Posts Tagged ‘sacred spaces


2.1.14 … The first gesture of an architect is to draw a perimeter; in other words, to separate the microclimate from the macro space outside. This in itself is a sacred act. Architecture in itself conveys this idea of limiting space. It’s a limit between the finite and the infinite. From this point of view, all architecture is sacred. – Mario Botta …

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mario Botta, MARIO BOTTA: ARCHITECTURE AND MEMORY: What a great birthday celebration: an exhibit preview and dinner with the artist … I loved learning about an artist I knew very little about … who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! … I have been searching the internet for several quotes by Mario Botta that were included in the exhibit and I can’t find them … I must go back.  But this one is close:

The first gesture of an architect is to draw a perimeter; in other words, to separate the microclimate from the macro space outside. This in itself is a sacred act. Architecture in itself conveys this idea of limiting space. It’s a limit between the finite and the infinite. From this point of view, all architecture is sacred.

– Mario Botta

via Top 101 Exceptionally Badass Quotes About Architecture and Design.


Location: Fourth-floor gallery

On View: January 31, 2014 – July 25, 2014

Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory is an exhibition spanning the 50-year career of internationally acclaimed architect Mario Botta, the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art building and one of the century’s most fundamental contributors to postmodern architecture. Featured are sketches, architectural models and photographs exemplifying Botta’s use of geometric shapes that juxtapose lightness and weight. The exhibition runs January 31, 2014 through July 25, 2014.

via Bechtler Museum of Modern Art – Collection – Mario Botta – Mario Botta.

ARTchitecture, the 2014 gala, will highlight the upcoming exhibition Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory, which opens January 31, 2014. The exhibition will span the 50-year career of internationally acclaimed architect Mario Botta, the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art building and one of the century’s most fundamental contributors to postmodern architecture.

via Bechtler Museum of Modern Art – Event Schedule – Details – ARTchitecture — The Annual Fundraising Gala.

Wood model of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art,Charlotte (on right), Leeum Samsung Museum of Art , Seoul, (on left), part of the Mario Botta exhibition at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art,the exhibit opens to the public on Jan. 31,2014.

via Photos – Mario Botta Exhibit 01.26.14 –

sacred spaces:  Many of his works at the new exhibit were sacred spaces.  Unique juxtapositions …

In contrast to the wide-ranging lecture, the exhibition, The Architecture of the Sacred: Prayers in Stone, focuses on a specific building type — places of worship. The pared-down, articulate display features black-and-white photographs of 12 “sacred spaces” (11 churches and a synagogue). These are juxtaposed with collages of sketches on tracing paper which are mounted, overlapping like ideas, beneath Perspex.

The inclusion of actual design development sketches somewhat tentatively alongside bold photography of the completed buildings is a clever touch that brings into the exhibition space a sense of the alchemy of the design process. Minimal texts and simple plans encourage close scrutiny and comparative analysis of typologies and scales, while the black-and-white pictures stress the strong forms and the texture and materiality of the buildings.

The photography also emphasises the location of these buildings within their landscapes, especially those in Botta’s native Switzerland, such as the perilously perched chapel for a ski resort at Mount Tamaro (1996) and the cylindrical church of St Giovanni Battista (1998), with its distinctive elliptical roof created by slicing off the top of the volume an at angle. Both small churches seem to echo their spiritual function far and wide across big landscapes.

A series of 1:50 scale sectional models, all executed in wood and elevated on tall plinths constructed from “strata” of the same timber, communicates a sense of the continuation of earth into architecture that is clearly a preoccupation of the architect.

Botta’s buildings are characterised by their unashamedly simple, vaguely familiar forms. Pinning down precise visual references can prove difficult. For example, I am unsure whether the parish church of Beato Odorico da Pordenone in Italy (1992), with its off-kilter conical roof set within a strongly gridded, formal colonnade, evokes memories of a lost Mayan kingdom, a sinking Egyptian pyramid, or perhaps something closer to home such as an oast house in Kent.

