Our Labyrinth and the Summer Solstice
Nestled in a grove of mostly bois d’arc trees near the center of the farm is our five-circuit Chartes-style labyrinth. We laid it in the summer of 2019 using the chimney bricks from the historic little house, seeking to create a space for contemplation, inspiration, and rest.
There are many ways to walk a labyrinth, just as there are many ways to pray. One common way is to walk the serpentine path toward the center of the labyrinth saying a prayer to let go of something; you walk away from the center with a prayer of asking God what you need to take on as you go back into the world. There is only one way in and one way out, though part of the point is that you can’t see the whole journey until you take it. Still, it’s not a maze, only a path to follow.
Sometimes, here on the farm, we carry a rock in with us, a visible sign of the thing of which we need to let go. We leave the rock somewhere on the path, so that then our hands are open to whatever God wants us to pick up for our lives and our life of faith in the world. Leaving the labyrinth is an opportunity for a new beginning, a chance for us to recognize God’s grace.
This summer solstice time – when the sun is at its highest over the equator, the season is beginning, the day is long and the night is short—is also an opportunity for newness. It is an opportunity to slow down, to wonder at what part of our lives need to be left behind, and what God is calling us to take on in the world next.
There is no straight path through this summer season, but just like the labyrinth, there is a path forward. This path will wind its way through the days ahead. What will we need to leave behind? What will we need to walk toward, opened handed?
This summer solstice, we will lay a prayer mandala at the center of the labyrinth. The mandala—made from natural items from around the farm—will eventually be blown away by the wind or carried away by creatures. As we pray at the center, we will remember that only God does not pass away. The seasons do not change God. Together we will lay our prayers and then together we will walk out into the world, ready to work with God’s help, love, and grace.