Shapes, Natural Wonders Posted
shared my appreciation for learning a little history about
the hex sign mentioned in Richard Panchyk's book American
Folk Art for Kids. He noted that hex signs used in
decorative arts often included symbols such as stars and rosettes
that "have been used by people for thousands of years
and have religious significance."
Today I want to step outside of Panchyk's book and share
a 'coincidental' experience I had yesterday regarding some
of these religious symbols that are still very much in use
A few days ago I found out about a women's center in a nearby
town that offers a variety of art classes, workshops, and discussions
about creativity, spirituality, and other life-enhancing topics.
The center was founded in 1975 and is situated on a 7-acre "campus" surrounded
by nature. It includes walking trails, meditative gardens,
and an 11-circuit Chartres-style labyrinth made of stones.
After learning about this center, I decided to go check it
out yesterday — especially to get a glimpse of the labyrinth
featured on the center's Web site. Upon my arrival,
two support staff who informed me
the labyrinth." One of the staff graciously put her work
aside to take me on a tour of the center and its accompanying
studio. It was everything I imagined it would be.
After seeing what was inside, my tour guide introduced me
to the outdoor features. "The path to the labyrinth begins
over there," she pointed. A few minutes later I started
towards it on my own self-guided tour while my guide went back
to her work.
Anticipating the Labyrinth
I walked through a small forest of evergreen trees before
coming out into an open area displaying the labyrinth with
a winged sculpture in its center. Except for a few homes peppering
the landscape off in the distance, the labyrinth seemed to
present itself as a wonder of an ancient world. You know those
images you see of ancient ruins in biblical lands? That's what
I saw. I felt as if I were transformed into another space in
I stood before the labyrinth for a few minutes trying
to decide what to do. Is this a maze?
Will I get stuck? Should I go in?
Although I didn't get instruction on how to 'properly use'
the labyrinth, I knew it was for meditative, contemplative
purposes. It was not a game, and finding the center quickly
like a newspaper puzzle wasn't its goal. I quietly entered
and began my walk.
As I walked, I listened to the chirping of the birds. The
buzzing of the bees. And felt the morning sun mix with wetness
in the grass from last night's rain.
I walked slowly towards the center, and when I arrived
I saw offerings of stones at the base of the sculpture.
I looked around and found a fragmented piece from the labyrinth
itself and humbly put it forth. I don't know if I did the
right thing, but I had to say, "I'm here." And
the pain from the previous week became known. Tears welled
in my eyes, and pressure from my heart rose. I wanted to
sit down and tell the sculpture with the stone offerings
everything I carried to it.
After a few moments, I turned around and followed the labyrinth
path outward. Nobody told me how to walk the path, or what
to think about. I just followed my instincts and hope I didn't
I knew this labyrinth held the delicate journeys
of a thousand women before me. It was beautiful.
After allowing my labyrinth experience to settle
in for a day, I realized that the center of the labyrinth
featured the same rosetta symbol discussed in Panchyk's folk
art book. In addition, it had a sculpture in
the center of the rosetta reminiscent of a winged
(see above photo).
I found an excellent topical view of the labyrinth pattern
This site also features background on
Labyrinth and the religious significance of the quadrants
and rosetta symbol, in addition to lots of other labyrinth
It's cool when things synchronicitly coincide in life: here
I was discussing folk art symbols in Panchyk's book, and on
witnessed application of a rosetta symbol used in a
modern day "ancient" labyrinth. AMAZEing, isn't
it? (© 2005 Chris Dunmire) •