The church buildings are both precise in their cultural and historical references and simple — and therefore universal — in their gestures. Perhaps it is this particular combination that has allowed for the export of Botta’s architecture, despite the fact that, in theory, the vernacular references should mean this isn’t an architectural language that will travel well.

Botta rejects the idea that he works with pre-conceived forms, arguing that his buildings are generated by a thorough working-through of programmatic considerations in sections, plans and models long before they are ever conceived of as “images”. Perhaps another reason why Botta’s apparently culturally specific architecture is ultimately transportable is that his architecture is rooted in tectonic values. These are definitely not buildings in contortion, and there is no sense of the uncomfortable striving that comes from stretching “new” materials beyond their capacities in the search for form.

Non-church projects covered in Botta’s talk ranged from a small winery in Tuscany to the remodelling of La Scala, Milan’s opera house (2004), as well as vast office buildings in Hydrabad and New Delhi (both 2003), several museums and galleries and one or two oddities such as his “Noah’s Ark” structure for a sculpture play garden in Jerusalem Zoo. With the possible exception of the terracotta-coloured Kyobo Tower in Seoul, South Korea (2003), which dwarfs the sprawling, low-rise city of grey concrete, none of these buildings seem particularly out of place.

via Spot of Botta | Review | Building.

Also insightful:


2.Stone, Light, Mountains: Mario Botta’s Churches In Ticino, Switzerland

Anat Geva Texas A&M University

“The chapel is a stone nail in the mountain. It was born of the need of man to possess the mountain” (Botta in Dupre 2001: 12)1


1.25.14 … pilgrimages and naked yoga …

I am having very strange FB conversations tonight … naked yoga and pilgrimages to Iona … some things just do not fit in the same “space.”

pilgrimages, Iona, sacred spaces, thin places:

I have been pondering pilgrimages … Iona is one of several that intrigue me. Your thoughts?  And some fun conversations … Wow, a

church youth group to Iona next summer. It sounds like a fabulous experience …  And I am very interested to know if the youth group “gets it”, i.e., does it open them up to a “thin place” type experience or is it merely a wonderful time together in a foreign country. My children gained much insight on mission trips regarding world poverty and Christian mission, but I never felt it stimulated “spiritual awakening.” But I did not think my children were ready for that either.


Your Invitation to Iona: a sacred place, in time and space.

So I assumed there would be a labyrinth … It is lovely …

It isn’t advertised on a map or in tourist brochures. Our guides knew about this labyrinth constructed in recent years.  Getting there was a walking pilgrimage of sorts. Over an hour each way across the island through lanes, fields and even part of a small golf course.

It is constructed of stones and the grass walkway is full of tiny daisies.  You can’t see it well in the photo, but if you look closely towards the sea, there is another smaller labyrinth.

This is the beach where Columba, the famous Catholic priest and missionary self-exiled himself from Ireland and founded a monastery that flourished during the dark ages and where many people from all over Europe were sent to study. All of this can be easily researched on the internet if you want to learn more.

I can talk about the feeling.  The location is on the southwest part of the island – cliffs on one side and to the right of this photo is the landing place of Columba and his twelve companions.  Pilgrims over many years have brought stones to leave on that portion of the beach, several mounds.  On this day the weather was overcast and there was a slight breeze.  It is a sheltered area and very inviting and unpretentious.  The builders of this labyrinth took great care in the location and also the variety of stones marking the labyrinth could be a book in itself – probably a poetry book as they convey imagery and metaphor.

It is a huge contrast to the Chartres labyrinth, but equally splendid.  I started humming a little tune walking the labyrinth at Chartres and found myself humming it again at Iona.

I first walked the smaller and newer one. In the middle I was inspired to do the movement pattern for the elements I recently learned while at Findhorn. Then I went and explored the beach. There was activity on the next door beach with the mounds of stones and we found out later that Neil Oliver who did the BBC Scotland Series (find it if you can) was filming a piece about coast lines.

