What would it be like to walk the cathedral labyrinth in Chartres, France without the building? The setting of each labyrinth profoundly influences the walker’s experience. When I arrived at the Centennial Parklands labyrinth in Sydney, Australia all I saw was a large slab of stone in the middle of a dry field. Fortunately it revealed its beauty to me in many ways.
As I circled it in preparation for my prayer walk on this labyrinth, I noticed the great variety of tree species that surrounded it. The sounds of bird calls from the forest, ponds, and near-by trees began to register next. Then, birds and bats, seen as shadows moving across the labyrinth, revealed themselves. A ground pattern that seemed isolated and static had quickly become lively and lovely as I experienced it in context.
Once I entered the labyrinth the extraordinary workmanship quickly revealed itself. The shapes and proportions of this carefully laid out labyrinth set my body at ease.
People cycled, ran, and walked by. Many of them stopped at the sign welcoming them to the labyrinth.
One mother and her two children came to “walk.” The children, of course, made a game of it, chasing each other and seeing if they could get from the center to the threshold faster than their mom could get from the entrance into the center.
Another family who had been enjoying a picnic nearby thought the smooth surface of the labyrinth would be a wonderful place to play ball games, including soccer and basketball.
Later, when returning to the labyrinth after a walk in the park, very large bats took to the sky near the labyrinth.
This truly extraordinary labyrinth experience was the product of the magnificent sandstone below my feet, the companions beside and above me, the natural setting surrounding us all, God’s Spirit which accompanied me, and the pattern that helped me to focus my body, mind and spirit as I opened to all that was within and around.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who envisioned and realized this labyrinth. How I wish that every neighborhood had a labyrinth like this to bless it!
To find out more about this labyrinth or other labyrinths in Australia click on the links below.
You can read more about the history of this labyrinth at the Sydney Labyrinth home page.
You can also read more details related to the labyrinth on the World-wide labyrinth locator. Access a map to see the exact location of the labyrinth near the Willow Pond in the Park.
You can find information about labyrinths throughout Australia on the Labyrinth Link Australia website.
Taking one step at a time, I am spending this phase of my sabbatical in Australia, walking as many labyrinths as possible. I am not following a set itinerary, but am trusting the path as it unfolds below my feet. If you are a labyrinth enthusiast in Australia, perhaps we will find ourselves walking together at some point. I welcome emails using the contact form below and will respond as I am able (please be patient).