Labyrinths in Lavender

I love the combination of walking and fragrance. Probably my favourite combination is lavender and labyrinths. I talked about labyrinths in a previous post and in my recent book Return to Our Senses. Recently I have discovered a number of such labyrinths that I thought you might enjoy.

A couple of years ago I posted this beautiful photo of a lavender labyrinth in Kastellaun Germany.

Lavender labyrinth Kastellaun Germany

Lavender labyrinth Kastellaun Germany


This one in Yorkshire England 


Yorkshire lavedner garden

Yorkshire lavedner garden

This at Cherry Point Farm Michigan

Cherry Point Farm labyrinth

Cherry Point Farm labyrinth

And this one at Tebri Vineyards in Oregon

Labyrinth Tebri Vineyards Oregon

And yet another from Latitudes of Lavender also in Oregon

latitudes of Lavender labyrinth

latitudes of Lavender labyrinth

And if you are looking for some good music to aid your meditation while labyrinth walking, consider this beautiful music by Hildegard von Bingen


Labyrinth in Lavender – Lets Celebrate World Labyrinth Day

Yesterday I posted this gorgeous photo on facebook

Thanks to my good friend Patty Doty, I found out that this marvellous lavender labyrinth is in Kastellaun Germany.

I love labyrinths and as many of you know we construct one each year for our Celtic retreat on Camano Island in August and a couple of years ago even had participants making their own finger labyrinths. I have also blogged about the significance of labyrinths here and still hanker after the labyrinth that Craig Goodwin created out of his backyard vegetable garden.

Going online this morning to do some research on labyrinths for my upcoming book I discovered that the Labyrinth Society celebrates World Labyrinth Day on the first Saturday of May – which just happens to be next Saturday so it seemed a good time to post again about labyrinths.  I have not posted resources to help one explore and create one’s own labyrinth and thought that this was a good time to do that.

Here is the list provided by the Labyrinth Society, though these are not specifically Christian.

Many Christians, because of the non Christian roots of this tool are skeptical and even condemning of its use. This is a well balanced article that explains some of these concerns. However labyrinths are gaining popularity amongst Christians and I personally have found them to be a very helpful tool for mediation.

Some of the best Christian resources come from Jonny Baker and the people at Proost in the UK.

Labyrinth Kit

Labyrinth Meditations

Labyrinth Instrumentals

Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies [pdf]

Navigatio Pocket Liturgies [pdf]

Landskapes – Labyrinth Meditations, Eucharist, and Spirit of the New.

VJ Loops Volume 1

The labyrinth Network Northwest also has some great resources available. – It is an extensive list and I am very glad that I did not need to reproduce it.

And this pdf on Labyrinth Prayer  not only explains the labyrinth & provides some prayers to use in walking it but also mentions some great books on labyrinths.

Bosco Peters just made me aware of this video that he uploaded for his post Twists and Turns of Holy Week. Thanks Bosco.

I also really enjoyed this video introduction to labyrinth walking.

Greetings from a Labyrinth: Reflections on a workshop with a Doula by Kim Balke

Finger labyrinths

Finger labyrinths

Today’s post is contributed by Kim Balke.  It is part of a paper that she wrote for her certification in Expressive Arts Therapy.  I found the imagery so powerful that I asked Kim for permission to repost this.  As Kim says the labyrinth is not just a prayerful tool it is also a tool of healing.   This reflection seems a very good addition to this series on Tools for Prayer and the post of Walking the Labyrinth posted at the end of last week.


Doula” (f.) is the Greek word for “servant” and it is a term used to describe a Midwife or a Birth Educator.  I was curious to learn more about the work of Dayna Dueck a friend who is a Doula, a young mother of four children under 8 and wonderful portrait photographer.

        One of the processes Dayna encourages in her birth education workshops has to do with the use of the labyrinth.  Drawn from Greek mythology (Thesius) and practiced throughout the ages, across many cultures, walking a labyrinth is a strong metaphor for the birthing process.  It aids a woman in the narration of her own heroic journey.  I walked the labyrinth at St. Alban’s, Richmond, BC with Dayna, two other women, one toddler and one preschooler.  As it turned out, these women were also birth educators, keen to learn about how Dayna draws upon the imagery in the labyrinth to support mothers in their pregnancy and child birth.

