Welcome to the MVUUF Labyrinth
The MVUUF Labyrinth has been carved into the sloping grassy hillside and is ready for you to come and spend some time walking the path. It takes 10-16 minutes to walk all the way in and out, plus whatever time you spend at the “center” near the wetlands. You can walk it any day you like.
I envision this as a metaphor for explaining Unitarian Universalism and furthering our own understanding of where we are on our own spiritual path.
I envision a resting place, a place to create a beautiful sacred connection to our wetlands and all the plants and animals that take sanctuary on our land.
I envision quiet solitude and group rituals, children running and laughing, moonlight walks, poetry stations, message rocks, pots of flowers, and unknown surprises that will reveal themselves in mysterious ways.
-Gail Cyan, creator of MVUUF Labyrinth
Mary Hamilton, teen author of this page, speaks with the creator of the MVUUF Labyrinth
When I first started on this project of creating a webpage to showcase the Labyrinth, I immediately wanted to ask some questions to the woman who came up with the whole thing, Gail Cyan. So I did, and here is what I learned.
What inspired you to create a labyrinth at our church?
Ever since walking a huge Chartres Cathedral grass cut Labyrinth at a time when I was seeking peace in the midst of tumultuous life events, I have sought to recreate this sacred space. At first I created what I called temporary yarn labyrinths in the grass at our former Oakwood church. I studied the many prominent ancient and more recent designs and discovered some universal qualities of how they were laid out. When we built our current building with this expansive grass lawn, I proposed the idea of creating a grass cut labyrinth. It took a full season for the path to fully establish.
How did you choose the design?
The design is a uniquely Unitarian Universalist layout that is responsive to its proximity to the beautiful wetlands on our property. The MVUUF Labyrinth retains the basic elements that are universal to labyrinths, a single path with no “choices,” a distinct beginning, middle passage, and end. The center is offset to be closer to the wetlands and positioned on the gentle slope to be able to view nature. Unique to this labyrinth is an asymmetrical meandering design that also contains an inner spiral where you cross over a Yin Yang symbol.
Why is the labyrinth important to the church?
A walking meditation space deepens a person’s connection with the divine and brings awareness to our internal conversations about the meanings of life. When you approach a labyrinth walk, you enter a heightened state of consciousness, often invoking a question. Shedding the mind chatter on your way in, the walking meditation focuses your thoughts and calms your spirit to a place where gentle revelations can happen.
Anything else you would like to tell me about the Labyrinth?
This labyrinth is ever changing and I would like to invite people to contribute to the space as they are moved. I would love to see “altar” spaces set up along the path that are representational of the many sources of spiritual wisdom. Native plants could be planted. Art sculptures or wind chimes would enhance the space. Anything that moves your heart into action would be welcome. This is a shared space that is open for creativity.
Read on to learn more about the history and use of labyrinths.
What is a labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a tool for a walking meditation. Labyrinths unlike mazes, which incorporate tricks and dead ends, only have one path leading to the center and then back out again. Labyrinths appear in a variety of forms and patterns throughout history dating back to around 2500 B.C. Our labyrinth is a non-traditional design with the “center” bringing us close to the wetlands—our sacred land.
The labyrinth is a symbol that can be found the world over in various forms, from the ancient Mediterranean, to Northern Europe, to Native American sites in Arizona. It has been used and interpreted in many ways. In the Christian tradition the labyrinth has long been thought of as a symbol of pilgrimage. Celtic folk tradition regarded the labyrinth pattern as a magical tool for communication with the other world. The Hopi tradition associates the labyrinth with the sacredness of nature because its spirals can be seen as the unfolding of a plant tendril.
Recently the labyrinth has re-emerged in a number of contexts. In the women’s movement it is identified it as a symbol of the Great Goddess. Practitioners of Yoga see seven-circuit labyrinths as representing the path of kundalini energy moving through the seven chakras (energy centers) of the human body. Creative practitioners of contemporary spirituality have favored labyrinths as sites for walking meditation. Walking into the labyrinth’s center and out again can be interpreted as a metaphor for life’s journey.
We envision this as an offering to our community—open and inviting to the public.