The City of Kirkland adds its first labyrinth to a local neighborhood park.
The Rose Hill Meadows Park, located in South Rose Hill on 124th Ave. NE between NE 80th and 85th streets, has a new feature – a labyrinth! This walking path was made possible through a partnership of the City of Kirkland, labyrinth designer and builder Myra Smith of The Laughing Flower Labyrinth Co. of Bellingham, WA, the South Rose Hill/Bridle Trails Neighborhood Association, and the Labyrinth Ministry Team of Lake Washington United Methodist Church. A photo album of the construction process can be found on Facebook.
This new labyrinth joins two others in Kirkland—an outdoor labyrinth painted on the parking lot of St. John’s Episcopal Church on State Street, and an indoor canvas labyrinth available at Lake Washington United Methodist Church on the 3rd Saturday of every month.
A labyrinth is an ancient pattern combining the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path, and can be used for prayer or meditation. It can serve as a metaphor for life’s journey to one’s center and back again out into the world. The labyrinth has ancient and anonymous origins and is considered an archetype, a pattern that is universal to all of humanity. Labyrinths have been found in many cultures all over the world—on pottery, coins, tablets and tiles that date as far back as 5,000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals and circles mirrored in nature, and symbolizing unity, oneness or wholeness.
The term labyrinth is often used interchangeably with maze, but modern scholars use a stricter definition: a maze is a complex puzzle with choices of path and direction, while a single-path labyrinth has an unambiguous through-route to the center and back, and is not designed to be difficult to navigate. Since there is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, some will walk slowly, others will walk fast, and children (and some adults!) may run for joy on the path. Labyrinths are open to all people and all ages as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit.
Labyrinths are currently used worldwide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, meditate, gain insight, self-reflect, reduce stress, and to discover innovation and celebration. They may be found in parks, retreat centers, spas, hospitals, churches and private residences. There are over 20 in the Seattle area, including a new, large, orange labyrinth painted on the asphalt at Seattle Center, between the Center House, EMP and the Space Needle.
The Rose Hill Meadows Park labyrinth is made of gravel and Montana Stampede ledge stone. The original design is by Lea Goode-Harris, Ph.D. of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth Foundation; it was adapted and installed by The Laughing Flower Labyrinth Co. The Santa Rosa design combines elements of the medieval Chartres and the more ancient classical labyrinths. Residents of Kirkland and visitors alike are encouraged to stop by the park and try it. The labyrinth is located in the southwest corner of Rose Hill Meadows Park.