In 1987, in reaching out to the new age traditions, I had created a center called QUEST: Grace Cathedral Center for Spiritual Wholeness.  It had four program areas: The Feminine in the Divine (which was later called Balancing the Masculine and Feminine), Creativity as a Spiritual Path, The Marriage of Eastern and Western Traditions, and The Rediscovery of Mystical Traditions. By 1992, I was working part time as the Canon for Special Ministries, continuing my labyrinth work, traveling extensively, and shaping workshops to meet the needs of the groups who had invited me.

In 1994, at the time we brought in the tapestry rug, I met with the Dean, and he said, “The vision of the labyrinth is bigger than the vision of Grace Cathedral.”  The labyrinth had become a big part of my life as well, so I decided to develop a non-profit organization and proceeded with the legal paperwork and non-profit requirements, with the help of volunteers. Quest was phased out, and Veriditas, which was separate from Grace Cathedral, began on paper in 1995 and in reality in 1996.

I wrote about this adventure in a 66-page pamphlet called “The Story of the Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral” as a way to explain about the labyrinth and why we placed it in the Cathedral. I began to imagine expanding it into a book.


Then, a moment of synchronicity happened.  In December 1994, I presented a workshop on the labyrinth at the Union Theological Seminary.  My friend Gloria Karpinski from North Carolina took this pamphlet and began reading aloud the drop quotes from it to entice Susan Paterson, who was just about to step to the helm of Penguin Putnam, to consider publishing it. A few days later, after meetings and negotiations assisted by my friend and soon editor Jan Johnson, I left New York with a book contract.

One of the volunteers I met was Tom Keelan (pictured with Lauren below), who was working with the Development Committee. Once “ Walking a Sacred Path” came out, I received 60 workshop invitations, and Tom helped set up these workshops. I began traveling in 1992 about once every two months, then every month, and then once all these invitations were secured, I travelled almost every weekend alone. But it became too much - carrying the canvas and, by then, products to support Veriditas, so Tom joined me in travel in 1997.




In 1996, Veriditas began its operations in an office on the second floor at the Cathedral where the clergy offices were located.  Shortly thereafter, we moved to the third floor after we were told we were too noisy because we laughed so much. We remained at Grace Cathedral until 2004 and then moved to the Presidio and eventually to Earthrise Retreat Center with the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma.


When did you sense your deep connection to the Chartres Labyrinth?


Some part of me knew about the Chartres labyrinth even before my work with Jean Houston, but after my initial walk, in the conference center, I knew I needed to research it.  This is what sent me off to Chartres, France.  I quickly learned that it had been under chairs for 250-300 years and rarely open.  That first walk in Chartres confirmed all that I could not articulate at that time.  I have a love of Chartres Cathedral that started the moment I walked into its darkened space. Chartres remains an active sacred site in the name of Our Lady of Chartres, which to me translates into the Divine Feminine.

My initial vision was “to pepper the planet with labyrinths.” Altogether, I was the content person on bus tours from 1994-1998, starting with a tour sponsored by Noetic Sciences, called “Labyrinths of Europe”. I worked with Robert Ferre and Ruth Hanna through their One Heart Tours many times as well.

One critical connection to the Chartres Labyrinth occurred in 1996 when Robert Ferre introduced me to Francois Legaux (pictured with Lauren below), the rector at Chartres Cathedral.  He was dead set against the labyrinth in the Cathedral and had ordered it to remain closed. However, in 1997 he accepted an invitation to visit Grace Cathedral to experience our labyrinth ministry. Francois is an openhearted and open-minded priest, so when he left San Francisco he vowed that he would open the labyrinth, in some way, in Chartres Cathedral.




