Archive for August, 2018


8.25.18 … It’s called “sacred geometry.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC, sacred geometry, walking the circumference:

So I was reading an article the other day by a labyrinth walker, and he/she recommended walking the circumference of the labyrinth prior to walking the path. I thought that interesting. So at Myers Park Baptist, I walked the circumference. Why does it not surprise me that the number of lunations in each quadrant does not match up to my expectation…there were around 100? The artist who created this labyrinth followed the Chartres design but ignored sacred geometry, specially altering the number of petals in the center, 7 instead of the original 6.

People really analyze this stuff. It’s called “sacred geometry.”

“Only, how should one count, actually? The lunations around the labyrinth are made of circular parts which like gear wheels are built of jags and bowl-shaped deepening which are cut off in the upper part. I propose to call a gear wheel with a quarter circle on both sides as one element. Single components in the labyrinth are constructed like this, as the joints in the photos show (e.g., element 58 middle part at top).

The blue drawn unity should be counted as one element. If one applies this to the complete labyrinth, 114 elements arise in the closed labyrinth. If one cuts out one for the entrance, we have 113 remaining elements.�One could also count the “bowls” instead of the “peaks”. Then we would have 112 complete and two half parts (at the entrance). However, all together we would have again 113 items.”

Source: How many Lunations has the Chartres Labyrinth? | blogmymaze,

The last couple days have been significantly cooler. Thursday morning, two days ago, tied the record low for this time of year at 55°. I had heard that summer would return, and, voilà, it was here today.

There’s not much to hear this morning, the sounds of traffic on Roswell Road, of crickets and of a few birds. The sun w bright overhead.

I mentioned a few days ago that there is now a Friendship Garden over in the corner. I checked it out today. I looked through pictures from years of walks, no garden or fence in March 2018.

And here is the Facebook Post of Clive Johnson to The Labyrinth Society page on 8/19/18:


I’ve been reading Patrick Adrian’s deeply thought-provoking book, “Labyrinths and their Secrets”. In it, he talks about the power of the spiral, a path which you follow without needing to change direction. It got me wondering about the power and mystery of walking a spiral, and indeed, walking a circle. This seemed the place* to pose the questions – what are our experiences of walking a spiral? Archetypally and in other ways, what might be different about walking one as opposed to walking a labyrinth?

I think my own experience of walking a spiral is quite limited, mainly involving a ritual of taking something or a question into the centre, and/or bringing something out. As a pattern, it may well speak to the subconscious in some way, as may all the archetypes of different labyrinth patterns. With a spiral, like with a labyrinth, there is a centre to connect with, and a going in and a coming out, while a circle seems more about containing or making or holding a border. But maybe I’m making an assumption about this?

In hosting labyrinth walks, the practice of walking a circle is much more familiar to me, as I usually circle the labyrinth when holding the space. This seems to connect me with the labyrinth ‘s energy and, when also reciting the loving kindness (metta) prayer, which starts with a small focus such as a single person or place, and then expands out to a larger group or geography, I do tend to start a bit of an outward spiral with this. So there does seem to me to be something meaningful about walking a non-twisting path.

I’m curious to know what other thoughts and experiences we may have. Are there many spirals out there as there are labyrinths, or are they, along with the circle, so fundamentally a part of our natural navigation that there’s little need for a printed path to follow?

And just one further question that came to my mind while pondering this topic (maybe I should give this a try) – has anyone had experience of walking a spiral with three and a half rings? This, in the form of a coiled snake, is the symbol of the Kundalini that is usually dormant within us, I believe. Would walking out from the centre be a practice for allowing the Kundalini energy to rise?

Nature has its many spirals too, of course, from the intricate swirls of a millions-year-old shell, to the great swirls of the cosmos. Awe inspiring.

* I will cross-post in the Labyrinths in Britain group too, as not everyone there is connected with TLS (do join, you lot – you are missing a lot, including two wonderful labyrinth journals! There, my TLS regional rep’s job done for today!).



8.24.18 … “Curiosity does, no less than devotion, pilgrims make.” – Abraham Cowley (English Poet 1618-1667)

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC, Red Boot Way, Camino de Santiago

This post is going to ramble.

After attending the 7:15 AM weekly Red Boot Way Meeting where we focused on Step Eight (I approach my life and those in it with wonder and curiosity. I am curious), I headed over to Avondale for a quick walk at the Labyrinth.

But first, at the Red Boot Way Meeting, I listened more than talked, and the words I heard repeatedly were curious, joy, judgment, empathy, South Africa. I love this group and our conversations.

