TLS Members e-Newsletter

Members eNewsletter
At least four times a year, TLS members are rewarded at their inboxes with a copy of the Labyrinth Society e-newsletter. It serves as a means of direct communication with the membership and provides an historical record of the Society.

2013 Parksville Gathering: An Organiser's Reflection

“We’re on the path to peace, my friend, we’re on the path to peace….”

Jean Shinoda Bolen and Holly Carnegie Letcher

This song plays in my head daily thanks to Rick Scott and Carol Matthews, who unveiled Ariadne’s Labyrinth Song during our opening keynote evening. It has been over 6 weeks since the 15th Annual TLS Gathering, Labyrinths for Global Healing, Landscapes for the Soul and I am returning to a slower paced life on Vancouver Island; and yet I am still energized from our time together. Co-ordinating a Gathering is an enormous undertaking but well worth the commitment! I have so many incredible memories of connection and co-creating meaningful moments. I participated in both pre- and post-Gathering Pilgrimages as well as orchestrating the Main Gathering in Parksville. Day after day for 7 days, I felt exhilarated and in awe at the richness and abundance of friendships that this winding circular pathway had brought into my life. There were so many high-lights and perfect synchronicities that I hardly know where to begin.

On the very first day of Pilgrimage, I was moved to tears at the dedication ceremony by the Mayor of Victoria BC, for the First Annual Labyrinth Friendship Day, which will be acknowledged every September 16th. I offer gratitude for the intimate conversations in Christ Church Cathedral and the generosity of labyrinth folks from all over the world, who never hesitated to jump in and lend a hand, a canvas labyrinth, a song, a hug, a ride, draw a labyrinth in the sand, tape one on a carpet, lay it out with rainbow scarves, flour or solar lights…

I experienced: being in a room full of laughing labyrinth lovers at the spectacular Tigh Na Mara Resort, singing Happy 93rd Birthday to my Gran; dancing with 150 school children on beach labyrinths in the pouring rain, hearing talented musicians and storytellers; a magical marketplace, workshop and poster presenters sharing their passions, research, and innovation, sharing circles, the wisdom of Keynote Speakers Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen and Carol Matthews, Bill Godden’s Finger Labyrinth Museum display, the annual silent auction; Naam Yoga: Love, Peace, Light to all; the Charter for Compassion, the O.U.R. Ecovillage, a full moon celebration with First Nations in Cowichan Bay; drinking wine and talking into the wee hours, Damali Lavender Farm, Sylvan United Church, stimulating discussions, totem poles, Dances of Universal Peace, a Buddhist temple, crystal labyrinths and mandalas, the oldest Canadian canvas labyrinth, a Celebration of Life ceremony, Full Moon Candlelight Beach Labyrinth walks, Goats on the Roof, hugging trees in Cathedral Grove, Milner Garden’s tea party, running like children through the Handprint Labyrinth in the pouring rain, West Coast General Hospital Circle of Peace Labyrinth and stories over delicious fish and chips, Heart Stone Labyrinth sunshine and picnics on the Autumnal Equinox... these are some snippets of my memories with you.

Please send me yours, with your name, city, country and “My favourite memory of Gathering 2013 is….”in the subject line to Holly Letcher.

We also leave behind a legacy. Parksville Community Park Legacy Labyrinth was created by local volunteers in collaboration with the City of Parksville and is recognized as a Special Project of The Labyrinth Society. It has already held the space for the Celebration of Life of a friend and co-creator of this community gift. Wendy Needham of Nanaimo, BC, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few weeks after Gathering and left us very suddenly. Her family and friends shared memories, sang and walked this path together on Wednesday October 23rd, 2013. Carpe Diem.

I would like to offer immeasurable gratitude to the entire TLS board who guided me throughout the planning process, most notably to Stephen Shibley, David Gallagher, and Hallie Sawyers who spent uncountable long distance telephone hours and emails in planning and support. Much appreciated also was the wisdom and experience of Lisa Moriarty, John Rhodes, Helen Curry, Robert & Linda Ferré.

Lars Howlett and Beth Ross were amazing in bringing to life this Gathering through photography, videography, graphic design, website, Facebook, YouTube videos, tote bags & programmes, capturing it for our everlasting memories. 

And last but not least, this Gathering could not have happened without our dedicated local Vancouver Island Volunteer Team. We spent endless hours planning, problem solving, organizing and engaging our communities in preparation for this remarkable event. Special thanks to my Co-chair Janett Etzkorn, Beth Ross, Patricia Fenske, Renee Lindstrom, Diane Jones, Linda Magnuson, Carol Matthews, Judi Malcolm, Anne Nesbitt, Joyce Peeke-Vout, Laurie Schuerbeke, Laurie Williamson, Katherine Zimmer, Joyce Tinnion, Lita Kabeck, Bonita Finotti, Bonnie Evoy, Lisa Leger, Greer Cummings, Jerry Etzkorn, Les Blydo, Halliday Walsh, Sarah Oliver, Jill Sawchuck, Diana McKenzie, Aurelie Stirling, Sandy McPherson, Carol Ann Carnegie, Kevin Letcher, Aryana Rayne, Sharron Hudson, Andrew Twiddy, Ellen Vaillancourt, Vivien Frow, Melanie Young, Margaret Hearnden, Wendy Needham, Angela Bone, Henri Lock, Shylene Shlackl, Candis Elliott, Terry Loeppky, Kathleen Arnason, Gaynor Hughes, Micha Marsh, Marney Armitage, Betsy Nuse, Sherry Moir, Nada Doesnovic, Catherine Harvey, Rochelle Graham, Brandy Gallagher, Murray Groom, Joy Larson, Ellen Brown, Ernie Sherman, Mindy Holman, Crystal Burgess, Petra Knight, TLS members Tom Vetter, Leslie Pettis and Dan Raven and of course the patience and support of my beautiful family.

I also wanted to acknowledge those members who could not make it to Gathering this year; we held the space for you and felt you here in spirit.

I would like to come full circle and say “Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha…very good, very good, YAY!” Keep smiling, laughing and crying as you walk the path, it’s good for your heart and soul and remember … “at the centre you’ll find you, my friend, at the centre you’ll find you.”

Wishing you peace, health, joy and abundance in 2014 and I look forward to walking the path with you in Florida,

Holly Carnegie Letcher
(Co-Chair of 15th Annual TLS Gathering, Vancouver Island, BC. Canada. Sept 16-22nd, 2013)

P.S. Another Gathering Legacy…you brought our Island labyrinth communities together. Please visit at Vancouver Island Labyrinths.