Labyrinth Learnings in Austin

Hospitality is one of the first words that come to mind and heart when I think of the labyrinths sprinkled throughout the Austin metro area. Many thanks to all who are responsible for their creation and maintenance!

Sign of welcome near the Covenant Presbyterian Church Labyrinth

Local elements made labyrinth experiences engaging, especially for someone from another part of the country. Texas limestone used as a design element was everywhere, as were other local rocks. The connection with the natural surrounding of the Texas Hill Country was experienced at every turn. Local tree groves housed many labyrinths. Live Oaks and other Texan trees sometimes had been incorporated as part of the path and the overall labyrinth experience. Turkey vultures common arial companions while walking, as were other local and migrating birds. Their singing, flying, and generally making their presence known enhanced the outdoor labyrinth environments. Using the Picture This app, I discovered the names and characteristics of local plants surrounding (and sometimes inhabiting) labyrinths that encouraged wildlife to feel at home in and near these sacred sites.

Central Medicine Wheel in the Lotus Bend Sanctuary three-circuit Roman-style labyrinth

The variety of labyrinth designs I encountered was extensive. Clearly, some had been constructed by well-seasoned professionals using materials that one might find anywhere around the United States (brick pavers for example). Most seemed to have been built by those experimenting with their own ideas of what labyrinth patterns and locals materials would suit their environments and needs. More than a few had been designed and installed as Eagle Scout projects. Proportions of the diameter of the center to the overall pattern varied. While the Chartres-style flower was incorporated in some of the labyrinths, most often the center was a simple circle. Often, there were stones for sitting in the center or other stone collections that had been placed there by walkers for personal or memorial purposes.

Labyrinth in the woods, Texas limestone on ground with a boulder and cross in the center. St. Thomas More Catholic Church
St. Thomas More Catholic Church Labyrinth: Texas limestone placed on the earth with a large boulder and a cross placed in a circular center

While each labyrinth had its own secrets to reveal, many labyrinths in the area seemed to be part of a larger vision of the hosting organization for a contemplative or ceremonial space. This was reflected on maps of the campuses I visited, laminated handouts found near the labyrinths, and on the websites of those communities that had installed labyrinths.

A pathway focusing on Holy Week is next to the labyrinth at the Christ Episcopal Church labyrinth in Cedar Park (near Austin). A reminder of the cock that crowed three times after Peter’s denial is pictured here. See John 13:38 & 18:27

Beauty, support, and inspiration are but three of the many gifts the labyrinths of Austin have offered. There are still so many labyrinths to discover here, so many labyrinth enthusiasts to meet, and so many labyrinth experiences to embody! Thankfully, with family living in the area, I have a reason to return for more labyrinth adventures.

Stones on cleared earth, Hyde Park Christian Church
Eleven-circuit Chartres-style labyrinth made of stones on cleared earth, Hyde Park Christian Church

Resources:

To find labyrinth information related to local labyrinths in Austin (or close to you) use the World Wide Labyrinth Locator, the Well-Fed Spirit Labyrinth Map of labyrinths in the United States, and the Austin Labyrinth Project (Google) Map.

Related Posts In The Austin Labyrinth Series:

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