Firesouls and friends: labyrinth walk and connection session at Maryland Hall

Last month, we welcomed Firesouls from the Labyrinth Leaders Affinity Group, as well as other Firesouls interested in this site feature and local community members to join us for a labyrinth walk, lunch and connection session at Maryland Hall in Annapolis. Our Labyrinth Leaders Affinity Group includes folks from Alabama to Washington, D.C and beyond. These Firesouls’ Sacred Places each include a labyrinth as a key design element. This group includes Firesouls who are interested in learning and sharing resources and programming ideas to better engage their communities utilizing this moving meditative tool.  

What is a labyrinth?

The labyrinth has ancient and anonymous origins and is therefore an archetype, a pattern that is universal to all of humanity. Labyrinths have been found in many cultures all over the world — on pottery, coins, tablets and tiles that date as far back as 5,000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals and circles mirrored in nature. Open to anyone regardless of faith, they have been created for public and private gardens, hospitals, schools, places of worship, and other healing and reflective settings. Crucially, a labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends, just a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center and back again, allowing walkers to place sole focus on their internal journeys. 

Bringing the community together…

Laura Brino, Firesoul at Maryland Hall, kicked off the meeting by introducing Maryland Hall and the labyrinth space. She shared about the various educational programs and exhibits at MD Hall, including free concerts to the community, local performances (such as Firesoul Todd Marcus and his Jazz Quartet’s concert last summer), artist exhibitions, summer camps and more. Their labyrinth is a well-loved space for yoga and tai-chi, Maryland Hall’s Front Steps Concert Series, and other events and gatherings. 

We used this opportunity to share one of our new Program Guides, the Labyrinth Guide, with attendees. These guides have been curated specifically for Network participants, showcasing creative ways that other Firesouls have activated their Sacred Places.

In addition to the Labyrinth Guide, we have guides available for Healthcare and Community Farming Firesouls, both of which are available in PDF format in the Resource Center of the Firesoul Gateway.  

All of these examples and more can be supported by Network Enrichment and Enhancement Grants, available to all Firesouls.  

Participants walk the labyrinth

We were particularly excited to be joined by Doncella Wilson and Vanessa Truxon, Firesouls from Minary’s Dream Alliance which is a new site in the Network located in Chestertown, MD. While they are still in the design process, their new site design will likely feature a labyrinth. They were eager to learn more about labyrinths and ways that others have used them as programming and community engagement tools.  

Putting these ideas into practice, Chief Programs Officer, Erin Robertson led us through an independent labyrinth and journaling activity. Participants were each given a mini yellow journal and instructed to find a nature object that spoke to or resonated with them in some way. After taking a moment to journal about why they chose their object, participants walked into the labyrinth, leaving their object in the center. For some, their object represented worries or burdens, and leaving it in the center before walking out of the labyrinth symbolically encouraged the walker to let go of whatever may have been weighing on them. After exiting the labyrinth, folks continued to reflect on the experience in their little yellow journals. While this mindfulness activity was short and relatively simple, Firesouls and friends were grateful for the opportunity to slow down and practice mindfulness in the midst of a busy workday and week.   

After the activity, we shared a picnic lunch. We had a lovely time connecting with this great group of Firesouls. 

This was Firesoul Sarah Ryan, a newer Firesoul from the Annapolis Lighthouse’s first in-person Network meeting

Thank you for doing this for all of us today! Being able to spend time with other Firesouls who are doing the same kind of work we are doing was so refreshing. It was just nice to have a meeting that wasn’t about an agenda but just about connection.

After lunch, Sarah took the remaining lunches with her back to the Lighthouse community.  

Overall, we had an enjoyable, restorative time together outdoors while welcoming new and familiar Firesouls, as well as partners and community members from the greater Annapolis area. We realize that out-of-area Firesouls were not able to attend, but we encourage you to visit the Labyrinth Program Guide in the Firesoul Resource Center to help you plan your own labyrinth event, and if you need any support or would like to have a brainstorming session, reach out to Hannah – she is always happy to help!