Never mind. When I walked the larger labyrinth the experience was one of integration. There is the current pilgrimage, but also family and friends came to mind and locations that have meaning in my life. I thought about the elements and the creatures. I also felt a strong connection with the new Eagle Nest Labyrinth in Surrey.

Then thoughts related to relationship, lineage, life story came to mind. Three threads emerged – one is the ancestry of my family history, one is my current relationships and  story and the third is that other story line, the archetypal one where I might imagine or remember  living in other times and cultures other than those into which I was born.

All three threads are resources worthy of exploration. Perhaps there are more threads I will find along the way.

via Labyrinth Isle of Iona | ON THE MOVE.

coed naked yoga studio, NYC, News from the Field |  Interesting is one way to describe it!!

If you were offended by the transparency of the yoga pants Lululemon recalled last March, stay away from Bold & Naked, the first coed naked yoga studio in New York City.

Owners, Joschi Schwarz and Monika Werner believe that naked yoga allows participants to find a deeper connection with the world around them. When the popularity of Schwarz’s all-male naked yoga classes in Le Male Yoga in Chelsea rose, he opened Bold & Naked with Werner.

The studio offers various combinations of clothed, naked, same sex, and coed classes. And regarding the naked sessions and Tantric Yogassage offered: “If you are looking for an orgasm, you are in the wrong place,” the Bold & Naked website states.

“By shedding their clothes and practicing yoga in the nude, students literally drop the masks and labels they hide behind all day,” the website says. \”Practicing yoga naked frees you from negative feelings about your body and allows you to be more accepting of your physical imperfections.”

via Coed Naked Yoga Studio Opens in NYC | News from the Field |

And now some conversation excerpts …

“what? Ok this is just crazy”

“So many bad thoughts and visuals come to mind–all I can say is NO.”

“coed no less …”

“…downward dog (eeeeeewwwwwww)”

“Just the thought of this is horrifying….”


“I really doubt that it would free me of negative thoughts of my body image. On the contrary. I already find some coed yoga classes less than desirable.”

“This is just wrong! Yoga is supposed to be relaxing, not gross me out”

” I hope the woman in the picture consented to its internet distribution!”

“She must have or else her “child’s pose” would not have been so modestly contained!”

” I love Outside magazine’s postings … but I must admit this one threw me. I am still laughing at the thought.

“Pretty amazing that’s even legal!”

And the studio is called … Bold & Naked … LOL. I wonder if they have anybody horribly out of shape who \”boldly\” ventures in … At least the name warns folks!”

“you can check it out next time you’re here. I think the first class is free. Guessing it’s hot naked bodies with whips, but who knows!”

“Why don’t you go CW and tell me about it first!!”

“Don’t be so judgmental!”

“spiked dog collar optional”

“And it would be impossible for everything to “blade the side wall” during a side plank sorry–it’s the bad visual thing again).”

“you could come incognito and write an amazing article! We could wear those sheer outfits that J-Lo and Beyonce wear that look like you’re naked but you’re actually covered head-to-toe, and wear wigs and fake tattoos, and take on a discreet unpresuming attitude. Ha ha!”

“There is presbyterian minister in our midst. Oh, no … He’s been to Iona recently, maybe his next spiritual awakening will be at B&N. LOL”

” I want to come too. I could have air-brushed abs on my faux-naked outfit.”

“And you could wear your beard and pink wig!!”

“you would be the über cool one,  you might get  a cover story with that hot model look.”

“LOL … I am not sure what do do with this conversation … Add it to my clipping service? I might get bounced.”

” You asked for it–posting a naked yoga story!”

” I actually thought twice before I hit post.”

” Well, they do refer to Iona as “a thin place”! Don’t misunderstand me… I’m not necessarily advocating B&N Yoga…I just recognize that it may be okay for some people…if not me.”

“glad you hit “post”–this has been entertaining!”