As I left the group, and as I was headed to a coffee gathering with a several friends to discuss our shared experiences as pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, I made time for a quick walk at Avondale. I quickly realized that someone had used Round Up to get rid of the weeds that I have commented on all spring and summer. And that took me back to my earlier RBW conversation where the Round Up judgment was mentioned, a judgment in excess of $300 million , and I have no idea why it came up. Curious.

There were lots of sounds at the labyrinth today, primarily those of yard crews working both on the campus of Avondale Presbyterian as well as in nearby yards. I realized that this is not a sound of my childhood growing up in busy near downtown Atlanta. My family had a manpowered push mower and there was no such thing as a leaf blower.

As I was leaving Avondale, I noticed the circle/spiral walking feature in the adjacent part of the Sacred Garden. I recently read an article about these, I am going to have to find it.

I then headed to Mayo Bird for coffee. There were three of us and we discussed our Camino pilgrimages. It is amazing the things we had in common as well as the things that were different. I took my iPad and flipped through my pictures as we talked. I realized very quickly that some of the things that I noticed repeatedly as I walked were the domesticated farm animals, public art, holloways and in general where my feet fell.

And as I was preparing this post, I ran across this quote on William and Mary’s Institute of Pilgrimage Studies website:

“Curiosity does, no less than devotion, pilgrims make.”

– Abraham Cowley (English Poet 1618-1667)

It is amazing how things come full circle.




8.14.18 … “who lived in pilgrimage from right now to the wondrous not yet”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ – Charlotte NC:

My labyrinth walking companion and I ventured across town to this lovely labyrinth. It was a second walk for me and a first for Toni.

As we walked in under the chime tower, the intentionality of every aspect of the garden jumped at me: the memorial bricks in the walkways, the 3 distinct circular areas, the memorial benches, the multitude of random cairns (intentional and random, an oxymoron?), the vine arbors, the hiking trails, the vintage baptismal font and, of course, the labyrinth.

Since our last walk together had focused on whether quiet and stillness were necessary for an optimal labyrinth, we reassessed the issue here. Although this church has extensive wooded areas, the noise from Harris Blvd., a virtual highway, was constant, and we as experienced walkers could shut it out. Could a newcomer to labyrinths?

I again noticed all the details here, the stuff. Today the writings on the benches and the cairns, many, many cairns jumped at me. The antique baptismal font is a nice touch. Today it was a mosquito breeder.

I was amazed at the number of engraved bricks. These were important to Toni as she is planning a legacy labyrinth at her church.

The labyrinth was difficult to see because there was not enough contrast between path and walls. Today the shade/not shade played with me. And it was very difficult to see the path in this light.

I did hear the cicadas and air traffic noises and the constant din of Harris Blvd.

This labyrinth is about 40 minutes from my home, and despite being only 7 circuits, it was well worth a visit because of the clear intentionality by this congregation to make a sacred space.

And I still like this memorial bench:

In loving memory of … who lived in pilgrimage from right now to the wondrous not yet.”


And a few quotes that caught my attention:

I ran across the great intro to labyrinths: Walking into Stillness: Encountering the Labyrinth on Vimeo …

“It may feel like stillness created through movement.”

I ran across the great intro to labyrinths: Walking into Stillness: Encountering the Labyrinth on Vimeo,


And a recent conversation reminded me of Chicago’s oversized softballs …

I get it, Chicago. We are a prideful people who love the things that make us us: The lakefront. Deep-dish pizza. Da Bears. Marshall Field‘s (RIP). And 16-inch softball.

While I will steer away from the argument of which version of softball is best — 12-inch, 14-inch or 16-inch (I’ve played in all three leagues) — what is clear is that 16-inch softball just isn’t worth Nate’s sort of fallout.

Sixteen-inch softball crosses the threshold of what can be considered “reasonable risk.” — Josh Noel

Source: Quit 16-inch softball; your fingers will thank you – Chicago Tribune,


8.12.18 …” What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” -JA

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

I’m really feeling the heat. And the heat, with singing bugs and the light breeze in the heat, seems to intensify my headache. I’m feeling very inelegant. So Jane Austen has inspired me here …

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.

– Jane Austen

And I notice for the first time a Friendship Garden? How could I have missed it before?

So I had to ask, what am I hearing? From this, probably cicadas.

By their songs

If locality and season are taken into account, the call of a singing insect can be used to identify its species. However, it is sometimes difficult to judge which major category of singing insect is producing an unknown call. In difficult cases, you may need to locate the songster. Here are some guidelines that may help:

Cricket songs are musical to the human ear because their carrier frequencies are relatively pure and low.

