TLS Annual Gathering

2006 Retrospective by Lea Goode-Harris, Ph.D.

Celebrate:  Many Paths to a Joyful Center
8th Annual International Labyrinth Society Gathering
November 2 - 5, 2006 T Bar M Conference Center, New Braunfels, Texas

The 2006 gathering committee, organized by Tera Rae Shores and Rebecca Rodriguez, from the Lone Star State of Texas gave us all a hearty welcome and laid the foundation for a great conference on the beautiful grounds of the T Bar M Conference Center.

Our opening ceremony took shape and rhythm with sacred blessing in the hands of Grandmother Flordemayo on a beautiful labyrinth created by Crow Mitchell.

The grounds and buildings were full of labyrinths in all diverse shapes and sizes, traditional and contemporary. There were canvas labyrinths, painted and rope labyrinths to walk by day, and illuminated labyrinths to walk at night.

Our keynote speaker, Julia Butterfly Hill inspired us by weaving her own story of “Spiritual Activation” of living in an old-growth Redwood tree to save it from being cut down, to finding our own path in the labyrinth of life. She encouraged us to use our walking to move us to bring our gifts out in to the world and find the courage to follow and live the passion of our hearts.

Presentations and workshops furthered our labyrinth experiences, as well as bringing us together with gathering participants who came from all over the US and as far away as Canada, England, and Ireland. Lunchtime tables became the backdrops for networking and committee meetings, as well as furthering new and old friendships. The vendor room was full of purchase delights and the silent auction raised money
for TLS scholarships and was generously donated to from members in a variety of labyrinth related items.

On Saturday night we danced on the labyrinth, and then danced some more, singing and clapping to the Gospel and contemporary music of LZ Love. Eve Hogan gifted us with a morning-guided meditation on Saturday, and Rev. Karen Tudor with an interfaith Service on Sunday morning.

In the closing of the gathering, Rebecca Rodriquez took us on a journey of remembering and waking up in the labyrinth and Toby Evans led us in our closing circle on a canvas labyrinth painted by Pamela Bowles Fillmore. From that large and welcoming center… the way to our many paths opened… pointing us to the way home… And in our parting, we took heart-felt friendship and beautiful inspiration, illuminating our journeys until our separate paths are able to weave together yet once again.