June 2014 

 



Big Dreaming of Women
By Judith Tripp

On May 31- June 1, 65 Polish women came to the first Women's Dream Quest offered outside the United States. Under the expert administration of Sylwia Hanff, Theatre director, dancer and Veriditas Facilitator, a gigantic gymnasium in Warsaw was transformed into a beautiful sacred space for Dreaming the Heroine's journey.
Judith Tripp, who has led the Dream Quest in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral for 27 years, brought the songs, and practices of the Quest to a welcoming circle of women.

Photo by Iza Moczarna-Pasiek

It has been two weeks since I got off the plane in Warsaw into the arms of Sylwia and Ela, my translator. I had been in England leading my annual Pilgrimage to Avalon and in Chartres teaching and helping to facilitate the Veriditas program there. I was quite full of the energies of two of my favorite places and also full of the prayers of my friends and the good wishes of the women of Dream Quest circles. Everyone who knew of my journey felt it was so important to reach across cultures and find the common ground between women the world over. The power of the journey reverberates in me still.

This was my first trip to Poland, a forested land marked by an extremely traumatic history. The “Old Town” in Warsaw is a recreation of the charming buildings destroyed in WWII. Soviet style architecture is everywhere and brand new trams and shopping centers in Krakow compete with cathedrals of a Byzantine flavor. Shrines to Mary along with crosses festooned with ribbons are dotted along the pot-holed highways. The ancient Jewish cemetery in Krakow reminds us of a time of high Jewish culture before the Holocaust.

Sylwia had assembled a crew of artists and spiritual teachers to create our sacred space. – Magnificent art pieces were made in different parts of the room; one to the Heroine, complete with a mirror. Another honored the deities of the world traditions. A full sized Medieval style labyrinth lay in the middle of the room. In the afternoon, I met with 8 women small group leaders who were all pioneers in Women's Spirituality in Poland - a beautiful circle of experienced, gifted teachers. They graciously joined the circle we have been creating for all of these years. We began with the meditation I always create for the circle of leaders. We also shared stories and walked the Labyrinth together.

Soon the participants arrived. We started, as we always do, with songs. Ancient Mother was sung in Polish and English as was Return Again. As I listened to these familiar melodies with the soft sounds of the Polish language, I felt the common core of prayer and ritual resound in mybeing. When we sang the prayer, “Come into my life, Divine Mother”, the women added their own verses in Polish and English just like women in Charlottesville and Chicago and San Francisco always do.

 

Then with Ela's gentle translation, I invited these dancers and meditators and seekers to meet the maiden, mother and crone within their psyches. We created three concentric circles and called on the other circles we know- our beloveds, the ones we pray to, all of creation. I also invited us all to imagine the women who have stood in the circle in the United States. I told them that I knew that many of them had lit candles for us and remembered us in their prayers.

With a huge drum, we began a procession circling the space, carrying candles that represented each of our prayers to further nurture ourselves as heroines in our own life's story. As each woman stood before the Heroine, she looked into the mirror and made her prayer with depth and grace. I was so moved, remembering another circle of sisters at Grace Cathedral placing their candles on the high altar.

Next were small groups and after that an evening of labyrinth walking, art, doll making, and healing. I was able to speak to many women 1-1 with some translation. In the morning, I sang and we had a hour of silence. Probably the sweetest moment for me was when I played flute sitting in the center of the labyrinth. Gradually many women came to join me, sitting quietly as I played to the essence of our experience together.

Small groups met. We had another time on the labyrinth, sending our love out into the world. Then the women created wonderful skits representing their experience of the night.

As I write, I am filled with gratitude for the heroines who came out to share the Big Dreaming of Women. For me, this is hope for the world. As women share, fill themselves with experience of soul and honor their ability to dream and vision our world, so much is possible. When Sylwia first translated “Women's Dream Quest”, the literal word by word translation didn't work. She settled on Big Dreaming of Women. I believe this is a name we have always been looking for! 

   
I met Judith 5 years ago. I was taken by her wisdom, her experience, her open heart, her unpretentiousness and lightness that she employs when creating the safe space, where blessings can flow easily. Judith can dance like a joyful girl, she gives support like a loving mother and she shows the path like a woman of wisdom. Her gentle presence opens and joins people's hearts. All these qualities contributed to the big dreaming of women in Warsaw

I’ve invited Judith to Poland to benefit from her wisdom and from the The Women’s Dream Quest. I invited female leaders from different cities, pioneers of various methods of personal growth and feminine spirituality to facilitate the small circles. Women from all over Poland met and gave themselves to the Big Dreaming of common future, to dream out the transformation of our hearts.