Katydid and cicada songs sound buzzy, raspy, or whiney, because their carrier frequencies are less pure and are higher than those of crickets. Cicadas call almost exclusively during daylight hours and at dusk, usually from trees and shrubs, whereas most katydids call only at night and many are not resticted to woody vegetation.”

Source: Recognizing crickets, katydids, and cicadas,


Thin places:

At the beach, I’m confronted with God’s creation on a grander scale. I look out across the ocean and realize that there’s another continent on the other side of this body of water, that underneath the waves are billions of life forms that we’ve only begun to understand and document, and that all of this is part of God’s creation. At the beach, I don’t feel overwhelmed by responsibilities; I feel overwhelmed by the beauty of creation. I feel free to read, stare at the waves and even nap! (I almost never nap, but the beach reminds me how wonderful that can be!) The beach is a thin place for me because it changes my attitude so that I am more open, at peace and better able to experience God.

Source:Finding God at the beach – The Presbyterian Outlook,

NYPL, before we had the internet, librarians, libraries:

Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everythingfrom queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles.

A few years ago, staffers in the New York Public Library’s reader services division drafted a blog post about how to track down a book when its title eludes you. This post spurred a follow-up, in which reader services librarian Gwen Glazer recommended library resources and a number of other strategies (among them are Goodreads groups, a sprawling Reddit thread called whatsthatbook, an indie bookseller in Ohio who is happy to poke around for a $4 fee). Thanks to Google—“how to find a book”—many stumped people seem to land on that post, and they have often written about their enduring puzzles in the comments section. The messages now number in the thousands. Glazer says she often arrives at work to see another 10 title requests.

Source, The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books – Atlas Obscura ,

Thin places, NYPL, before we had the internet, librarians, libraries


8.7.18 … “Quiet spaces have long helped humans find their grounding. Many of the world’s major religions rely on quietness, from moments of silent devotion in Catholic Mass to Buddhist meditation to Trappists monks who observe a vow of silence.

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Morning Star Lutheran Chapel-Matthews NC:

I’ve noticed it before, but the birdbath is lovely and today the sprayer was on. The fountain was also running at full tilt; not only did it make a nice visual, but also a nice sound oasis. The birds were singing and crickets chirping.

A section of the fence in the columbarium has been out for a while. Today, there were marking strings and digging. Are they going to do a new columbarium feature?

There has been significant attention to this labyrinth this year. I have noted before the cleaning, the increase in the plantings and the rocks. Today, someone has collected many of the rocks and placed them in the center area.

Because there is no wind today, at first I did not hear the chimes. But as I approached the center, I heard them very faintly ringing.

Recently, I had a long discussion with a friend about the importance of quiet at labyrinths. The day after we had the discussion, I found this:

“Quiet spaces have long helped humans find their grounding. Many of the world’s major religions rely on quietness, from moments of silent devotion in Catholic Mass to Buddhist meditation to Trappists monks who observe a vow of silence.

‘Silence is a way to get clear and ask questions about what kind of world we are building,’ Timothy Gallati, a Harvard Divinity School MDiv student studying contemplation in nature, told me.

Yet quiet is disappearing at an alarming rate. The furthest you can get from a road in the Lower 48 is a whopping 19 miles, making cars one of the most ubiquitous sources of noise pollution. Air traffic is increasingly crowding our skies. Subways roar, people yell, jackhammers, well, jackhammer. And all this sound is doing a lot more than breaking our concentration.”

Source: The Quietest Place In America Is Becoming a Warzone,

And to close today, Madeleine L’Engle:

“God will help us, even if it’s in an unexpected and shocking way, by swooping down on us to wrestle with us. And in the midst of the wrestling we, too, will be able to cry out, “Bless me!” I am certain that God will bless me, but I don’t need to know how. When we think we know exactly how the one who made us is going to take care of us, we’re apt to ignore the angel messengers sent us along the way.”

Source: Madeleine L’Engle, A Stone for a Pillow

I’m in the middle of some serious wrestling …



8.6.18 … And I’m still missing the old oak tree …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC, Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Jane Austen, perennial philosophy, Aldous Huxley, Lascaux Caves in France, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene“ :

Well, it’s unbearably hot today. And I feel like frogs are over there croaking. Someone has placed some pine cones fortuitously for me to view, and I find an ant bed and some wild mushrooms.

