Archive for July 13th, 2019


7.13.19 … There must always be two kinds of art, escape art, for one needs escape as he or she needs food and deep sleep, and parable art, the art, which shall teach (humans) to unlearn hatred and learn love. ~W.H. Auden

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Eastminster Presbyterian Church-Marietta GA:

My day began with Saturday morning errands with my sister and a quick detour for a labyrinth walk.

First the laundry … Who still goes to the laundry? My sister and her husband for two … Shirts on hangers or folded?

Second, Starbucks … and the Saturday WSJ. Both are definitely addictions for me. I always think of the Joe Fox line in “You’ve Got Mail”:

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”

That was 1998. Mine in 2019 is vente skinny cinnamon dolce latte with steamed almond milk, light foam … $5.85 … an absolute defining sense of self? Hmmm

Third, a labyrinth walk. There was one close by at Eastminster Presbyterian, so we headed there. We pulled up to an H M Patterson & Sons, Funeral Directors, truck in the church parking lot. (And an aside … I have a visceral response to Patterson’s. Almost every Atlanta funeral in my life has been directed by Patterson’s. It has been THE Atlanta funeral home for decades. Their Spring Hill location was designed by Philip T. Shutze, the same architect who designed the Swan House.) Just seeing their truck changed the tenor of the banter with my sister.

As we walked around to the back of the church we tried to be inconspicuous to the early arriving funeral attendees who could see us through the clear glass windows of the sanctuary.

I always appreciate the wrought iron entrance gates to this memorial garden and my sister and I commented on them as we entered. And we couldn’t help but notice the intense morning sun as we entered the garden. And also the beautiful landscaping … This church’s grounds are beautifully landscaped. Today, I noticed the deep pink crepe myrtles, the tall evergreens forming a boundary at one side of the garden, the day lilies, and the new oak tree in one of the planters that shaded half the labyrinth and provided a wonderful play of light through its leaves. Another random thought was when did crepe myrtles become so popular in the South. I don’t remember many from my childhood. Now they are everywhere!

Walking this labyrinth was work. It is octangular rather than circular so every step seemed controlled rather than flowing.

At the center which contains the 72 niche columbarium, my sister and I noticed that each marker contains a citation for a bible verse. We laughed because our father’s grave marker contains the quote, “and to all a good night,” the closing line from “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Obviously beyond the scope permitted on these markers.

My exit walk was much slower than my entrance walk … which is an usual …

Afterwards I did a little research on this labyrinth and the Amiens Cathedral labyrinth on which it is based.

This labyrinth is octagonal … “Medieval, 11 Circuit Octagonal – Centered in the labyrinth is a Columbarium with 72 niches. They are both part of a memorial garden with over 1000 plants, shrubs, and trees.”

I found their online information interesting:


Eastminster’s Memorial Garden also features a Labyrinth patterned after the Amiens Cathedral labyrinth in Paris. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that represents wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It looks like a maze but is not. A maze is a left brain task that requires logical thinking and analysis to find correct paths. A labyrinth is a right brain task involving intuition, creativity, imagery, and the search for possibility. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead-ends. You cannot get lost. You just follow the path to the center and out again. A labyrinth walk can be a peaceful activity, helpful in centering your mind and attention on prayer of meditation of Scripture. Try walking “The Lord’s Prayer” or memorizing a verse of Scripture and walking with it through the turns. Or just spend some time with Jesus laying aside the cares and distractions of the world.

Labyrinth Pilgrims

Medieval pilgrims, unable to fulfill their desire to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, went instead to many pilgrimage sites in Europe or Britain. In many cases the end of their journey was a labyrinth formed of stone and laid in the floor of the nave of one of these great Gothic cathedrals. The center of the labyrinths probably represented for many pilgrims the Holy City itself and thus became the substitute goal of the journey.

Labyrinth Geometry

The sacred geometry of the labyrinth involves the numbers four, seven and twelve, emerging out of the “paths” and “walls” themselves. The labyrinth is divided neatly into four quarters standing, in the medieval mind, for the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Seven is the number of 180 degree turns there are in each quarter of the labyrinth. This relates to the seven Liberal Arts of medieval education, or perhaps the seven paths of the classic medieval cruciform labyrinths. Twelve is the total number of the labyrinth’s paths and center, thus relating it to the twelve-month calendar or the twelve disciples of Jesus. The six “petals” of the center of the Chartres labyrinth (and, in our case, the six facets of the Columbarium) provide individual opportunities for symbolic representation and meditation.

Always open. Come and enjoy this space dedicated to the glory of God. As we say at Eastminster, “At the heart of our fellowship is joy in communion with Christ.” Come and draw closer to Him.


Eastminster‘s labyrinth, as noted above, is a copy of Amiens Cathedral in France. Here is some info on Amiens:

The labyrinth of Amiens Cathedral (La cathédrale d’Amiens) is linked to the more famous labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral and has the same path arrangement and widths, but differs from its round counterpart in its octagonal shape. It was originally created in the late Middle Ages in the year 1288, roughly a decade after the cathedral itself was built. A medallion in the center of the maze commemorates the construction of the medieval cathedral.

Source: Amiens Cathedral Labyrinth – Amiens, France – Atlas Obscura,

And I saw this in the online description of a Lauren Artress workshop:

“The Parable of the Labyrinth: Walking the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice

with the Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress

There must always be two kinds of art, escape art, for one needs escape as he or she needs food and deep sleep, and parable art, the art, which shall teach (humans) to unlearn hatred and learn love. ~W.H. Auden

Spiritual practices are gaining in popularity during these chaotic times. They quiet the mind, open the heart and teach skills to navigate one’s interior world. Spiritual practices can be a ‘secular’ as knitting, or as sacred as icon painting. We will look at the broad array of practices and then focus specifically upon walking the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a three dimensional parable that teaches us, through our imaginations what we need to learn along the path of life.

You may have walked the labyrinth but never had a formal introduction to it, or, you may feel like a ‘failed’ meditator who could not quiet the mind during sitting meditation. All are welcome; please join me.”


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 620 other followers

July 2019
« Jun   Aug »