We have a winner!
THANK YOU to all of our supporters in our recent mid-year fundraising campaign. Each and every donation makes a tremendous impact on the work we do here at Veriditas as we continue to bring the labyrinth experience to people all over the world.
A special thank you to all those who have joined (or continue their support of) our Sustainers Circle. These contributors have pledged to make an on-going monthly donation to Veriditas. By being one of our loyal Sustaining Givers, you have become our partner, a companion in the Veriditas mission to heal and transform the world through the labyrinth experience. If you are interested in joining our Sustainers Circle, please click here.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the winner of our mid-year campaign drawing. All new members of the Sustainers Circle who pledged a minimum of $25 per month were entered in our drawing for a special gift basket and a certificate to be used toward one of our upcoming programs at Grace Cathedral or Chartres. Congratulations to Mary Ann Burman! The staff at Veriditas were present during the drawing and found great fun in preparing the winner's package with some of our favorite items from our online store.
By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member
For our mid-summer featured facilitator, I introduce Catherine Anderson from Charlotte, North Carolina. Catherine integrates labyrinth and SoulCollage® work and will be offering a SoulCollage® workshop during the Labyrinth Summer School in Asheville, NC next month.
Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?
In November 2002 I visited Paris for the first time. While looking through a guide book for easy day trips from Paris, I was attracted to a small photograph of a labyrinth in Chartres. I had never heard of the labyrinth but felt called to visit it. However, I found it hidden under chairs so I couldn’t walk it, but I saw parts of it. My fascination with the labyrinth was born. I bought a large labyrinth postcard at the Cathedral gift store. When I built my studio in 2007, I placed the postcard on a wall near the window overlooking the back yard. Every time I walked into my studio, I looked at the postcard and in my mind projected it onto the outside yard, as it was my intention to have my very own walkable labyrinth. I believe the archetype of the labyrinth called to me. It certainly felt like a primeval pull towards something that a deeper part of me knew I needed in my life.
How did you learn about Veriditas?
I believed that I would become a better meditator if I had my own labyrinth to walk on a regular basis. I’m not very good at sitting still! Having no idea how to build one, I went to my usual resource, Amazon, and ordered all the books I could find on labyrinths, including "Walking a Sacred Path." From reading Lauren's books, I discovered Veriditas and I’d periodically check on upcoming workshops, wishing I were in a position to take one. Then one day in 2009, I went to the website, and read that Veriditas was offering Labyrinth Facilitator Training here in North Carolina. I immediately signed up!
How do you use the labyrinth in your personal life?
I am so lucky to be able to walk directly out my studio door to my labyrinth, and I head there whenever I feel ungrounded, stressed, confused, or need to prepare for an event in my life. When I return from teaching trips I find the spiral path brings me back to center and helps me back into the flow of regular daily life. In my art, I’m always making labyrinths in some creative form, such as collage finger labyrinths or scissor-cut paper labyrinths. Cutting paper labyrinths reminds me in a visceral way to trust my life path, as the paper looks rather chaotic until the cutting is complete, when everything falls into place!
Do you have a regular practice involving the labyrinth?
I only walk my labyrinth when I feel it calling to me, or when I am uncertain of what to do next, or when I need to unwind or calm myself. When I first built my labyrinth, I tried to walk it every day, but I stopped doing this when it started feeling like a chore rather than a sacred practice. I think that once you have embodied the understanding of the labyrinth as a metaphor for the journey of life, life becomes less confusing as you sense a larger design at play in your life. I regularly cut labyrinths and spirals out of paper and paste them into my journal.
Did the labyrinth have any role in leading you to SoulCollage®?
Not directly. In 2004, prior to my introduction to labyrinths, I trained as a SoulCollage® Facilitator with Seena Frost, a therapist, who, inspired by her love of creativity, spirituality, and psychology, had created the SoulCollage® process. I recently noticed in a photograph taken at my Training of Seena and me that she is wearing a large labyrinth medallion around her neck. That feels very symbolic to me now! In 2012 I apprenticed with Seena to become one of the SoulCollage® Facilitator Trainers.
How did SoulCollage® evolve to its present process?
The SoulCollage® process originated in a program led by Jean Houston that Seena Frost attended from 1986 to 1989. Seena was further inspired by the work of Carl Jung and James Hillman, and developed and honed the process in her women’s groups. SoulCollage® gained momentum and recognition with the publication of Seena’s books, SoulCollage® in 2001 and SoulCollage® Evolving in 2010. Sadly, Seena is no longer with us, but there are currently 15 Facilitator Trainers, and over 2,900 SoulCollage® Facilitators in 42 countries who teach and share the process. And the SoulCollage® book has just been translated into Mandarin!
Do you integrate the labyrinth and SoulCollage® in your work?
Yes, absolutely. I find they enhance each other. The labyrinth stills my mind and body and opens me to listening to my unconscious in a deeper way. Making SoulCollage® cards and then asking the process questions helps me integrate the walk and take what I have learned back out into the world in a practical and helpful way. I find combining both processes help me find clarity, purpose and meaning in this fast-paced, media-saturated and often confusing life. Both awaken in me a higher level of awareness of how I want to show up in the world, and give me a solid support system, encouraging me to continue growing and evolving. Both processes also provide me with a way to slow down and give time and thought to what is important in life. I love sharing what I have discovered through my own practice in my workshops on SoulCollage® and the labyrinth. You can discover more about how I do this on my website www.creativepilgrimage.com.