The Women's Dream Quest makes the beautiful space where you can simply be - with others and with yourself. It is difficult for me to describe what happened there, as it was the feeling of a profound experience, difficult to name or put in words. I just want to mention the most moving moments. First - the unbelievable feeling of connectedness, when Judith said that women who had participated in Dream Quests before, lit candles for us. Second - the drumming Procession of the Heroine, when I had the feeling of great awakening of the Sacred Feminine within us.

I am deeply grateful to all women, who supported the Big Dreaming on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Thank you.
Sylwia Hanff
www.medytacjalabiryntu.pl
The Big Dreaming of Women
www.wielkiesnieniekobiet.8log.pl

 


Facilitator Spotlight: Lars Howlett

By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member

This month we meet Lars Howlett, apprentice and assistant to master builder Robert Ferre who will be teaching together at Labyrinth Summer School organized by Veriditas at IONS in Northern California, July 26-August 1.


           
Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?
While teaching photography at Sacred Heart Preparatory in Menlo Park, California, I watched one being built in the campus courtyard. I began walking it between classes and found it helpful to center myself and reduce the stress of teaching. I introduced students to the labyrinth, and we walked it on the first day of the semester to set an intention and on the last day to talk about lessons learned and their next steps.
When did you discover you had a talent in designing and creating labyrinths?
A few years later, following a heartbreaking divorce, my life was in chaos and I struggled with many losses including my identity. Remembering my experience at Sacred Heart, I built a Classical stone labyrinth for myself along a public path by the ocean. By walking it regularly, I found peace and healing, plus, to my surprise, others were walking the path too. It wasn’t my labyrinth; others had also reinforced and energized the design. For five years it remained with little upkeep. Even without a sign of invitation or a description of what to do, people found their way into the center and had their own meditative experience. Many thanked me for creating that space and asked me to help build labyrinths in their backyards, at festivals, and then a vineyard.


How did you learn about Veriditas?
The first time I walked the indoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, I was surprised to meet Lauren Artress at the entrance of the labyrinth! I hadn’t read her books or met her before, but I knew she was the one who had brought the Chartres labyrinth to San Francisco. I saw a Veriditas flyer and signed up for a Grace pilgrimage. When I read Lauren’s book “Walking a Sacred Path,” I smiled reading the final line, “I look forward to meeting you by a labyrinth.” That was exactly what had happened. The next year I enrolled in a design workshop with Robert Ferre again at Grace Cathedral. I jumped at the chance to learn from the experts about all aspects of the labyrinth -- its spirituality, design, and history while continuing to build, photograph, and share my experience with others.
Do you consider Robert to be a mentor?
When I took the first workshops with Lauren and Robert, I immediately sensed how much experience and wisdom they had and felt so blessed to be in their presence with their openness and approachability. Shortly afterwards, while researching online about professional labyrinth builders, I found Robert’s website. In his newsletter, he spoke about wanting to retire and closing his workshop in St. Louis. He had been building labyrinths for 15 years and lamented giving up the trade as a labyrinth builder without passing on the torch. In his last line, he wrote, “Hello, is there a younger generation out there to carry this work into the future?” Shivers went down my spine. I emailed him, saying that I was 35-years-old and would like to learn the art of sacred geometry and his profession. He responded, saying he would be happy to have me assist as an apprentice. I am so blessed and happy to have Robert and Lauren as mentors. About the same time, I completed the facilitator training at Chartres Cathedral--a truly numinous experience. I arrived early, meeting you and other builders in a workshop with Kimberly and Jeff Saward, the preeminent experts on the history of labyrinths. The building team needed some help in the last days of creating the St. Yves labyrinth, and Lauren asked if I might lend a hand. I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? How am I so blessed to study with all these trailblazers?!’
You were obviously in the right place at the right time. What is your primary focus now?
I am trying to fulfill my dream of becoming a full time labyrinth designer and builder. With Robert I have installed labyrinths at churches and universities, learning to produce replicas of the Chartres and Santa Rosa Labyrinths to 1/16”! I have presented at the last three Annual Gatherings of the Labyrinth Society and am now the coordinator of World Labyrinth Day. I joined the

 

Labyrinth Guild at Grace Cathedral to help facilitate monthly candlelight walks with music.This January I had an incredible

experience over two weeks at Punahou School on Oahu, Hawaii. I was invited to speak to the students at chapel and created my own challenge: to build a temporary labyrinth on campus each day for ten days. It’s one thing to speak about labyrinths, and another to provide an opportunity for people to experience them. In this case I had the privilege of doing both. It felt like a dream come true to be speaking, teaching, building, and walking labyrinths every day with people of all ages.