The following year, he offered me an apartment over the Crypt Bookstore free of charge for a three-month sabbatical in Chartres.  I was becoming tired of getting on and off buses and sensed the potential of this connection with Chartres.  During this time, Alan Jones, Tom Keelan, our translator Ellie Kasch, Francois, and I discussed Veriditas having a month-long annual pilgrimage event in Chartres. One memorable moment in these meetings came at the very end of the negotiations. As we stood up to say our goodbyes, Francois stopped us and said, “one more point…” and proceeded to say that the name of the program had to have the name Mary in it.  This was during the time of Pope John Paul, who had recently survived an assassination attempt.  John Paul believed that Mary had saved his life since he had leaned down to admire a little girl’s necklace with the image of Mary on it just as the bullet missed his head. So, we named the program, "Let Us Walk with Mary." We were delighted that we could represent the program with some sense of the Divine Feminine. However, over the years when we promoted the program in the U.S., people asked, "Who's Mary?"  So, in 2002, we renamed the program, “Walking a Sacred Path.”

How and why did the word Veriditas speak so clearly to you?


As you know, Hildegard of Bingen spoke about veriditas as the greening power of God. In Latin Viriditas means "springtime." It is her definition of Holy Spirit.  Hildegard lived her 83 years as a Benedictine nun in Germany in the 12th century. I consider her my spiritual grandmother.  She spent her entire life within a 12-mile radius and established three convents.   She was recognized by Pope Eugenus III as a conduit for divine revelation in her lifetime.  Her work and visions were accepted at a time when the culture was more open to symbols.  I saw a 1979 painting by Ernst Alt that shows Hildegard holding a labyrinth of fire. This fused together Hildegard and the labyrinth for me, so it made sense to call the new non-profit I was establishing Veriditas. After all, we're greening the planet with labyrinths!

What were the major challenges you encountered in the early years of Veriditas?


In 1991 when we first opened the canvas labyrinth in Grace Cathedral, no one knew what a labyrinth was. So, educating the public was and still is a challenge, thankfully now shared by many. The work of introducing the labyrinth was demanding, but we had a lot of fun.  Once the labyrinth became more accepted, it was clear to me how important it was to make sure that the labyrinth was not only identified as Christian practice.  After all, we introduce the labyrinth even to this day as a process: releasing, receiving, and returning. Later, the third stage is also referred to as reflection, reclaiming or resolving. These are universal activities for the human race; they are not based on belief. The labyrinth is a profoundly spiritual exercise no matter what tradition one stands in. It is important to note that it is only the Christians who threw out many contemplative practices, including walking meditation. The Buddhists, Muslims, and Jewish traditions have retained theirs over the centuries.

Another challenge for Veriditas was financial difficulties in 2004, so the Board decided to reduce the number of staff. It was a very painful time. We eventually moved Veriditas to the Presidio, still in San Francisco. We were hoping to build a labyrinth there, but that proved to be too complex and complicated politically. 




In 2007, when Dawn Matheny accepted the position of Executive Director, we had a dramatic turnaround both financially and programmatically. Dawn has a good sense of programming and, with her PhD in East West Psychology, shares the depth of the vision Veriditas offers to the world. This is the same year we moved the Veriditas offices to the Earthrise Retreat Center in Petaluma.

Now, as we approach our 20th Anniversary, I am truly proud of Veriditas.  It has a strong Board of Directors and a great Executive Director in Dawn Matheny. I am traveling less, we have trained Master Teachers to continue the work. I am actively writing my fourth book, and it takes a lot my attention to focus on this commitment.  The labyrinth has taught me a great deal about the soul's journey, the imagination, and has shown me the contours of the emerging spirituality. That's what I want to put out into the world.

Veriditas is, for sure, the most complicated relationship I've had in my life! Someone once named my mode of living: I'm a risk taker. I'm the person who jumps off a high diving board over a swimming pool and, only in midair, do I check to see if there is water in it.  I would do it all again in a heartbeat.




Donor Spotlight: Robert Ferre

by Rita Canning, Development Coordinator

As we move closer to this summer’s celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Veriditas, it is my honor to interview Robert Ferre. Robert has been with Veriditas from the beginning. He is a labyrinth designer, builder and teacher of building labyrinths. He is also an author, Veriditas Certified Facilitator, Sustaining Giver and dedicated supporter of the mission of Veriditas.