Before I walk I read a chapter of Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene“ which I will be using in my Tuesday Morning Bible Study this fall. I am not Catholic, so I have not paid much attention to Mary Magdalene or any of the other Marys for that matter. I will say that I grew up thinking that she was a prostitute… Maybe it’s because in the 60s she was portrayed that way in Jesus Christ Superstar. Very interesting.

I have noted before that one of my favorite features of Facebook is that it tells you everything you have posted on a given day through the years. In 2014, I was at the Lascaux Caves in France. Today, I found this quote on Richard Rohr’s site:

Some of the earliest evidences of human expression—dating over 40,000 years ago—can be found in the caves of Indonesia, France, and Spain. While the original meanings of these paintings are unknown to us, many anthropologists suggest “shamanism” or what we might call mystical consciousness and connection to the spirit-filled world.

There are no doubt significant differences in belief and practice between ancient traditions (as there are today between Christian denominations, other religions, and Native spiritualities). However, religious historian Karen Armstrong gives us a glimpse into what this spirituality may have looked like:

We know that shamanism developed in Africa and Europe during the Palaeolithic period and that it spread to Siberia and thence to America and Australia, where the shaman is still the chief religious practitioner among the indigenous hunting peoples. . . . [We learn from today’s shamans that] shamans have bird and animal guardians and can converse with the beasts that are revered as messengers of higher powers. The shaman’s vision gives meaning to the hunting and killing of animals on which these societies depend.

The hunters feel profoundly uneasy about slaughtering the beasts, who are their friends and patrons, and to assuage this anxiety, they surround the hunt with taboos and prohibitions. They say that long ago the animals made a covenant with humankind and now a god known as the Animal Master regularly sends flocks from the lower world to be killed on the hunting plains, because the hunters promised to perform the rites that will give them posthumous life. Hunters often . . . feel a deep empathy with their prey.

The images [on the cave walls] may depict the eternal, archetypal animals that take temporary physical form in [our] upper world. All ancient religion was based on what has been called the perennial philosophy, because it was present in some form in so many premodern cultures. It sees every single person, object, or experience as a replica of reality in a sacred world that is more effective and enduring than our own. [1]

Even in such an early, primal religion we can see the idea of this world as “image and likeness” of Ultimate Reality, and how the perennial idea of our connectedness with everything calls us to be respectful and compassionate toward all.

Source: Primal and Indigenous Spirituality, Shamanism, Monday, August 6, 2018, Hiroshima Day,

Because for the last several years I have studied Richard Rohr and several of his cohorts and their writings on non-dual spirituality, I have become very aware of the term “perennial philosophy.” Anyone else run across that term? It appears Aldous Huxley may have popularized it.

Many thinkers have identified common strands in systems of thought and religions through the ages. In 1945 Aldous Huxley wrote of a perennial philosophy “that recognises a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent ground of all being”. He said that it could be found in both “traditional lore” and the “higher religions”, in every era.

Was Huxley right? Is there an eternal truth, that we keep on discovering – whether it’s a “divine reality” or something better formulated in another way? And if so, what is its nature – is it outside us? Is it simply an aspect of the way our brains are wired?

Source: Is there a perennial philosophy? | The question | Opinion | The Guardian,

And another quote to ponder …

For [Jane Austen and the readers of Pride and Prejudice], as for Mr. Darcy, [Elizabeth Bennett’s] solitary walks express the independence that literally takes the heroine out of the social sphere of the houses and their inhabitants, into a larger, lonelier world where she is free to think: walking articulates both physical and mental freedom.

― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

And I’m still missing the old oak tree.



8.2.18 … Amen to holiness, stillness, reverence, nature, simplicity, and grace on the path …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

And now it is August. And it is hot; the cicadas are chirping and the cars are rumbling down Roswell, the residential side street near the labyrinth.

I am thinking of my son Jack and his great life of adventure in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. This week two father daughter teams from Charlotte are in the Park. For one, it is a first time for backcountry adventure, and, for the other, I think it is just one in a series of such adventures. I love it that they are interested in Jack’s world and that I was able to share and encourage these friends to go visit. This is an interesting peek at what he does:

I continue to find myself open to and moved by quotations shared by friends and influencers in social media. This is one written by a friend I met through Red Boot Way.

Take me now

To feel this holiness

This satiated stillness

Absolve me now

To see this reverence

This nature’s way

Release me now

To sanctify this simplicity

This eternal Grace

Slay me now

To forgive the path that strives

To be anything but this


Love, Sybil

And I take note of the juxtaposition of a backcountry adventure trip and a walk on a labyrinth. But I’m beginning to ponder the similarities.

Amen to holiness, stillness, reverence, nature, simplicity, grace on the path.


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August 2018