Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Labyrinth of Sacred Oak Grove

For some whose frame of reference for the word "labyrinth" would be a muppet musical starring David Bowie, a couple of quick notes:

  • A true labyrinth is an elaborately winding path, either one that is rendered as an image or one that is a literal 3-D path one can follow on foot.

  • Some labyrinths are not just open paths, but completely closed-in corridors or tunnels, such as the one built to hold the Minotaur in Greek mythology, or the one in which the detective monks find themselves lost in Umberto Eco's classic The Name of the Rose. In both stories, the heroes find their way out of the labyrinth by winding a thread by which one's steps can be retraced. (Incidentally, this is precisely where we derive the modern term "clue" - from "clew", an ancient nautical term for cord, rope, twine or thread.) Technically, these were maze-type labyrinths, with multiple path options branching off.

    What we're concerned with here is the open-air path style of labyrinth, an excellent example of which can be experienced at the Sacred Oak Grove, an alternative-spirituality retreat in Sorgho, KY, Daviess County. The Labyrinth of Sacred Oak Grove is based on the one in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres, France, built in 1201.

    Sacred Oak Grove's mission statement is "to create, improvise and nuture a sacred transformational environment, in order to remember, validate and illuminate our divine connection". It's the project of Clarice O'Bryan, who describes herself on her website as "teacher, healer, dancer, intuitive masseuse".

    There's also a smaller, but very interesting, open-path labyrinth at Hopscotch House, a women's retreat off Wolf Pen Branch in Prospect.
  • 1 comment:

    Peter Brackney said...

    There is also a labyrinth in Danville - right next to the grave of Ephraim McDowell.