Rita:  How did you get involved with Lauren Artress and Veriditas?


Robert:
In 1995 I read an article about Lauren Artress that said she was doing something with the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth. I had been to Chartres many times over many years because of the architecture but not because of the labyrinth. After reading the article I was interested in finding out what was going on with the labyrinth. I called Lauren and found out from her that on the Summer Solstice the cathedral removed the chairs covering the labyrinth so that the public could walk it. I was taking groups to France on pilgrimage at the time and I arranged to be in Chartres on the Summer Solstice. So on June 21, 1995, the chairs were off and we got to walk the labyrinth. It was my first time ever to walk a labyrinth. When I got home from that trip I had an inner urging to learn how to draw the Chartres labyrinth and I spent about a month and a half diligently working, discovering and measuring until I could draw the labyrinth in the right proportion just using a straight edge and a compass.  Then in September of that year I met Lauren at the first ever labyrinth conference organized by Jean Lutz, a woman from Arizona. When I met Lauren she said she had two needs – someone to make canvas labyrinths because she had one and everywhere she went people asked where they could get one. Secondly, she needed someone to help organize trips to Chartres and to Disibodenberg, Germany where Hildegard of Bingen had lived. (Hildegard was a 12th century Christian mystic.) I said “I have just discovered how to make labyrinths so I can make canvas labyrinths for you. I also have a small travel company and I’ve been taking groups to Europe so I can help you with your travels.”  I found an art school that was in an old Catholic grade school that had a gymnasium I could use as a studio for making labyrinths for almost ten years. I made a labyrinth and sent it to Lauren and she said send more, so I did. About fifty a year for the first several years. Then I went on from there to doing onsite labyrinths and so on. Since there were no tools or directions on making labyrinths I made my own tools and wrote instruction manuals.  It was the beginning of my labyrinth business.

Rita: Would you share an experience or story for us of your work with the labyrinth?


Robert:
In 1996 and 1997 I organized two trips for Veriditas to go to Chartres and then on to Germany. On the first trip in 1996 Lauren and I met Francois Legaux, who was the Rector of Chartres Cathedral, in the crypt. We heard him coming down, walking slowly, tapping with his cane on the stone. He was surprised to find that Lauren was a woman because Lauren could also be a man’s name. But he’s very ecumenical, very charismatic and he took that completely in his stride and we all had a very nice rapport. In the second year, 1997, we decided that Francois Legaux should come to the United States and learn about labyrinths. So we passed the hat in the tour bus and raised some other money and flew him to California. For the first time he saw a church, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where labyrinths were being used every day respectfully and for good things. He went back to Chartres and that was when they made the labyrinth more available to people. It was uncovered on Fridays and they let groups come in after hours because he realized that labyrinths weren’t just an anachronism from some past medieval time; that it was something that could be used effectively as a spiritual tool. And he and Allan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, became very fond of each other. They both had white hair and white beards and they called themselves “Twins in Christ”. They made each other honorary canons of each other’s church. Father Legaux came over several more times to the US. He dedicated a labyrinth in New Harmony, Indiana, another one in post-Katrina New Orleans and came to San Francisco a couple of times. That relationship lasted until he retired and now lives in a small village near the Loire River.

It was always interesting to travel with Lauren.  In addition to Chartres, we went to Disibodenberg, Germany to visit the abbey to which Hildegard of Bingen had been taken as a young child and then grew up to be the Abbess. The name “Veriditas” comes from her writings, meaning the “greening of life”. And so there is a strong connection between Hildegard and Veriditas. In modern times someone has built a labyrinth among the ruins where her cell had been. We visited another labyrinth in the back yard of the woman who was serving as our guide and a lot of the people enjoyed walking that labyrinth. There was always a variety of possibilities in our travels together.


