Visitor or Pilgrim? That Is the Question

A break in the path created confusion

A break in the path created confusion

At this juncture, seen at the left, I felt lost.  Curious, because I could have just stepped across the divide and walked as I chose, but I wanted to “follow the path”;  Not because I had to but because I wanted to experience the labyrinth at the Idaho Botanical Garden. The labyrinth is at once wonder-full and conflicted both emotions because of its location and history.  Set in the old Idaho prison, the  open space can represent freedom from the confines of the buildings and remembrance of the difficulties (euphemism here) inmates and staff and warden must have faced.

I don’t know what the open space once was – whether a demolished building or space for gardens and “recreation” such as it might have been.  The setting is, though, reminiscent of despair, dehumanizing of people – again inmates and staff, and on the opposite side, of hope and dreams yet unfulfilled and perhaps small, un-remembered, unrequited acts of love and kindness.

So, I walked while Rich and Nancy explored the varied pathways of the garden. Their own labyrinth.  I could not figure out if I was a visitor or a pilgrim.  I noticed and wondered a lot.  Foraging bees – where is the hive? The pattern of wear around the Center Stone – what caused that pattern? Worn on one side and grassy on the other.  South facing slope vs. north facing slope.  On the flats? Huh?

Whole and damaged.

Irregularly worn pattern around the Center Stone and the crack.

A crack in the Center Stone – isn’t that a lot like our lives whole and yet damaged? The pair of books ends that WTD and I bought to have one each and that I decided needed to be reunited as a pair. The fragmented rock from Alsop Woods that I bound together and gave to LS with the note “When puzzles are too easy for you, then

contemplate this gift as you think of me.” The break in the pathway where I was really lost

A different Center Rose

Eight Petals?

and didn’t know where to turn and my longing to “follow the path.” The eight sided “rose” in the middle. Eight sides? I re-counted three times. Have to ask Lauren Artress   at the Labyrinth facilitator workshop in October.

Wonderful color

A splash of color

But, ultimately the beauty and reincarnation of the site gave me hope.  I asked Spirit, Universe to bless all in the past, soothe their wounds and to honor all in the present and future who work and will work to repair the harm done to all souls.

The next labyrinth I walked was at the Trinity Lutheran Church

Gravel path with painted lines

Trinity Lutheran Church Labyrinth, Pullman, WA

in Pullman, WA, on our way to Pasco, WA.  Again, I felt more a visitor. And, I know that I am most comfortable walking as a pilgrim when I am alone or with others who also want to walk. The labyrinth is well-constructed with dark, volcanic-looking gravel and painted lines.  On the way to the labyrinth, driving past Washington State University is a charming heart sculpture.  We both wanted to get to Pasco and our friends’ home, so we didn’t spend much time here. Rich did go inside and tell the secretary that we were visiting and walking the labyrinth, which pleased her.    And, so the experiment with visiting labyrinths on this summer trip to our heart’s home – The Inland Empire – just is. And, I still wonder what I allowed myself to come away with.

Blue heart

Near WSU campus

About marionpatterson

From the Heartland: Marion is a master educator, writer, Veriditas Trained and Certified Labyrinth Facilitator, a member of the Veriditas Council, creator and workshop promoter, and environmental educator. A Holy Fire II Usui and Holy Fire II Karuna Reiki Master Teacher, Healing Touch Spiritual Ministries Certified Practitioner (HTSM-CP), Advanced Integrated Energy Therapy practitioner she seeks to connect with others in their knowledge and spiritual quests. She leads Healing Talking Circles using the principles embraced by indigenous populations and in Restorative Justice Circles. She and her husband, Rich, co-own Winding Pathways LLC and live in Eastern Iowa. "Encouraging people to create wondrous yards." Go outside and Play!
This entry was posted in Labyrinths Across the Country, learning, Pilgrims, Reflections, Visitors. Bookmark the permalink.

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