“It will disappear …

USIS Fraud Charges, Edward Snowden,

The DOJ said that between March 2008 and September 2012, USIS filed at least 665,000 flawed background checks, which was about 40 percent of the total submissions.

“USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” DOJ said in its filing.

The payments to the firm ranged $95 to $2,500, depending on the type of background investigation. The lawsuit requested for a jury trial and seeks to recover treble damages and penalties.

Through a software known as “Blue Zone,” USIS was able to quickly make an electronic “Review Complete” notation without fully going through the mandated review process, DOJ said.

“By using Blue Zone, USIS was able to substantially increase the number of background investigations that could be dumped in a short time period,” according to the filing.

via USIS Fraud Charges: U.S. Brings Fraud Charges Against Firm That Vetted Edward Snowden |

Leo Tolstoy, quotes:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”-Leo Tolstoy

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech:

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.

“And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.”

via – Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech: Audio, Text And Photographs.

CEO Brian Moynahan, WEF, Davos:

Why do bank CEOs come to Davos?

We come to learn.

Its a chance for all the CEOs of all the institutions across the world to sit across the table …  and have a dialogue.

We come because our clients are here.

via Moynihan Says BofA Trading Consistent Amid Taper: Video – Bloomberg.

“Jerusalem”, cookbooks,  A friend is posting recipes from this cookbook.  I’m intrigued.

The first symptoms of “Jerusalem” fever appeared on New Year’s Eve: a friend rushed over at a party, breathless, her eyes bright.

“We have to do an all-‘Jerusalem’ dinner!” she panted, then immediately called dibs on making the chicken with clementines and arak.

“Jerusalem: A Cookbook” was written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, chefs who grew up on opposite sides of the divided city, Mr. Tamimi in the Arab East, Mr. Ottolenghi in the Jewish West. Both left Israel decades ago, live in London and are hardly celebrity chefs, although Mr. Ottolenghi’s last book, “Plenty,” was admired here among the vegetarian set.

The book’s recipes are traditional in Jerusalem, or loosely inspired by the city, gathering influences from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish cooks who live there, with flavors from almost everywhere else: Iran, Poland, Syria, Italy. Many of them have long lists of ingredients, including spices like sumac and za’atar, and are based on vegetables and grains. Chickpeas, lamb, eggplant and eggs turn up over and over again.

via ‘Jerusalem’ Has All the Right Ingredients –

global warming,  Forgotten WWI Battle, Peio’s war museum, Motherboard:

The local community has been laboring for years now to reveal the remains of this largely forgotten war. In 2004, Maurizio Vicenzi, a local mountain guide and head of the Peio’s war museum, discovered the bodies of three soldiers hanging upside down from an ice wall at an altitude of 12,000 feet—victims of one the highest front lines in history. Multiple findings followed. In one rare find, a team discovered a hidden ice tunnel, that, after being melted open with huge ventilators, turned out to house an enormous wooden structure used as a transportation station for ammunition and supplies.

All bodies that have since emerged pass through the office of Daniel Gaudio, a forensic anthropologist tasked to trace the identities of the war victims. Despite the fact that in most cases he’s able to extract the DNA from the corpses, he rarely succeeds. They’re missing contextual information, he says, that is necessary to determine the possible whereabouts of the families of the war victims.

To date, more than 80 bodies have appeared from the depths of the glacier. And more will surely follow. On the Italian side alone more than 750,000 soldiers died in battle, according to historian Mark Thompson, author of The White War. Next summer, archeological teams will continue their search for more remains of icy melee. And the bodies are certain to keep on coming—climate change looks certain to continue, even accelerate, the thaw.