Rita: Why do you donate to Veriditas?


Robert:
There are a number of reasons. First, my whole career as a labyrinth builder started because of my contact with Lauren. When we met in September of 1995, Veriditas was just being formed. I’ve been active with Veriditas since the very beginning, even before the very beginning. They were my first clients and they are responsible for my having a very successful career as a labyrinth maker. This reflects Veriditas’ important role in my life and my wanting to give back something. Another reason is that Veriditas is just unique in what it offers to the public in the way of learning about labyrinths and how to use them. In the early years the whole thrust was just getting labyrinths out into the world. Now that there are more and more labyrinths (and the number is growing all the time) there’s much more of a need in learning how to use them and what to do with them. Certainly Veriditas is the leader in that area – training facilitators and teaching people how to use labyrinths. So I just think that Veriditas has a great mission and does it well and they deserve our support. The more we support them the more they can do. The more they can do the more we all benefit. It’s a mutual win-win kind of relationship where we help each other and benefit together.

Rita: Anything else you’d like to share about your experiences with Lauren and Veriditas?


Robert: It’s been a wonderful relationship to know Lauren and how well she does her work. I’m very active now in the Legacy Labyrinth program which is an opportunity that is being developed by Veriditas. People who buy a Legacy Labyrinth will be a part of the Legacy network all over the world. It’s a way to support Veriditas and also be part of a very important mission. I’m strongly involved in the planning of that to make some very unique labyrinths for people. I continue my relationship with Veriditas. Every summer I teach a class on how to build labyrinths. It is important to know that this July we are going to do it again at Labyrinth Summer School. This will be my last one. I’m going to retire from that effort. My co-presenter, Lars Howlett, who is very active with Veriditas and The Labyrinth Society, will continue the trainings in future years. If anyone wants to train with me on how to make labyrinths, this is really their last opportunity in July. I donate my efforts in this training to Veriditas and I also donate the proceeds from the books that I have written about building labyrinths. So, even after I retire those sources of donation will continue.





The First Veriditas Men's Retreat, La Falda, Argentina

By Miton Woolley

My journey with the Labyrinth intensified last March, 2014, when I was invited to go to La Falda and build the first Veriditas Legacy Labyrinth. I met Enrique and Kristin Dura, the owners of the Alla Ariba Retreat Center, and the couple that brought the Legacy Labyrinth to La Falda. I enjoyed the work of building the labyrinth and fellowship of all who participated in that event. This year I was the one person from the building crew to be in La Falda when the first Legacy Labyrinth had her first birthday. I was honored to be Veriditas’ representative to that event.

The birthday celebration of the LaFalda Legacy Labyrinth kicked off my “Living Fully the Second Half of Life, a Retreat for Men over 50”. It was a transformational experience for each of the men who participated as it was for me. The inspiration and synchronicity that occurred on this retreat was beyond anything I could have imagined. While we were a small group, we were ready for connection with other men, and a safety was created that allowed us to talk about long held pain and secrets. The goal was to move us to see our lives as full and exciting as we age and to create a legacy of sharing our wisdom with other men both young and old. Each evening was made richer with a cultural experience, everything from music dedicated to Argentinian Rivers to Tango Dance demonstration and an Argentinian BBQ.  


Samuel Hall was a participant and represented the second Legacy Labyrinth in Jacksonville, Florida. He brought a gift to the Mayor of LaFalda and invited him to think of the Florida Labyrinth as a sister to the La Falda Labyrinth. The mayor took time out of his re-election schedule to come to Alla Arriba to receive Sam’s gift.

Sam became the keeper of the Labyrinth for us at the Retreat and did a wonderful job of facilitating and educating us regarding how to use the Labyrinth in our daily lives. The Labyrinth is now a ritual for each of us to practice and when used, draws us together as a council of elders. 




