The Karoo Labyrinth at St John's

The first Karoo Labyrinth walk took place during the Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival 27th April 2008

The theme of our Flower Festival during the 2007 Oktoberfest was “A Walk with God”. Ideas for the Karoo Labyrinth went on show and a number of people volunteered to help with its construction.  Summer arrived with its glorious heat … we waited … on Easter Monday 2008 Sonya and John McKenna drew our labyrinth in the dust, carried stones and created an outline … the Karoo Labyrinth was born.

In four short weeks, people brought stones and rocks, delivered and planted Karoo plants, and lovingly created this sacred space: a place for contemplation, meditation and prayer.

Friends from across the Prince Albert community hauled rocks, donated plants, compost and their artistic and gardening talents to create the Karoo Labyrinth.

In conceptualising our labyrinth we incorporated Karoo elements into the site. Imagine our square of earth as it once was — part of the great inland sea…

 

The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters…

(Gen 1: 2)

Now imagine a river-smoothed pebble falling into the water. The pebble is our generous green tree in the corner of the square. As the pebble touches the water it causes ripples to radiate — out, out, out, across the church, out across the school fields and over the koppie. As it moves, ever onwards and outwards, it takes the message of God’s love and the faith we hold in Him, out into the world.


We cannot imagine the radius of that circle — it will flow on through our village and out into the world beyond. All we can encompass in our small square is a quarter of the first ripples… and so the St John’s labyrinth becomes unique, a Karoo Labyrinth, a quarter of a circle.

The Karoo Labyrinth is constructed from local materials which represent the Celtic images of Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

 

And God said: “Let the waters under the Heavens be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth… (Gen 1: 9)

Earth is represented by stones, plants and wood. Our rich heritage of vygies, succulents and aloes bring life and texture to the beds which lie between and along the path. Wood provides shape and texture in and around the path. Short tree stumps offer support for lamps for evening meditations.

 

… and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (Gen 1: 10)

Water is represented by the labyrinth’s shape and in a jug of crystal Swartberg water on a table beneath the tree, to drink during organised walks and retreats. A bird bath will encourage birds to visit our labyrinth space.  

And God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate day from night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years…” (Gen 1: 14)

 

Light and Fire will appear in the labyrinth in the form of lamps. The tree provides blessed shade: space to sit quietly, to speak and listen to God. One day three benches will find their home beneath the tree to provide a permanent place for small prayer meetings.

An evening walk will reveal the spectacular canvas of a sunset as we turn to the West and gaze towards God’s fire ...

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… (Gen 3: 8)

 

Air moves through the garden in the evening breeze, rustling grass and biesies, planted to capture its passing. Scented plants share their fragrance. Sometimes music will accompany us on our walk along the labyrinth.

We pray that you will find the St John’s Karoo Labyrinth a place where you can be present to God, and God to you and where solitude or companionable silence will enrich your spiritual life.

 

The Karoo Labyrinth is open at all times. 

You will find it in Bank Street, Prince Albert.

Enquiries: 023 5411 211

story@storyweaver.co.za

 

Sit on Basie's bench to enjoy the garden

 

Some ideas for experiencing the Karoo Labyrinth

 

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth — each experience will be unique.

 

When we walk a labyrinth as a walking meditation we enter a sacred space set aside for us to reflect, look within, pray, and explore our relationship with the Divine.

 

You may wish to sit quietly before beginning your walk.

 

You may wish to start the walk with the sign of the cross, or with your hands held in an attitude of prayer, acknowledging the walk as a sacred act.

 

You may set an intention for your walk — praying about a particular issue or for someone special.

 

As you walk, find your natural pace, move as your body suggests you should.

 

If you meet someone walking in the opposite direction, or wish to pass someone, do it gently, respecting their movement or stillness.

 

(with thanks to Lauren Artress and the Veriditas website: www.veriditas.org )

 

Lauren Artress’ FOUR R’s

 

As you gather your thoughts and prepare to walk the labyrinth REMEMBER the many blessings you have received from God.

 

As you walk towards the tree RELEASE the tensions and cares of your life.

 

At the tree, RECEIVE the love and blessings God provides in such abundance. Having emptied there is spaciousness within to receive guidance, creative ideas, an inner silence and a sense of peace. Remain here as long as you wish.

 

As you return to the entrance, RESOLVE to take the next step in your life or come to a resolution about something bothering you.

Reclaim your life and your responsibilities, refreshed by your labyrinth experience.

 

(adapted from The  Sacred Path Companion by Lauren Artress, The Berkeley Publishing Group, New York, 2006)

 

 

Find out more about the Labyrinth Experience as a personal practice for healing and growth, a tool for community building, an agent for global peace and a metaphor for life at the Veriditas website: www.veriditas.org