Tell us about your primary labyrinth work and community.
All the workshops I teach focus on creativity and mindfulness, and I always encourage participants to walk my labyrinth before a workshop in my studio. My workshop offerings include ones on making finger labyrinths - the collage finger labyrinth is my favorite as it combines my love of collage with the labyrinth and teaches patience and mindfulness. I also enjoy creating temporary labyrinth installations using available materials. In June I created two small classical labyrinths at the SoulCollage® Conference in Italy using plastic cups and toothpicks! For the past few years I have created a 7-circuit classical labyrinth at an annual mind-body-spirit event in Charlotte.
Who do you consider your labyrinth community in North Carolina?
I am fortunate to have Kathy Mansfield and Jennifer Halls, Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitators in Charlotte, to share labyrinth experiences. Kathy facilitates a walk for a group of men and women from Moore Place, which is permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless here in Charlotte, NC. Every month Kathy takes the group to a labyrinth in the area. They have been to my studio a couple of times to walk my labyrinth and then create SoulCollage® cards with me. It is always such a rewarding experience to be part of this.
What has been your greatest challenge in working with the labyrinth and SoulCollage®?
Time! I love giving participants a sense of spaciousness and abundance so they can create without feeling rushed (a rare experience in this day and age). Often sharing SoulCollage® at a labyrinth event forces me to condense the process into a short space of time. I have found ways to simplify SoulCollage® for very short sessions, but this only provides a taste of the process. SoulCollage® can be a lifelong practice which keeps you connected to your soul and your intuition, and the more time you make for it in your life, the more you will get out of it. My previous career as an attorney and chronic fatigue health issues have shown me in a very real way just how important it is to live life at a slower pace.
Please share with us a profound experience that you witnessed or experienced with the labyrinth.
I'll always remember my labyrinth walk the weekend I trained to be a Labyrinth Facilitator with Lauren Artress. She asked us to think of an intention for the walk; I had no ideas. As I stood at the labyrinth entrance, the phrase, "Walk with me," entered my mind, so I thought, "Okay, I have no idea what that means, but walk with me, please." Then I started walking the labyrinth. It wasn't long before I noticed my shadow: first in front of me, then to the side, then behind me, sometimes in full view, sometimes completely hidden, especially when I passed into a shady spot. I had this complete physical understanding that I am never alone. That Spirit always walks with me even when Spirit is not visible, much like my shadow. This knowing has stayed with me ever since.
What do you hope to bring to Labyrinth Summer School in Hendersonville in August 2016, and what do you hope to bring home with you?
I’m really happy to be sharing the SoulCollage® process at LSS as I believe SoulCollage® will give the labyrinth facilitators-in-training a new way to process experiences and insights that arise while walking the labyrinth. In addition it will give them ideas on how to include the process in their own labyrinth workshops to give their participants practical ways of working with insights and intuition. In these anxious times, having tools that assist us in accessing our own inner resources and navigating constant change are invaluable.
In addition to teaching at LSS I’m excited to be a student as well as I will be taking the labyrinth design and construction course with Lars Howlett. I hope to put my deeper knowledge of labyrinth-building from this workshop to use in my upcoming trip to South Africa where I’m hoping to build a labyrinth for a rural school in KwaZulu-Natal.
Do you have a vision of a yet-to-be-fulfilled aspect of your work?
I’m in the process of finalizing an online learning experience called Meeting Your Soul on the Labyrinth which combines my experiences at the intersection of SoulCollage® and the Labyrinth so that others can explore these tools of transformation together in a way that enhances and deepens both processes. I’m also looking forward to teaching a weekend SoulCollage® and the Labyrinth as Tools of Transformation workshop as the qualifying workshop for a SoulCollage® Facilitator Training being held in South Africa in October. This workshop is also a Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator Qualifying workshop! I believe this is a perfect pairing of two transformative processes, which can support and sustain us as we search for meaning and purpose in our lives.
When did you first encounter the labyrinth?
I think it was about 1995-1997. I was in a time of transition and my Jungian Analyst recommended the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral. I bought Lauren’s book and this quote by St. Augustine grabbed me and has not let go ….”Solvitur Ambulando….it is solved by walking”. In that very moment of reading I felt that my prayer practice of walking had found its container. Little did I know a whole new world would be opening up to me. I drove up to Grace and walked the Labyrinth, it was the beginning of a deep sense of being known.
I had been walker since childhood but the Labyrinth provide a structure and a way to bring my daily walk into my prayer practice. This was it and this was me. In my mind I “rewrote” the threefold practice that Lauren talked about in her book. It was easy to remember and more accurate of my walking . Instead of “Purgation, Illumination and Union” I related to “complaining, listening and reflecting”.
The metaphor of the Labyrinth is so gracious and merciful – there is no right or wrong way to walk it and hopefully to structure it!