Was your labyrinth at the Veriditas Gathering in February 2014 one of your first painted canvas labyrinths? I so enjoyed walking it on that rainy Saturday morning.

Yes! It’s an eleven circuit Classical labyrinth based on the Visby Trojaborg in Sweden. Many people know the Chartres labyrinth, but surprisingly few have walked a Classical labyrinth, especially with eleven circuits. Robert taught me the process. I’ve now painted five labyrinths including my first canvas commission for a church in Wisconsin, a referral from Lea Goode-Harris with whom I worked on a church installation. She asked me to be the sole creator of Santa Rosa Labyrinths on canvas, so in addition to building outdoor labyrinths, I also offer portable canvas labyrinths from twelve to thirty-six feet in almost any pattern!




Why do you think the labyrinth offers such satisfying life experiences to you?

Labyrinths bring together many interests and passions of mine, including spirituality, history, geometry, improvisation, public service, teaching, and creating art by hand. It is a holistic pursuit, one that I approached equally as a builder and facilitator. Plus, it summons me into new areas, such as the history of sacred sites and the design principles of seed patterns. Today we benefit from both the Internet and cellular technology but are also burdened by information-overload and hyper-connectivity. Finding our own sacred time and space for self-reflection is critical to regain balance and listen to our own inner wisdom.

What has been a recent challenge in your labyrinth work?

To celebrate the recent summer solstice I created a labyrinth based on the design of a clock, a circle divided into twelve sections. The ‘Man in the Maze’ has paths that lead in and out, as well as around the perimeter. After many late night and early morning sketches, I discovered an adapted design that mirrored the clock pattern. I taped it on the floor of my local community center for an art walk complete with a clock in the center for people to reflect on time during the longest day of the year. I’m always challenging myself to try new variations in an attempt to create experiences that better resonate with the intention, audience, and environment. For Veriditas Summer School this July I’ve again challenged myself to create a new labyrinth each day with different materials and designs.


You mentioned remembering the last lines of written words from Lauren and Robert.
What do you want as your last lines here?

The labyrinth is an invitation. As facilitators, builders, workshop leaders, or public speakers we open the path to others with authenticity and inspiration. And yet it is neither the labyrinth itself nor our individual experience that is most valuable to others; it is providing the opportunity and encouragement to realize their own experience.

Message from Lars: I can’t wait to walk, study and learn alongside everyone at Summer School this July. If you’re coming, I can always use a hand in creating the six temporary labyrinths. Perhaps you will be a participant who carries the seed patterns to far away lands so that others might discover labyrinths some time and place where they are needed.


To view more projects and photos by Lars Howlett see: www.DiscoverLabyrinths.com and Facebook.com/DiscoverLabyrinths



Donor Spotlight

By Rita Canning, Development Coordinator

For the month of June I had the honor of interviewing Rev. Karin Mitchell, Rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Cranbury, New Jersey. She is a trained labyrinth facilitator and Veriditas donor.

Rita: When did you first encounter the labyrinth?
Karin:
In the 1990’s. St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey had a monthly labyrinth walk. At the time a friend of mine was dying and being very intentional about it. Myself and a group of friends were working through it together with her with Steven Levine’s book “A year To Live”. At one point we all went up to St. John’s together and walked the labyrinth. It was really wonderful. After that I walked it with friends a few times and also walked some outdoor labyrinths up in Vermont. So that was the beginning of it for me.
Rita: How did you get involved with Veriditas and Lauren?
Karin:
I knew of Lauren before meeting her and had found her book “Walking the Sacred Path” early on. I was a student of Princeton Theological Seminary when she came and did a labyrinth workshop there. I think that was the first time I met her. In 2001 I went to Chartres for the first time on one of the pilgrimages just before I was ordained. It was a sort of graduation present to myself. It was wonderful. The labyrinth there is just amazing! Lauren, the staff and volunteers who were there did a great job of giving us the information we needed. They presented it in a way that was accessible and didn’t overload us so that we could really experience it. I went with my college roommate, my best friend who was a finance person who didn’t know what she was getting into but she loved it also. I remember the first time I did the evening walk at Chartres I thought “Well, that was great but I didn’t have any kind of mystical experience”. My friend said “Oh, my gosh, when you were sitting in the center you were in a blaze of Light. It was amazing.” So I realized that sometimes you don’t even know when these things are happening and sometimes it is reflected to you and sometimes it is reflected to others. It was a real learning experience for me. This dear friend was also instrumental in me getting the canvas labyrinth that I use at our church. She
 

