As my fourth year on staff at Kintail , I have learned not to be surprised when asked to do a random assortment of jobs at camp. However, this spring I was informed by our Directors that they had a special task in mind for me. They were hoping that I would take on the responsibility of researching and then executing the creation of a labyrinth on our site. My reaction to this feat was “What the heck is a labyrinth?!” Previous to this spring, my knowledge of a labyrinth was that it was kind of like a maze, but not actually a maze. So with that as my starting point, I began looking into types of labyrinths, their purposes, how to draw them and then eventually how to create one on my own. In my studies I learned that a labyrinth is in fact not a maze at all, but a circuit that has one path into the centre, and that same path is used to exit from the centre. Although there can be a different amount of paths, our labyrinth is of the seven circuit variety with paths approximately three feet wide in order to be accessible to all. Labyrinths may serve a number of purposes, but they are primarily a spiritual, meditative journey to reflect on oneself.
As a Christian, the labyrinth may also be used to journey through a threefold path of releasing, receiving and integrating. The walk into the centre represents the opportunity to let go of your concerns and worries, reaching the centre allows for to focus on their new insights and pray, and the walk back through the labyrinth allows for thought on how to manifest these insights into one’s life. I found that the more I learned, the more interesting labyrinths became to me, and the more excited I was to have one at camp. The building process was initially confusing, but having filled my notebook with sketches, distances and facts, the time came to turn an idea into a reality. Using flags and excessive amounts of rope, I managed to get the labyrinth modelled on the ground. From there, it became less of a mentally taxing job and required primarily physical labour. To me, this signalled the time to recruit some wonderful helpers who dug trenches to replace the rope outline, then cut posts from cedar trees to create a marked path of stakes. It was a slow process, but the staff excitement grew as our work project came together. The completion of the labyrinth was my favourite addition to site this year, mainly due to my high level of involvement and therefore attachment to it, and I still regularly venture out and meditate in the centre. The labyrinth is beneficial to the spiritual growth of campers and staff alike, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to be a part of it. Plus, if anyone asks me now, I can tell them exactly what a labyrinth is.