For now, it’s winter. Not far from the place where the soldiers were first discovered lies Peio, a ski resort where Italians, Austrians, Germans and Russians are once again sharing the same mountain. They do so more peacefully now.

via Global Warming Is Thawing Out the Frozen Corpses of a Forgotten WWI Battle | Motherboard.

education, teaching, American History,, race v. diversity, civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

Unfortunately, the alternative may be that students never learn anything about Bob Moses at all, or about America’s founding contradiction.  “Race has always been at the heart of American History,” Branch said, and a glance at the headlines or the balkanized cafeterias of today’s high schools demonstrates that race – or it’s modernized, diluted form, “diversity,” are as relevant today as ever.  But if we knock U.S. history out of the curriculum and reduce the civil rights struggle to a non-threatening, non-controversial “MLK was a great man who had a dream”  cartoon, how will our children and grandchildren come to understand their country?

via Not teaching history – –

James Cone,  Taylor Branch,  MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality,  YouTube: 

via ▶ James Cone and Taylor Branch on MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality – YouTube.

Theologian James Cone and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch join Bill to discuss Dr. Martin Luther King\’s vision of economic justice in addition to racial equality, and why so little has changed for America\’s most oppressed.

via ▶ James Cone and Taylor Branch on MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality – YouTube.

Sue Grafton’s Kentucky Garden, Garden and Gun, Lincliff, Louisville KY:

Crime novelist and her husband transform the gardens of their 100-year-old Louisville home.

Kinsey Millhone, the spunky protagonist of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries, wouldn’t be caught dead spading compost onto a perennial bed. “I hate nature. I really do,” the fictional detective proclaims in F Is for Fugitive. Grafton, who has called Millhone her “alter ego,” admits she once shared those sentiments. How, then, to account for the garden transformation taking place at Grafton’s 1912 estate, Lincliff? Perched above the Ohio River eight miles east of downtown Louisville, the grounds were a vine-tangled mess when Grafton and her husband, Steve Humphrey, bought the place in 2000. Today, the once-crumbling fountain trickles and shimmers, boxwood parterres have been trimmed in-to shape, and a handful of spectacular new features, including an intricate knot garden, grace the property.

Humphrey, a philosophy of physics professor raised in south-central Los Angeles, is an equally unlikely suspect. “We had a tiny yard,” he says. “My father made the kids get up early on Sunday morning and hedge and weed. I never liked yard work, especially when forced to do it at gunpoint.”

The turnaround appears to be the work of professionals, but the couple swears no landscape designers played a part. So whodunit?

Upon further questioning, the truth emerges. “Something clicked when I met Sue,” Humphrey explains. “We rented a house when I was a graduate student at Ohio State, and I planted a vegetable garden. When we bought a house in Santa Barbara, I got into roses. I realized I love creating gardens.”

Grafton has a confession of her own: She’s becoming a garden lover, too. “Steve has taught me a lot about the virtues and benefits of a well-cared-for property,” she says.

Grafton grew up in Louisville but as a young woman, rebellious and burning with ambition, moved to California to become a writer. “When I left the state of Kentucky, it was ‘Thank you, Lord Jesus, I’m out of here!’” Grafton says. Decades later, after penning dozens of best sellers, she felt the pull of home. “I’ve been to a lot of places in the world. Coming back here, I realized Kentucky is quite beautiful. I’m proud to be a resident of this state.”

The couple’s original plan to build a house changed when Humphrey, touring a riverfront lot, scaled a hill and glimpsed Lincliff, a long-abandoned stuccoed Georgian Revival mansion. Their real estate agent told them the property was slated to be divided and sold off in small parcels. Smitten, they bought it all.

via Sue Grafton’s Kentucky Garden | Garden and Gun.

emotional intelligence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , Hitler, Atlantic Mobile:

Some of the greatest moments in human history were fueled by emotional intelligence. When Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream, he chose language that would stir the hearts of his audience. “Instead of honoring this sacred obligation” to liberty, King thundered, “America has given the Negro people a bad check.” He promised that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice,” and envisioned a future in which “on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Delivering this electrifying message required emotional intelligence—the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions. Dr. King demonstrated remarkable skill in managing his own emotions and in sparking emotions that moved his audience to action. As his speechwriter Clarence Jones reflected, King delivered “a perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion, of anger and hope. His tone of pained indignation matched that note for note.”