I’ve received the following testimonies from several of the men who attended:

“The Alla Arriba Retreat Center was a perfect location and choice for the "Retreat For Men Over 50". It was a wonderful thing being there in LaFalda with guys in my age group who were able to share true thoughts and feelings. Enrique and Kristin were the most gracious hosts and the staff of the center put so much love and attention into the details of their work. Incorporating the local culture into the week’s activities was an excellent idea in order to give us a real feel of being in Argentina.

The workshop for the week had a good feel and flow for me. The concept of having a retreat for "Men Over 50" was brilliant! As I take time to digest the information and the events that took place, I am sure I will unearth more nuggets, in addition to the ones I was able to grasp during the retreat that I will carry with me throughout. Using the Legacy Labyrinth as the centerpiece or metaphor for our journey was very special for me …."

“That was a fabulous retreat. Thank you for naturally modeling what a man with a truly open heart can be. You were also smart to choose a place where the love and open heartedness of the people would also support the mission.”




We are planning another Men’s Retreat in LaFalda next March.  Consider joining us. 

Mwoolley65@comcast.net


“I came to the retreat looking for guidance on the path of aging, asking:
who am I apart from work, accomplishments, roles to play?
why are there no men in my life with whom I trust my secrets?
why do I feel so guarded, cautious, and censor myself?
what path am I not following because of fear?

I learned:
men can hold each other in a safe, loving, honest, compassionate and joyful place
I am not alone
I don’t need to know all the answers; they may come when I wait patiently and respectfully in silence
having rituals, walking the labyrinth of life focuses attention, intention, releases tension

ahead:
I step into the role of elder
following generations of teachers”



Canvas Labyrinth Destined for Chartres Cathedral




Our deep gratitude to John Ridder of Paxworks for creating a gorgeous canvas labyrinth for us to take to Chartres! See how it unfolded below:

 
We have started! It will be in three pieces with the flat velcro version... should be about 40 - 50 lbs per piece



 
 
Velcro on, ready to hem!



 
Today is draw the Chartres Chartres day!
These bags hold the three sections... organized like
 
a French flag, i.e. white is the center section.


 
 
Painting day one!
Dhyana has ironed and is taping lunations...
by the way, this is the same room Lauren spoke in during our introduction to the Labyrinth in May 1993!


Day 2 painting: infused authenticity. Rubbings I took in Chartres way back in 2003 laid on the labyrinth destined for Chartres!


Day 3 painting: we often set intentions for the day with a brief song on the Native American flute ..... traditionally spontaneous



We finished painting a few minutes ago
the pic is our secret velcro code... to match the container color scheme..





 


Council News

by Chris Farrow-Noble


The Council met in Jacksonville, FL on March 21-23

The journey awakens the soul.
 -Anne Morrow Lindbergh


All eleven Veriditas Council members came from far and near to Atlantic Beach near Jacksonville, Florida in March to participate in our semi-annual Council meeting.  Kathryn (Kathy) McLean, and Kay Mutert, Master Teacher from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, co-hosted the gathering with seamless coordination and support.

Kathy, as our Jacksonville host, had suggested a theme, Circles in the Sand, emphasizing the transitory nature of sand, the transitory nature of life, as well as the role of the labyrinth in the shifting and transitory times we are in.  Many Council members are intimately involved with closely related people who are in precious moments of transition in their lives.  Most immediately, Kathy’s husband Tim was seriously ill during the entire time of preparation and the meeting weekend itself.

The Facilitator, Ellen Bintz Meuch, (from Chicago area, creator of Global Healing Response) welcomed members to the Circle in a community room at Fleet Landing Retirement Community. Jo Ann Mast, as Guardian, offered the revered talking stick and will help maintain focus in discussions. Linda Mikell is our accomplished Scribe and recorder, who distributes minutes within hours of our meetings. Gracie Amirault and Chris Farrow-Noble were responsible for Ritual, opening with a reading from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea and inviting members to light their candles, lay their sacred object on the altar, and share their check-in. Each person received a bookmark handmade by Gracie and added quotations from Gift from the Sea to travel with them. 

