TLS Annual Gathering

2021 Retrospective by Lisa Gidlow Moriarty

FINALLY! After a two year pandemic hiatus, TLS returned to hosting an in-person Gathering and it felt like a long awaited family reunion.

The 2022 Annual Gathering was held at The Casa - Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, over the weekend of September 30th-October 2nd. The location in the southwest desert was complete with a stone labyrinth nestled among the cactus plants and palm trees. Mountain views, desert air, warm sunshine made the gathering a memorable experience. The warm 100+ degree F. daytime temperatures were made barely tolerable by air-conditioned indoor meeting spaces and a welcoming outdoor swimming pool. The venue offered excellent buffet meals with a variety of selections and comfortable hotel-style lodging.

Featured speakers included labyrinth artist Agnes Barmettler of Switzerland who spoke of her close work filming and documenting the Hopi tribe elders, and who also challenged us with questions to ponder in the labyrinth. Aaron Wright, an archeologist shared his research and studies involving the spirituality and symbolism of rock art in the SW area, incuding labyrinth images.

Pre-Gathering crafting workshops included drummaking led by Lisa Gidlow Moriarty and metal work journal making led by Sue Anne Foster. Participants selected from a diverse offering of twelve concurrent workshops included in the Gathering program. Several portable labyrinths were available to experience, including the ivy Santa Rosa labyrinth that was first unveiled at the 1999 Gathering in Denver Colorado.

No Gathering is complete without the Artisan/Vendor area and Silent Auction where an exciting last minute bidding war took place over a donated canvas labyrinth.

Our Saturday evening was filled with stories by an amazing group from the Southwest Community College Storytelling Institute. All stories were creatively wound around the labyrinth symbol. The lead storyteller, Kathy Shimpock also led a post-Gathering workshop on the craft of storytelling.

In the Opening Ceremony, Sandra Walden and her Energy Keepers assistants helped us weave a spider web of yarn, and during the Closing Ceremony, each particpant was given a piece of the web to tie around their wrist, connecting us and our memories long after we returned home from Gathering.

Post-Gathering tours included visits to the Heard Museum, Cosanti Originals and Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, as well as the Monday day-long tour of local labyrinths that is always a highlight and a great way to end a fantastic time together.

It was such a delight to finally gather together with labyrinth friends and collegues, old and new, after two years of virtual-only events. The 2022 Gathering was a huge success and many attendees recommended that The Casa venue be placed on a list of places to return to in future years. We look forward to gathering again in person in 2023, in a cooler lakeside location in the Blue Ridge Mountinas of North Carolina.