Medaille House Labyrinth

Medaille House Labyrinth, London Ontario - Sandi Spaulding Photographer

Medaille House Labyrinth, London Ontario – Sandi Spaulding Photographer

In 1998 I spearheaded a labyrinth building project at Medaille House Retreat Centre in London, Ontario.  A 60′ diametre labyrinth based on the classical 11 circuit Chartres Cathedral design.

What prompted my memory of this event was finding this cardboard template tucked away in my storage room. Before tossing this in the recycling bin I wanted to document the story of this labyrinth. Because it’s now gone and so is the retreat house.

photo

Labyrinth lunation template

The Sister’s of St Joseph in London ran a beautiful retreat house with acres of forest on the north bank of the Thames River. Many times during the 1990’s the house and the wisdom of the Sisters had been a refuge for me.

Original retreat house, now demolished

Original retreat house, now decommissioned and lovingly demolished and recycled

They desired to add a labyrinth to their park-like grounds as a walking meditation tool for their retreatants.

Laying out the pattern was an entire day’s work with the help of a few of the sisters. We decided to orientate the labyrinth so when you entered beside a huge old tree stump you would be facing west. A small tree would be in the very centre.

measuring tool and spray paint cans

measuring tool and spray paint cans

painting the outer wall

painting the outer wall

starting lunations on the edge

starting lunations on the edge

Medaille Labyrinth 8

facing northwest

Medaille Labyrinth 6

facing south

giant old stump was the entry point, photo is facing east towards the retreat house

giant old stump was the entry point (photo is facing east towards the retreat house)

after a long labour, we gave birth to a finished labyrinth (facing west)

after a long labour, we gave birth to a finished labyrinth (facing west)

A few months later the painted pattern was covered with river rocks. It lasted for many years until the Sisters decided to decommission it because they were creating a new structure on the lot. They opened a new retreat centre and built a beautiful brick labyrinth in the new location. It has also subsequently closed as well.

Labyrinth Encased After an Ice Storm photo by Sandi Spaulding

Labyrinth Encased After an Ice Storm photo by Sandi Spaulding

I am indebted to Sandi Spaulding for her photographic archive of this labyrinth.

For more information about labyrinths check out The Labyrinth Society.

Have you ever walked a labyrinth?

Advertisements

What did this post stir up in you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s