In our opening session, Marge McCarthy announced that she is retiring from the Council, and that this would be her last in-person meeting.  Tears came then and continued during the weekend, as we appreciated her presence and contributions to Council, Veriditas, and the labyrinth community. She shared the minutes from the first Council meeting, then called the Spider Plant Project, on March 26-28, 2004.  Marge will remain with us in spirit as Council Member Emeritus.

We were invited to “Decaf & Dessert” in Fleet Landing to talk with the Labyrinth Explorers, a group of 40 residents who are intent and hopeful about building a labyrinth in their community. Over the past two years, Kathy has worked with this enthusiastic group to educate and guide them toward realizing their goal. Each attendee shared his/her story about experiencing the labyrinth, including us.  Leah Hudson-Hall and members of the Omnisara group spoke of their local support. We got a very strong sense that we were meeting people with vision and a viable community.

In our Council sessions, we talked about plans for the Veriditas 20th Anniversary celebration on August 14-15, 2015, how the Regional Representative network might be improved, an update on projects that members are involved in, including Dream Quest (Judith Tripp), Global Healing Response (Ellen), Master Teachers (Jo Ann Mast and Kay Mutert), Little Miracles on the Path (Linda Mikell), Legacy Labyrinth (see following event), the facilitator community relationships, and future projects.   Both Gracie and Kay are organizing pilgrimages – Kay to Iona in August and Gracie to Nova Scotia in September. We reiterated that part of our mission is to be Ambassadors to the labyrinth community, and clearly our time with the Labyrinth Explorers at Fleet Landing and at the Second Legacy Labyrinth at Omnisara are examples of that priority. 





On Sunday afternoon, we drove to Omnisara Labyrinth and Gardens, the site of the Second Legacy Labyrinth. We were thrilled to spend the afternoon with the Omnisara community, including Leah Hudson-Hall and her inspiring family, feeling their commitment to the vision of this healing place. Approximately 20 people, including several newly trained facilitators from Jacksonville, south Florida and Georgia, spoke of their involvement with the labyrinth. Leah spoke of the palpable connection she felt with the First Legacy Labyrinth community in La Falda, Argentina.  As part of the welcoming ritual, she passed a stone from the First Legacy Labyrinth around the circle, asking each of us to add our blessing. We all appreciated each step on the pathway of this Second Legacy Labyrinth. With hopes of returning to experience the wide-reaching vision of Omnisara and continuing to offer our active support, we departed.

Later that afternoon, to honor Marge’s deep and longstanding involvement with the Council since it began, Judith drew a stunning 7-circuit Classic labyrinth in the sand at Atlantic Beach.  Marge led us, with the strong cold wind at our back, as we slowly walked the path to the Center.  There, we pulled in close, honored her with quiet words, and then walked out together.

During our final session, we scheduled our Fall 2015 Council meeting for October 15-16, 2015. This will offer a link to the The Labyrinth Society Gathering at Waycross, enable us to support Ellen Bintz Meuch in her Saturday keynote address there, and encourage participation in the subsequent Advanced Facilitator Training by Lauren Artress and Kay Mutert.  We have tentatively planned our spring meeting 2016 in Ottawa.

In honor of Kathy’s commitment to Council during her family crisis, we helped lay out her labyrinth, called a “World Peace Labyrinth” in the Community Presbyterian Church. We appreciated the unique circles within the design that beckoned us to step out, rest, and reflect.  Each of us signed the back of the labyrinth before we rolled it up.

Each of us returned to our own lives, deeply nourished by our time together, eager for our next meetings, and knowing better who we were and what we, individually and as a group, had to offer Veriditas, the labyrinth community, and others.

Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living:
 simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid;
each cycle of the wave is valid;
each cycle of a relationship is valid.

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Note:  On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, just two weeks after
our Council meeting, Tim (Timothy F. Simpson) died
with Kathy at his side.

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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