I also went to a DreamQuest in 1999. It is beyond beyond! One of the most magical evenings I’ve ever had.
How did you get involved with Lauren and with Veriditas?
Soul Making by Alan Jones opened me to the Contemplative world. His quote that was life changing for me was “Soul making is learning how to live between the now and the not-yetness”. Later I came across the work of Barbara Brown Taylor – especially her book Leaving Church. I was following the work of Veriditas and in 2009 I found out Barbara and Alan were both speaking at the pilgrimage at Chartres. I decided that nothing was going to stop me from being there. It was kind of miraculous to see me marshal all my resources to go. I went and it was wonderful, beyond anything I could have imagined. I met Lauren there and she became my Spiritual Director. The gift of that time continues in our conversations together.
Would you share a story or experience or two with us?
I think the most powerful and sustaining experience occurred during the time I was in training for labyrinth facilitation. A requirement was facilitating two labyrinth walks. I was fretting about where I could find a labyrinth in the South Bay. I was stumped as to how I could pull that off. I thought of Grace Cathedral but I didn’t know how I could transport people there or deal with other logistics. One morning I was reading the paper and in the local section was an article about a brand new labyrinth installation right around the corner from my house. It was an outdoor, Chartres style 11 circuit labyrinth available 24 hours a day. I couldn’t believe it! I walked over there and found a group of people on their hands and knees laying down granite for this beautiful labyrinth. Now that it is finished I can walk it any time all the time. The minute I walk up and pause before entering whatever I have brought there in heaviness, confusion or mystery, it all drops. Here is provision for what had confounded me. There is such a sense of how much God can provide for whatever I bring. Immediately I walk through the veil, into a thin place, and I experience yet again the Great Provider. That presence is there as is all the memories of what has been cared for by past walks. I remember laying some of the tiles myself. When I walk over those, it’s so sweet to feel that a piece of me is laid in this path. I walk in gratitude for all who have walked before me and pray for those that come that they too will sense presence for what has brought them to this sacred space. There is something about going to this labyrinth that makes prayer much more accessible. Even when not on the labyrinth I am grateful for labyrinth principles. I love introducing people to the Labyrinth.
Why are you a Sustaining Giver to Veriditas?Our last night in Chartres we were all gathered for a special dinner. We were in a very intimate room and I just realized how important these people had become to me. And just what an amazing gift it was for me to be able to go to Chartres. I wanted this work to continue. It is so powerful. I think even knowing Lauren’s story of how she was introduced to the labyrinth and why she first went to Chartres is so inspiring , it grabs my heart. It is amazing how it changed her life and the many, many lives beyond her first trip. When I was at that dinner in Chartres, I just thought that I want to be a part of that going forward. It’s my love for Chartres, the mystery of pilgrimage, and how deeply grateful I am for what Veriditas provides in that pilgrimage and so much more! I think it is important work to continue, especially as our culture gets more and more crazy. It’s good to walk and it is good to be together on the labyrinth.
October 3rd to October 23rd, 2016
We are now accepting item donations for our Annual Online Auction!
How do I donate?
Donating an item is easy! This year we are making it very simple – with a digital photo and a description of your item you can create and post your own listing directly on our auction website: www.biddingforgood.com/veriditas. If you prefer, we are pleased to offer assistance with the creation of your listing. Connect with Jenny Slama (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get started!
What could I donate?
We welcome all donations to our auction – big or small! Are you an artist who could donate their creations? Do you have a special skillset or expertise that could provide a service for someone?
Donation items include (but are certainly not limited to): labyrinth items, music, artwork, getaway vacations, services, books, unique products, jewelry, home & garden items, goods exclusive to your region of the nation – or the world! It’s wonderful to have a wide variety in both items and price range. We are delighted to welcome Linda Hurley to our auction team this year! Linda is our Auction Gift Coordinator. She can be reached via email@example.com.
(Please remember that part of your donation is being responsible for the shipping of your item to the winning bidder, and costs associated with that shipping. )
Can I spread the word?
Absolutely! The more the merrier in this auction! You can help us get the word out by sharing our website (www.biddigforgood.com/veriditas) with anyone who might be interested in the auction items, someone who wants to support our mission or those who might be interested in learning more about our organization!
iSpiritual is offering a 20% permanent discount for Veriditas effective July 1st.
Simply enter veriditas20.
The discount applies to everything on their site. Click here to shop.
The Global Healing Response, founded in 2005 by Council member Ellen Bintz Meuch, offers an annual theme and quarterly ideas and information to enrich labyrinth walks.
The GHR theme for 2016 is Stability
"The world is beautiful outside where there is stability inside." -Unknown.
As wave is driven by wave
Picture/symbol: Sunrise (Photo by The Rev. Warren Lynn)
"Little Miracles" is produced by Linda Mikell. Each month she shares an inspirational story from a labyrinth experience that is sent to her by a facilitator. She welcomes YOUR story. I'm sure you're got one, and we all benefit from this sharing. Thank you, Linda!
Please send your story to Linda Mikell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Booklets are available online for
$10 each plus shipping.
Proceeds benefit the Veriditas scholarship fund.