Friday, April 24, 2009


Eleven-circuit Labyrinth I created for my laundry room floor


Labyrinths have always intrigued me. I spent many long months researching ancient labyrinths for my book, Layers. Here are excerpts from a story in Layers, “Lady of the Labyrinth.” One of the four short stories that comprise Layers, “Lady of the Labyrinth” is also the title of the poem that opens the story.


Her soul cries out for the sacred walk. For the pilgrimage.
As she moves through the narrow passage toward
the center, she opens her heart for the journey.

The discipline of the steps, gently placed on the path, one
after the other, footprints to understanding, slowly begin
to reveal gifts of the spirit.

With each step, she sheds layer after layer of unresolved
pain. As her body moves inward, her quiet mind opens,
surrendering the passioned images.
There is an emptying, challenging, yet ever allowing, ever
centering and finally, a release.

The sacred labyrinth of times long past calls her to begin
her spiral. To weave together the psyche and the soul.

She emerges from her sojourn with a keener eye and a
lightened heart.

Labyrinth at Unity Church in Roanoke, Virginia


"I still don't see exactly what a labyrinth is supposed to do for you."

"Most people say they can feel an energy building as they walk. They feel as though their problems are being resolved. They experience a sense of freedom. It's supposed to balance the two hemispheres of the brain, which in turn creates a healing. I sort of thought you would walk it that day when you were here. Why didn't you?"

Nick thought for a moment, and then in his usual manner, avoided her question and asked two more in return. "What is supposed to happen after you reach the center? How do you feel exiting the labyrinth?"

"Some people feel as though a tremendous burden has been lifted."

"Really?" Nick thought about that for a moment and then added. "You also said the labyrinth unravels puzzles and is a sacred container of magic."

"Yes. It is supposed to be a vehicle for new awareness. Energy and space are organized into a pattern like ones found in nature. It can be likened to either a spiral or a meandering pattern. We are guided like water flows. It's amazing that no one questioned its uses sooner. You remember, it took Jean Artress, the canon at Grace Cathedral, to actually go to Chartres, France and rediscover that ancient labyrinth on the floor."

"Vicki, you told me she has encouraged people all over the country to make labyrinths of their own for groups to walk. Why couldn't you be content with making one of your own? I don't see why we had to come all the way over here to France so you could walk the Chartres Labyirinth."

"Because I want to discover for myself what its original purpose was. I can't be satisfied with our current day assessments. I want to know why they were built and on what principal. There are so many speculations but we have yet to find an answer. There has to be one. Besides, I feel extremely drawn to Chartres. It has one of the few remaining 11 circle labyrinths in the world. Most of the labyrinths in Europe are 7 circuits. I want to experience Chartres!”

from “Lady of the Labyrinth” in the book Layers by Cheryl Dolby

I created the 11-circuit labyrinth pictured above in my laundry room at Woodloft. I used opalescent green stained glass and mirror. It is six feet in circumference and took me about four months of working almost daily to complete. I added white linoleum around it and decorated the laundry room with some of my original artwork.

Light switch created by using stoneware clay and embellishments plus one of my original faces.

Ariadne thread keeper. I used a plain old-fashioned thread holder and added one of my clay faces with embellishments.

Then, becoming obsessed it seems, I decided to add a labyrinth to my garden at Woodloft. There was only room for 7 circuits in this one. The construction was a fiasco. After much analysis, I decided to use flagstone and sand. First, I placed brick spacers around the perimeter of the labyrinth. Then, I poured the sand around the area as a support for the flagstone. I broke the flagstone into interesting shapes that would fit within the confines of the circle. As I began placing the flagstone on the sand, I realized I had used far too much sand for the foundation. I spent many long days sweeping up and rebagging the excess sand. For a while it looked like the Woodloft labyrinth was located at some sunny beach instead of at its mountain home. When I had finally swept enough of the sand away to provide a flat surface, I cut mirror tile into interesting shapes and placed them in and around the entire labyrinth. As you walk, the path glistens.

My son, Charlie, and friend, Gary, prepare the area.

Too much sand!

Almost finished labyrinth

My summer project this year will involve decorating two large female mannequins with pieces of mirror and stained glass. (I started this project a long time ago, but for some reason, have neglected it until now). I will then position them either side of an arched trellis near the labyrinth, and finish by placing a flower pot on each mannequin’s head. Flowers will look great trailing down from the pots. Can't wait ‘til the weather warms up so I can get this creation going!

Close-up of mannequin halfway finished

Mannequin as she started.

I hope to have this project finished before summer is over I have procrastinated long enough! I know they will make excellent 'Goddess Guards to the Path of Serenity' I will be sure to show you the before and after pictures when they are completely finished.

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