Recognizing the power of emotions, another one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century spent years studying the emotional effects of his body language. Practicing his hand gestures and analyzing images of his movements allowed him to become “an absolutely spellbinding public speaker,” says the historian Roger Moorhouse—“it was something he worked very hard on.” His name was Adolf Hitler.

via The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence – Atlantic Mobile.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Fitbit Flex , training,  I have one.

We gave a Fitbit Flex to three Team USA hopefuls: Eliassen, speed skater Brian Hansen and mogul skier Heather McPhie. All agreed to wear the device for a week in November and share their data, as well as details of their ascetic diets. Three reporters decidedly less active than the would-be Olympians also wore Fitbits for a week.

The results say a lot about what it takes to try to become a Winter Olympian, and plenty more about the effectiveness of those increasingly ubiquitous personal-fitness trackers.

Still, with a workout routine that involved mostly skating and cycling, Hansen started to get the same concerns about his workout that McPhie did. His left wrist, which wore the Fitbit, rests on his back as he circles the skating oval, and it doesn\’t move when he bikes. And yet, even with the manually-entered calories from an hour of cycling, or 40 laps around the 400-meter skating oval, his calorie count never surpassed 3,960. He averaged 3,518 through six training days in Milwaukee.

Hansen is hardly a slacker. That’s about 30% more than the reporters who wore the Fitbit for a week, even on days when they took more than 17,000 steps. But his output isn’t too far beyond the reach of a hard-core weekend warrior.

Eliassen, on the other hand, worked on an entirely different plane. Twice during her week training in Breckenridge, Colo., Eliassen cleared 7,000 calories, including the calories the gadget might have missed while she was on an exercise bicycle, doing calisthenics, weightlifting, skiing for as long as five hours, doing 90 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, 30 minutes of yoga or running. It was all part of her plan to win the first Olympic gold medal in slopestyle skiing. Even without adding calories that might not have been picked up from arm-swinging, Eliassen burned on average more than 4,400 on her hardest training days.

via Sochi Olympics: Measuring Every Step of Training –

Classic Sermon Index – Online Sermons by Famous Historic Preachers: Interesting! From a Davidson Classmate …

This is a great resource. 46,000 sermons from 100 AD to today indexed by scripture verse and author. Amazing. Pick a verse and read a sermon by Augustine or Chrysostom or Luther or Wesley or Barth. Many hundreds of ministers and thousands of sermons. This has been compiled by a patient and friend of mine over the past 20 + years. (He doesn’t sleep much. The product of his insomnia is now available to all of us!) He is talking to a number of seminaries about utilizing this resource. Please pass around to ministers, academics, theologians, Christians, students of the Word, and the intellectually curious. Check out this amazing resource.


Indexed by primary Biblical Text for simple Searching

via Classic Sermon Index – Online Sermons by Famous Historic Preachers.

man’s best friend, cats, me: This is so my house … two 12-year old bassets v. one 10-year-old black cat. Cat wins every time!!

via ▶ You Shall Not Pass, Dog – YouTube.

Lucky Charms, Pentatonix, tv ads, commercial,  iconic brands, new technology, YouTube, kith/kin, Atlanta:  And to close … I have been a lifelong fan of the kid cereal Lucky Charms (yes, it is a fact).  So, I was excited to see them using Pentatonix.  But unfortunately, the ad posted is a fail.  It does not do them justice and does not showcase their skill.  The Evolution of Lucky Charms (the second clip) is better. Well, I am glad they are making some money, but the ad really doesn’t showcase their talent.  An an aside, an Atlanta friend is working with Pentatonix on the campaign. He noted, “I think that it is an iconic brand that is looking for new ways to reimagine their advertising through new technology.”  Good point. I think I ‘ll go buy a box of Lucky Charms …

via ▶ Lucky Charms Pentatonix commercial – YouTube.


