Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Jan 06, 2019
January 10 2019: Henri Molenhuis, “Hero Project”, Mimi Price will introduce, and Ryan Erb will give thanks. 

Head Table:  Our President Paul Roulston, invites, Mimi Price, Patricia Riehl, Rob Ritz, Peter Roach, Ralph Robinson, Rob Russell and Dan Scarborough, to join him at the head table.

Today at Rotary: Rotarian John Wright, introduced his wife Leslie, today’s speaker. Leslie and John’s tour of France this past fall featured a visit to the Cathedral at Chartres and its ancient labyrinth.
 
Leslie Wright, wife of Rotarian John Wright, spoke today on labyrinths.
 
Leslie has a passionate interest in labyrinths and is a Verditas certified labyrinth facilitator. The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, an Episcopal priest and psychotherapist in San Francisco, CA, founded the Verditas organization (verditas.org). Verditas promotes the labyrinth experience as a meditative and spiritual device that leads to healing, peace and wisdom.  In 2016, Leslie and John constructed a 30-foot stone labyrinth in the yard of their home on Centre Street in Stratford. She also owns a 36-foot Chartres style canvas labyrinth, which she acquired in 1999.
 
A labyrinth is not the same as a maze.  The latter with its dividing paths and dead-ends is designed to make you lose your way, whereas the labyrinth’s purpose is to help you find it.  The labyrinth’s path meanders but always eventually arrives at the centre. The journey also leads to the walker’s  personal or spiritual centre and then back out again into the world with greater understanding. Its  circular and spiral patterns are archaic symbols found worldwide in ancient structures and on petroglyphs dating to 2500 BCE.  The name comes from the Cretan structure in the myth of the Minotaur and the pattern is found on ancient Cretan coins.
 
Cathedral labyrinths were constructed in the Middle Ages, during the Crusades, when walking the labyrinth was considered a substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  The Chartres labyrinth is an eleven-circuit design, divided into four quadrants and encircled by an outer ring of moons, representing the lunar calendar. The centre has six petals, for the six days of creation. It was originally embellished with precious metals that were plundered during the Napoleonic Wars.  It is typically covered by chairs that are removed for special occasions. There is only one path, which each person walks at their own pace. Passing is permitted but pilgrims are expected to be respectful and acknowledge that we are all on the path together.
 
Today it is recognized that focused walking in a labyrinth is bone fide form of mediation used for insight and stress relief. The medical benefits have been validated by renowned stress therapist Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard.  The spiritual benefits have been acknowledged at the Parliament of World Religions, which represents religions of over 80 nations. Churches, schools, hospitals and prisons have constructed labyrinths to promote comfort and harmony, and as tools for conflict resolution. Reconciliation labyrinths are modelled on those constructed in South Africa to help healing following the end of apartheid. The original, built by Clare Wilson in 2002, has 3 different entrances all leading to the centre. Though people start at different points they end up walking in each other’s footsteps to arrive at a common destination. There is a labyrinth in Trinity Square at the Toronto Eaton Centre and one constructed of native plants in Kincardine. Stratford’s Spruce Lodge recently constructed a 5 circuit outdoor labyrinth to benefit its residents and visitors.  Leslie would like to see an 11 circuit Chartres style labyrinth constructed locally in a public space. In the meantime we are welcome to contact Leslie or John to try the labyrinth experience at their home.  Other Ontario labyrinths can be located at labyrinthnetwork.ca.
 
Elizabeth Gaffney thanked Leslie for sharing her expertise. Some time ago Elizabeth was given a mouse pad with a labyrinth motif. That piqued her curiosity and led to attendance at a labyrinth workshop in Guelph and a subsequent visit to the Sedona labyrinth. 
 
Scribe: Pat Shewen
 
Guests: Denise Nonomura - Stratford
 
Draw: $50 GC's for Cozyne’s was donated by Jim Snider and Patti Riehl was the winner.
 
Make-ups: No report. 
 
January’s Attendance Committee: Bruce McLaren(I/C), Colleen Devine, Diane Sewell, Craig Pearce, Peter Maranger, Karel Hodgert, Bob Malcolmson.