The Path Within

Labyrinths celebrate centuries-old spiritual practice, combining peaceful meandering and meditative therapy

The one o’clock start was significant as part of World Labyrinth Day, when thousands of people in several countries joined in spirit to walk through the paths of various labyrinths around the world at the same time. This global event was sponsored by The Labyrinth Society, a non-profit group started in the United States in 1998. (Magnuson is a member of the Society and is listed in their worldwide labyrinth locator directory.)

“I feel absolutely honored and blessed to have a labyrinth in my backyard,” adds Magnuson. “There is a real energy to it and the more people that walk it, the more energy it seems to absorb. As with various forms of meditation, some people don’t have a profound experience the first or second time they walk a labyrinth. To help them make the most of their experience, I advise visitors to take a deep breath and pause before they enter the labyrinth. Walk its path with the intention of being open to the still, small voice inside of them. Walk slowly to the centre, sit for a while, and then slowly retrace your steps. In doing so, you are more apt to feel a sense of clarity and find inner peace.

“Think of the labyrinth as a playground for allowing your intuitions to take wing,” she adds. “Follow what comes into your head and your heart while inside its ‘walls’—what many consider to be ‘sacred space’.”

Visit kairosbb.ca or call 250.339.6573.

The Labyrinth at Anderton Therapeutic Gardens

About 15 years ago, Bill and Joy Georgeson had a dream to create a therapeutic community garden in the Comox Valley. In 1996, with the support of other founding members and the encouragement of Christine Pollard, the horticultural therapist at Providence Farms in Duncan, this dream became reality.

Today, Anderton Therapeutic Gardens is a considered to be one of the “gems” on Vancouver Island. With its meditative and butterfly gardens, ponds, roses, rhododendrons and much more, it is a facility that is enjoyed by residents of seniors’ homes, clients of mental health services, youth, special needs individuals and many others.

“The idea to build a labyrinth at the Therapeutic Gardens came to us a few years ago, when Joy and I were in Chemainus,” explains Georgeson. “We were impressed with the labyrinth there and were interested in learning how it is used in a holistic context. We also visited a labyrinth beside a cathedral in Victoria—one that had been constructed by prison inmates. Again, we were thrilled with what we saw and learned. Because of the spiritual nature of a labyrinth, it just seemed natural to want to have one at our garden, too.”

A team of several volunteers worked diligently to build the new labyrinth at Anderton. The process started last winter. The Labyrinth Committee included Bev Worbets and Jessie Scott (co-chairs), Bill and Joy Georgeson, Linda Magnuson and Joy Johnson.

After months of effort and a generous donation from the Comox Valley Community Foundation, construction of the project took three (very busy) days in April 2009.

The labyrinth at Anderton Therapeutic Gardens is also a seven-circuit design, measuring 42 feet in diameter. The walking path is made of small gravel and the pattern is made from interlocking bricks. The path has been designed to be wide enough for a walker or small wheelchair, or to allow two people to walk side-by-side, in the event that someone needs assistance navigating their way.

“We were grateful to the volunteers who came out to help us build the labyrinth,” says Bev Worbets. “This included my husband, Bob, Ian Buchanan, Rodger Skidmoore, Larry Lott, several clients from the Bridges Society, and Jay Everitt, owner of Jay Enterprises. Jay donated the use of a bobcat and bobcat operator for an entire day. Without his generosity, I think we would still be shoveling dirt into wheelbarrows and still just dreaming of having a labyrinth at Anderton Therapeutic Gardens!”

On May 29, staff, volunteers and members of the public attended the labyrinth’s grand opening and dedication. Blessings were offered by Christine Welsh. The labyrinth is now open daily, from 10 am to 4 pm, at 2012 Anderton Road in Comox. Comox Valley residents and visitors are encouraged to come and walk the labyrinth and enjoy the gardens. Admission is free.

To help people get the most of their labyrinth experience, Anderton Therapeutic Gardens will be hosting a number of free one-hour workshops over the summer months. Check their website or call for times and dates.

Georgeson adds that interest in the labyrinth has been so positive that Anderton Therapeutic Gardens is considering establishing a Labyrinth Club in the Comox Valley. He urges any interested people to call them to have their names put on a list of potential members.

For more information visit: andertontherapeuticgardens.org or call 250.702.4186 (May through September.)

The Labyrinth at Ocean Resort

Located just south of Campbell River, Ocean Resort is home to one of Vancouver Island’s newest, biggest and most unique labyrinths. It measures an awe-inspiring 80 feet in diameter and is unique in that the seven-circuit labyrinth pattern is constructed entirely of driftwood. Not sticks. Logs… big ones!

“We have done extensive research on labyrinth construction and, to the best of our knowledge, this is the only labyrinth in the world that in constructed of driftwood,” explains Dennis Gray, Ocean Resort’s facilities manager.
“Lucas Steifvater, owner of Ocean Resort, has built this facility to offer guests more than your average spa experience. Its idyllic oceanside setting is designed for a spiritual getaway, where you can experience stillness and the serenity that this creates,” adds Gray. “The entire resort fosters a tranquil, supportive environment where you can choose your own path to inner peace, spiritual and personal growth. Adding a labyrinth to the facility was an important part of the long-term development plan. This is a very different kind of resort, so we wanted our labyrinth to be ‘one of a kind,’ too. ”

Collecting the driftwood to construct the labyrinth at Ocean Resort took more than a year. Driftwood was painstakingly dragged from the beach outside the resort and other beaches, where collection of driftwood is legally permitted. The stockpile of driftwood—boasting a wide variety of shapes and sizes—was then carefully sorted and artistically set in concrete footings. The perpendicular driftwood forms the labyrinth pattern and the footpath is made of tiny pebbles… so you feel like you are taking a walk on the beach.

“Construction of the labyrinth was essentially completed on May 21,” says Gray. “As I stood back and looked at it at the end of that first day I was mesmerized by what we had accomplished. The natural driftwood logs are absolutely beautiful, conjuring up images in my mind of historic structures in Italy and Greece. It is an accomplishment that we can be proud of… for Ocean Resort and for the community.”

The Labyrinth at Ocean Resort was officially opened to the public at the end of May. It is not just available to resort guests. Anyone is welcome to stop by and enjoy meandering meditative therapy at no charge.

For more information visit oceanresort.ca or call 250.923.4281.

One Response to The Path Within

  1. This is a question concerning genealogy!!!! I Googled magnuson and got your site!!! A friend of mine in Campbell River is searching for her grandmother’s family.Her grandmother married Gunnard Emil Magnuson in Nelson on July 7th,1929. A second marriage for both of them.
    Are you related to them? I’d appreciate a reply. Thanks,Elaine Oh,her grandmother’s name was Dora Emily Green.