▶ Evolution of Lucky Charms (feat. Pentatonix) – YouTube.


11.9.13 … this guy is building a labyrinth in Seattle, and he is picking out every stone in the path for color and shape … “But I happen to know that when you build intention in to a landscape playing on its connection to the natural world and the cosmic forces that influence it that it actually has a presence that could be considered sacred.” …

Jeffrey Bale, World of Gardens: The Labyrinth Project:

In the fall of 2006 I was approached by a person, who helped spearhead the building of the Islandwood Environmental School on Bainbridge Island in Washington.  This is an amazing institution. It is hoped that every child enrolled in school in the Seattle region be able to go to Nature camp for one week at Islandwood, where they will be guided by graduate students in environmental education.  For many of the kids it is their first time in the woods.  I built a cistern there that collects the water from the Learning Center in 2007.  You can read an essay I wrote about it at:

Beyond this is a wonderful bronze prayer wheel, with a plaque explaining that you set an intention and spin the wheel 9 times.  A bell rings on the 9th rotation and your intention is sent out in to the World.  It is a popular destination for island residents and visitors.  On the Prayer Wheel is an inscription by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu.  It reads; “I have just three things to teach: Simplicity, Patience, Compassion”.

I’ve worked on a lot of projects in the last 25 or so years, and it has been very seldom that I have been asked to build something sacred.  I even had a client ask me in a sarcastic way when I finished her patio if she would have to meditate out there.  Heaven forbid.  But I happen to know that when you build intention in to a landscape playing on its connection to the natural world and the cosmic forces that influence it that it actually has a presence that could be considered sacred.  Animals are attracted by the energy these places emit.  I’ve had a Cougar, a Rattlesnake, a large banded lizard, a Great Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles visit the places where I’ve intended them to be magical.  As they are used over time for ritual and introspection they become loaded with memory and history that can trigger consciousness on a profound level.

Years ago I was approached by the TKF Foundation ( based in the Washington D.C. area to give a lecture on building sacred spaces.  TKF is known for installing Poetry Benches in troubled parts of the region, like Baltimore.  They also build labyrinths and gardens, sometimes in prisons.  After my presentation the architects in the audience and I focused our discussion on the ethical gathering of materials as a basis for creating sacred landscapes.  They were interested in having me build a labyrinth for them but there was no real idea of how laborious it would be to build a pebble mosaic labyrinth.   Eventually they asked me if I would do one in recycled asphalt on a roof top in Washington D.C.  It would be the first of its kind, for good reason.  I declined.

After three days of gathering rock, about 3,000 pounds, I felt that I was ready to start setting stone.  A pallet of mortar had been delivered to the site and 200 feet of rebar.  I started by sitting on one of the 8 directional stones and doing the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra 18 times.  This is an ancient Hindu Sanskrit mantra that I learned with a group of friends when we would gather on the full moon and chant the mantra 108 times.  There is a description of what the mantra means at:

I then read the chapter in a book I’ve owned for many years called ‘The Medicine Wheel’, written by Sun Bear and Wabun (Prentice Hall Press).  This is a book of Native American astrology that I have used to develop my methods for incorporating Medicine Wheel ideas in to may mosaic work, mainly through orientation and the coloration of stones.  I was starting in the eastern direction near where the labyrinth will be entered, building the outer ring.  I am making 12 small white moon shaped mosaics and each moon represents a seasonal moon throughout the year.  The first moon I would be creating would be under the title of the ‘Frogs return Moon’.  The animal totem for this moon is the Beaver.  I brought a few beaver chewed sticks that I gathered the week before from a beach I go to on the Columbia River in Oregon so I inserted one of these outside the circle at the point where the moon mosaic would be created.

I flanked the moon with two 5 petaled wild roses made of round red stones around a round gold center.  I’ve started to make these flowers, or starbursts when I hear the bell ring when somebody is turning the prayer wheel.