I had doubts and anxieties about going back to this time – why pick at a healing scab, re-open old wounds?  Would I have to confront feelings of failure that I thought I had already worked through, feel judged – am I a “lesser mother” since birthing my boys involved a lot of technological/medical intervention?  The following is an outline of the process I went through:

  1. Walk the stone paths of the labyrinth at St. Alban’s. (outside)
  2. Write down impressions, reflection on the experience (inside the church building).
  3. Workshop discussion led by Dayna about “The Hero’s Journey” – the metaphor of the labyrinth and the birthing journey.
  4. Pastel labyrinths – Dayna instructed us about how to draw our own labyrinth.  We drew a “male” version (it is simpler to draw).  We walked a “female” version.  As we draw we mark personal symbols on the labyrinth at each phase; i.e. the threshold entrance (something to mark the “Ideal start to the ordeal”), markers for the traditions of family, personal and cultural history, applying what you learned about yourself, active labour and the Gate of Doubt/Transition, entering the Gate of Trust, reaching the centre and celebration of birth, the return journey (Dayna’s favourite part to talk with pregnant mother’s about), crossing the threshold/exit where the hero steps out of the labyrinth carrying her baby/another time of celebration, her new identity (as a woman who has given birth).
  5. At each phase Dayna encourages parents to discuss/reflect around their worries – to take the time/do not hurry this activity with partner, in group or in personal reflection.
  6. Re-walk the labyrinth outside, come back and reflect, discuss.
  7. Use the pastel labyrinth at home to visualize the (birthing) journey; keep it with you through labour and birth.  It is a way of focusing, centering, meditating through contractions, narrating one’s own story and discovering meaning in one’s experiences.

My reflections and how I integrated this experience into my life are entitled, Greetings from a Labyrinth:  an exercise in “non-focused awareness”.  Enjoy.

Greetings from a Labyrinth:  an exercise in “non-focused awareness

The rose at the centre looks so close.

“I’ll be there in no time” I say, with each quick step taking me along as I move to the counterpoint/tense rhythm and energy of violins in the “Allegro”

of my mind.  Cool air, sunlight on my head, a child’s laughter and the tap tapping of her skipping behind me.  Good-bye to you, I must move on.

“Mama, I want to run!” over ponderosa pine needles and little gray pebbles below; oak leaves and a light breeze above in trees along the fence, like fingers admonishing, with Dayna’s words, “No, no, no short cuts – for you!” Even so, confidently, here I go!

I contemplate the curvature of space with each stone and cars and drivers, airplane zooms and other journeys surrounding me, remind me of time passing…crows cawing in the sky chide and chime as I turn to look at the shadow of my hair and shawl fringe.  There I stumble off my path.  “Watch your feet!” the sky creature’s chorus.  Good-bye to you, I must move on.

Gray and brown back on track, past the water tank and garden hose and a memory of attempts at gardening tomatoes in too shallow Maritime soil-“Fare thee well, Susan

”, I sigh, “If not later…later”.

Along the outer edge, not sure how I got so far away from the rose centre, most distracted now at this “Gate of Doubt”

where Son Terra apartments and other pink roses in a garden call to me through more cars, more roads, endless sky and quicksilver clouds

that gather like minnows in rapids to carry me away and there is even someone going the other way-what?  “Keep going…watch your feet” crows call comes to my rescue until I step through the Gate of Trust

, one step, one breath at a time until I am centred, turning inside a rose, seeing all before me, a crescendo of colour and sound.  I greet the melodious day with a Kimesque note of “Hello”, pause, and then journey outward.

On my return I find the sun has dried up the pathway with a powdery stone residue left behind, blurring the lines, like chalk pastels on my paper labyrinth. My journey was special.

Every journey is special!   What does that mean?  Even though birthing is a well trodden path, each woman’s experience is her own- a one of a kind strength, a pure whole note carried on the wind, a sound only she can make, moving on into hello.