Walking the labyrinth …


Labyrinths, portals to transformation, come in many shapes and sizes. The 13th Annual Gathering of the Labyrinth Society recently took place in Parksville, BC, and we were lucky enough to sample some of the labyrinths and related activities. Who knew that there were such a plethora of labyrinths on the Island? Wow – a veritable cornucopia of labyrinthine structures to stroll and contemplate. The picture above documents a heart shaped sand labyrinth that we walked on the beach at Tigh-na-Mara.

This labyrinth painted on what looks like a concrete helicopter landing pad was recently completed beachside in Parksville.

We spent an afternoon exploring about 6 labyrinths in the Parksville-Qualicum area, all quite different. A very interesting one is located in the “Fairy Forest” in Qualicum; since there are no signs identifying it, one has to know where the entrance is in order to access a walk through the forest that, from the air, must be in the shape of a labyrinth. While inside the forest itself, we followed the various paths but couldn’t see the overall logic of the journey, a logic that would be apparent with an aerial view.

Inside this forest are many little surprises, visible if you’re observant, including painted rocks, sculptures in trees, niches with woodland saints, and garden gnomes.

A lovely small labyrinth has been created on the grass at the Oceanside Hospice Society using moss.

Staying at Beach Acres, right on the waterfront next door to Rathtrevor Beach and just down the sand from Tigh-na-Mara, allowed us to sample the gathering’s activities, including two sand labyrinths, a night-time light labyrinth, two indoor masking tape labyrinths,

and quite a few intricate wooden finger labyrinths, allowing one’s fingers to do the walking.

The beach here at Craig Bay is really beautiful and goes out a very long way when the tide is low. Interestingly, the makers of one of the afternoon beach labyrinths arranged to do so when the tide was low, but neglected to remember that it would be washed away later in the afternoon as the tide rose … not from around these watery parts, obviously!

We were lucky enough to have pretty good weather and the sunrises were lovely from our little beachfront cabin.

The photograph below gives you a good idea of the scale of the heart shaped labyrinth, carved by shovels into the sand below Tigh-na-Mara.

Labyrinths come in several different styles, including Classic, Chartres, and Cretan; the one below was drawn into the beach at night with the light of a bonfire.

On a sunny day, this really is a beautiful part of the world.

The Labyrinth Society kindly produced several very useful maps and information about the labyrinths here on the West Coast. You can find the links here.

See more photos here.

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