TLS Annual Gathering

2005 Retrospective by Lea Goode-Harris, Ph.D.

Labyrinths and Sustainability:
Stewarding the Sacred, Nourishing the Earth, Balancing the Whole

7th Annual International Labyrinth Society Gathering
October 20 – 23, 2005, Eastover Resort and Conference Center, Lenox, MA

If you could have one wish come true, what would that be?

This was the question asked of us by the first of our four featured speakers, Jeffrey Hollender, president and CEO of Seventh Generation, Inc., speaking on “What Matters Most.”

For how do we as labyrinth stewards bring the awareness of our hearts desire to the sustainability of our earth? How do we “Steward the Sacred, Nourish the Earth, Balancing the Whole?” Set in the picturesque Berkshire Mountains near Lennox, Massachusetts, Eastover Resort & Conference Center was the perfect setting to connect with our fellow labyrinthers and explore this question.

Judith Joyce and Helen Curry did an outstanding job as co-chairs. Assisted by many behind the scenes members and volunteers, including the Labyrinth Guild of New England, our every need and comfort was met. There was time to learn, time to play and connect with each other, and time to just meander through the historic grounds. There were numerous labyrinths for walking, made of flag & tape, pine needles, canvas, and even glow in the dark paint!

Our other featured speakers were: Willem Kuipers, who took us on a labyrinth journey in quest of the Masculine in, "Remembering the Power of Sacred Creation: Attuning to Masculine Energy Through the Labyrinth." Richard Feather Anderson took us to the Druidic roots of Arthurian legend in "Labyrinth as Grail Quest: Reawakening the Earth Steward." And Wayne P. London, M.D. covered his research on "The
Biological and Medical Implications of the Classic Seven Path Labyrinth."

We had two featured panels: Robert Ferré moderated “How the Labyrinth’s Ancient Wisdom Can Impact the Future.” Jeff Saward, Sig Lonegren, Marty Cain, Gernot Candolini, and Taffy Lanser took us into the past, present, and imagined future of labyrinths. And, Deb Hansen moderated “Labyrinths Sustaining Wellness.” Barry Boyd, M.D., Cathie LeVasseur, Cathy Sweet, D.C., and Catherine Durand spoke first hand to the amazing labyrinth-work taking place in our current Health Care Systems.

Ed Orth took us around the world with the morning membership slides. Our second annual writing contest winners were announced, and the vendor room was once again full of labyrinthine merchandise. The Silent Auction was alive with bids, given generously from both donor and bidder to our scholarship funds. Workshops were diverse, the food and company at mealtimes was delicious, and the weather graced us with sun and torrential rains, watering well the seeds we planted.

Liz Warren, storyteller extraordinaire, took us into the wasteland and Parcival’s search for the Holy Grail. Liz further spellbound us all with an even older prequel to the Grail myth, with her telling of “The Voices of the Wells.” And, John Snyder was our musician in residence for this Gathering, bringing us beautiful sound with all sorts of instruments for all our diverse activities.

For all of us that do so well walking back and forth in circles, you should have seen us Square Dancing! It didn’t take long for Al Rouff (Square Dance Caller) along with his dance company, to whip us into shape and formation. Before long, our boots left scorch marks on the old barn floor!!! Yipeeee! What a grand time we had!!!!

We opened with the Appleton Dance and closed with a labyrinth walking ceremony on Connie Fenty’s “Common Ground Labyrinth.” With friendships renewed and newly made, the fall color and leaves of the East bid us a final adieu. We parted paths full of inspiration and gratitude for the labyrinth community we share. And, with a call from the “Lone Star State,” we eagerly look forward to when we can come together yet once again.