Just as I was adding the last stones to the wet bed of mortar a friendly man named Mike came down the path.  While talking he said he had brought his kids to the previous labyrinth for a walking meditation.  I told him I would make a flower for him if he rang the bell on the prayer wheel, so he went back and did that, and I made him a sweet little flower that I have named ‘Mike’s Flower’.  He came back and I showed it to him and told him to make a note of where it is so he would remember it when he walks the labyrinth.   This made us both very happy.

The night before I left I wrote a  description to be printed for a sign to put up by the site.  It reads:

The Labyrinth Project

The layout of this labyrinth is based on the well known early 13th Century Chartes Cathedral Labyrinth near Paris.  It has 11 circuits that make turns at two cross axis oriented to the cardinal directions.  The diameter is 36 feet and the entrance is from the East, the direction of the rising sun.  It is made from hand collected rock from various beaches on Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula, set in to mortar.  8 of the granite boulders around the perimeter are set at the cardinal points.

Counting the central ring, the number of circles is 12, which ties the labyrinth to the seasonal and lunar cycles.  12 is the sum of the Earth (4) times the Divine (3).  The seasons are represented here as colors, with 12 Moons  set in the outer ring.  A 13th ‘Blue Moon’ sits in the sun circle in the center, symbolizing lunar and solar eclipses.  This creates a native Medicine Wheel connecting the Earth, Nature, and the Moon.

Each Moon in this labyrinth has a totem color, mineral, animal, plant, and spirit keeper.

The moons, starting at the entrance and going clockwise:

Budding Trees Moon (3/21-4/19)  Yellow, Fire Opal, Red Hawk, Dandelion

Frogs Return Moon (4/20-5/20)  Blue, Chrysocolla, Beaver, Blue Camas

Corn Planting Moon (5/21-6/20)  Green, Moss Agate, Deer, Yarrow

Strong Sun Moon (6/21-7/22)  Pink, Carnelian Agate, Flicker, Wild Rose

Ripe Berries Moon (7/23-8/22)   Red, Garnet and Iron, Sturgeon, Raspberry

Harvest Moon (8/23-9/22)  Purple, Amethyst, Brown Bear, Violet

Ducks Fly Moon (9/23-10/23)  Brown, Jasper, Raven, Mullein

Freeze Up Moon (10/24-11/21)  Orange, Copper and Malachite, Snake, Thistle

Long Snows Moon (11/22-12/21)  Black, Obsidian, Elk, Black Spruce

Earth Renewal Moon (12/22-1/19)  White, Quarz, Snow Goose, Birch

Rest and Cleansing Moon (1/20-2/18)  Silver, Otter, Quaking Aspen

Big Winds Moon (2/19-3/20)  Blue Green, Turquoise, Cougar, Plantain

I try to make a flower each time I hear the bell on the prayer wheel ring.  I hope to add 108 stones around the 10th circuit.  The 8 rings closest to the center represent the orbit of the known planets from Mercury to Pluto.  The permeable lines between the paths will be filled with crushed gravel and over time, moss and seedlings.

In walking this labyrinth, it is my hope that you will feel a change in yourself, to being one more connected with Nature in all its harmonious magnificence.  Leave your thoughts behind if you can, being here in the moment, and just feel the progression refilling your opened mind as you follow the circuits.  It is all about cycles, ebbing and flowing like the tides around this island being pulled by the moon.  Ideally you return via the same route you came in.  Step to the side if somebody needs to pass.  Doing it barefoot will add the bonus of foot reflexology.  Enjoy!

via Jeffrey Bale’s World of Gardens: The Labyrinth Project, the beginning.

man’s best friend: And from a later blog on the project!

Lucy walks the Labyrinth with her nose

via Jeffrey Bale’s World of Gardens: The Halls Hill Labyrinth: Pluto and the Four Elements.

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

Join 625 other followers

July 2018
« Aug