The Labyrinth

P1000577The labyrinth is open for all to visit at all times with no charge…you do not need to call before you come… but please respect the peace and privacy of those people staying at Jesters Nest.

What is a labyrinth?

A labyrinth is constructed as a single path making its way, with many changes of direction, to the centre, from where you retrace your steps.

It differs from a maze which may have dead ends or connecting passages.

You cannot be lost in a labyrinth – just keep following the path and you will reach the centre and, ultimately, return to where you started. It can be used for relaxation and as a walking meditation, or as a means of contemplating your life journey and coming to your spiritual centre – coming home to yourself.

                                                                                               The History of Labyrinths

P1000484 The origin of labyrinths is not clear but evidence of them has been found in many cultures throughout the world from earliest times. There are great variations in shape, pattern and size, from small finger labyrinths carved on walls to vast walking labyrinths in turf or stone. The original purpose of labyrinths is also unclear but would seem related to our human spiritual need to understand our world and feel part of a whole. Labyrinths have been incorporated into Christianity and examples may be found in many churches and cathedrals –perhaps the most famous being the Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. In contemporary times new labyrinths are being designed and constructed around the world in many settings, many of them being open to visitors.

Jesters Nest LabyrinthP1000537

Jesters Nest has a walking labyrinth constructed with local Karamea granite rocks and gravel.

Karamea granite is infinitely varied with large pink white and black crystals and is especially beautiful in the rain.  It is one of the oldest rocks in New Zealand, an igneous (volcanic) rock from the Paleozoic Devonian period and formed between 417 and 354 million years ago. In comparison the limestone of the nearby Oparara arches was laid down in the sea only 33.7 to 23.8 million years ago.

The design is contemporary, based on the seven circuit Santa Rosa design by Lea Goode-Harris of Santa Rosa California and was chosen for its symmetry and as it suited the size and shape of the site.

Why build a labyrinth?P1000530

I have difficulty answering this question as it seemed just to need to be here.

Somewhere, sometime, the seed was sown and now it has come to maturity.

I had been  fascinated by the idea of labyrinths  for many years.   Then at a conference in Nelson I met Maranu Gascoigne, a psychotherapist who had built a labyrinth with her husband Eolath Magee in Ireland. I borrowed some books and ideas from Maranu… and the seed germinated.

Over the past few years the vision has slowly come into reality and – with a great deal of hard work and the help of friends and visitors – a dock and buttercup filled paddock has been transformed into a beautiful stone labyrinth and restful garden area. It gives both visual pleasure and the opportunity for quiet contemplation and meditative walking.

Walking the labyrinth 

P1000480 Walking the labyrinth is as individual as those who walk it – there are no rules – you walk at your own speed and in the way that feels right for you.

The only suggestions are that you always retrace your steps from the centre to the entrance and don’t  take shortcuts …. and that you respect the process of any other people walking the labyrinth with you.

Many people choose a topic or concern to hold in their minds as they walk and often remark that they gained clarity as they walked.

At times, when busy, tired or anxious it may be enough just to acknowledge this as you walk or just to sit in the labyrinth area.

It can be useful to note your reactions to being in the labyrinth – to notice your urge to rush or shortcut, your response to the twists and turns, your thoughts, feelings or body reactions as you walk – and what that might mean in your life

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Or  just  be, for a while, in a beautiful sacred space.