With volunteer help and donations, a labyrinth is taking shape behind the Women’s Leadership Institute building at 76 Sherman Street. Prof. Miriam Therese Winter (shown at left on the roller used to prepare the site) has been working with student Jeanne Pedane to organize the effort, which involves laying bricks and crushed stone in a pattern that invites people to walk and contemplate.
The labyrinth will be used by Hartford Seminary classes, but will also be open to the public. A celebration to mark the opening of the labyrinth will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 24, and all are invited.
Here is a labyrinth primer from The Labyrinth: A Brief Introduction to its History, Meaning and Use by John Algeo.
“You follow the path to the center, where you may wish to pause for a few moments. Then you reverse your direction and retrace your path back out to the starting point. In walking any labyrinth, you should always complete the pattern by following the path both inward and outward, rather than cutting across the pattern at any point. The inward movement needs to be complemented by a corresponding outward return.
“If several persons walk a labyrinth together, they may pass one another, going in either the same direction or opposite to each other. They may pass in meditative silence or quietly salute each other by a nod of the head or a raising of the hands. The effect of meeting fellow pilgrims on the path is part of the labyrinthine experience. The labyrinth is a joyfully sacred space. You do not need to be somber around it, but if someone is walking the labyrinth, it is courteous to respect the need they may have for quiet concentration.
“As you enter the labyrinth, you may focus your thoughts on a question or concern. You may walk the labyrinth with a quiet mind, sensing without particularizing the wonder of the pattern. Or you may walk it with some of its many symbolic meanings held in your mind as seed thoughts. In the labyrinth, as in life, there is no single right way to follow the path.”