received a matching grant from her place of employment to pay for it! It is really well received and I’m looking forward to having more walks, which I am planning on for this year.


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


Karin:

I’m still finding my way as a facilitator. I find that it is a wonderful way for people who are not comfortable coming in the front door to Sunday worship. The labyrinth creates a new, safer way for people to engage with the church. They find an expression for their spiritual journey. I’m seeing it as being for people inside and outside the church. It’s exciting. Being trained as a facilitator has really given me what I need to go forward with labyrinth projects. I advertise outside the church and will be doing that more and more as we move forward with this year.


Rita: Why do you donate to Veriditas?


Karin:

I really believe in the labyrinth as a way to reach out to people and give expression to their spirituality; to give people a way to access the holy. I know a lot of people are turned off by institutional religion and I just want to keep the pathways open. I believe that Veriditas is a really important part of that and without people who are intentionally supporting and promoting this work, empowering this work, it won’t happen. Lauren has been important to me and my spiritual journey; it’s important to me to support that work where I can for the greater world and the greater church. I’m grateful that Veriditas has been there, that I can have a place of support and colleagues who are out there doing the work. Wonderful to have that. Thank you to all of you.



Veriditas Survey: And the Winner is ...

















 

Dear Veriditas Community,

We are so grateful to all who participated in our recent survey. Thank you for all you shared with us. 

We would like to congratulate Glenda Anderson of Tucson, AZ who won the drawing for the wooden finger labyrinth!
Your labyrinth is on its way to you!



Global Healing Response


The Global Healing Response, founded in 2005 by Council member Ellen Bintz Meuch, offers an annual theme and quarterly ideas and information to enrich labyrinth walks. The GHR theme for 2014 is Unity and the focus for this quarter is Affirmation/Diversity. The quote is by Ani DiFranco: “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” The second quarter is posted on the website, www.globalhealingresponse.com. We encourage you to visit the site soon and often.
 

Little Miracles on the Path


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


Veriditas Annual Auction



October 6th to October 27th


The Veriditas organization is growing along with the work of the labyrinth in the world! We have found an easy and fun way to support this growth - and shop for cool stuff at the same time. Our On-line auction, powered by BiddingForGood, is fast approaching. Bidding begins in October. So, now is the time to build a fantastic auction catalog of items. Thanks, in advance, for your interest and support!

Two Ways to Help

Donate an Item


Donating an item is easy! (It’s even easier than listing an item on eBay). Just go to www.biddingforgood.com/veriditas and click “Donate an item.” You will need a digital photo of your item and a description for the listing. If you have any trouble listing an item please contact Joyce Krajian.

Donation ideas include labyrinth items, music, artwork, gift cards to national restaurants or stores (i.e. Starbucks, Borders), getaway vacation sites, services, books signed by authors - you get the idea! No item is too small! It’s great to have a wide price range of things to choose from.

Sponsor our Auction:


There are literally thousands of people who receive the information about our auction and are interested in the labyrinth. So, if you are a labyrinth vendor, artist, author, restaurant or store owner, this is a great way to advertise!!!


 

Bid on an Item


Beginning on October 6th the auction will be open. Please visit the Veriditas BiddingForGood site often to view our catalog of exciting items. It’s fun to check on your items and bids!

The auction site can be reached at www.biddingforgood.com/veriditas. If you have any trouble, please don’t hesitate to contact Joyce Krajian. She will send you an easy link via email.

Feel free to pass this information on to anyone who you think might be interested!

Bid high and Bid often!

Questions? Contact Joyce Krajian at veriditasauction@gmail.com

Help spread the word about our auction on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also download an item donation form here to print and share with your local community.

Questions? Contact Joyce Krajian at veriditasauction@gmail.com

Help spread the word about our auction on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. 
You can also download an item donation form here to print and share with your local community.




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

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

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