International visitors walk the Parkrose Labyrinth

Find out why dozens of people came to walk the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth – and why you, too, might want to stroll along these paving stones, laid at Parkrose High School …

Visitors from the international group, The Labyrinth Society, gather at the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth, as part of their annual convention.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
What started as a peaceful place for folks in outer NE Portland to meditate has now achieved international fame, evidenced by members of The Labyrinth Society having visited the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth on October 11.

You may wish to see past stories about this project (Click on the headline):

It took Sharon DeWitt, then groundskeeper for the Parkrose School District, plus a group of volunteers about a year to plan the project. They started building this labyrinth on Earth Day, in April of 2007. Since then, the volunteers have maintained it and held events at the site.

“The Labyrinth Society is holding their international convention this year at Edgefield,” DeWitt told us. “They’re doing a tour of labyrinths in Portland; this is one of their stops.”

DeWitt introduced to Estacada-based Stephen Shibley of Fertile Ground, LLC, who chaired the Labyrinth Society’s convention planning team.

Sharon DeWitt tells the visitors how the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth came into being.

Global visitors tread Parkrose pavers
“This is one is one of six labyrinths our group will visit and walk today,” Shibley noted. “About 40 of the 140 attendees at the gathering this year are on today’s tour.”

Some of the visitors, Shibley said, traveled from as far away as Scotland and Canada.

Asked why labyrinths are important to him, Shibley explained, “I’m a landscape architect and contractor, and I’ve found that labyrinths give people the opportunity to rediscover their creative core, their center, as a balancing tool. That’s important; life is so fast these days.”

Shibley also calls labyrinths an inclusive tool for bringing people together. “No matter where it is located – we find them at churches, schools, retreat centers, hospitals, you name it – everyone finds that these feed their soul in their own light. It’s great to give more people access to tools for balance – it’s a good thing.”

Christiana Brinton meditatively drums while guests walk the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth. Vicki Moser photo

After DeWitt told the visitors the history of this labyrinth, Christiana Brinton – who is with Turning Tide Energetics in Vancouver, WA, a seminar presenter at the international convention – prepared to drum, while the guests walked.

“I set up a temporary ‘13 Circuit Labyrinth’ at Edgefield, as part of my presentation during the convention, ‘A Spiral Form for the New Millennium’,” Brinton said. “Here, it’s nice to be able to drum in this open space.”

After the event, Brinton told us she heard numerous positive comments about the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth, and how much they enjoyed their visit to Parkrose.

Many of the visitors left inscriptions in a guest book – their comments follow at the end of this story.

Parkrose Labyrinth open to the public
You might scoff at the notion that walking a labyrinth offers a unique meditative experience – until you try it. The Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth is open to the public. Enter through the gate on the corner of NE Shaver St. at NE 115th Avenue.

More than 40 visitors walk the labyrinth on the grounds of Parkrose High School. Vicki Moser photo

Messages The Labyrinth Society (TLS) guests wrote after visiting the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth:

Fabulous” Lyn Monart, President TLS, Stillwater, MN
“Labyrinth Extraordinaire” Judy Hopan, St Louis, MO
“Turtke is wonderful teaching us to slow down and I liked the painted rocks from community” Janet Lorence, New Harmony, IN
“Thank You” Kathy Ruyts, Buhl, Idaho
“Thanks” Lynn Jarzornbek, Tuscon, AZ
“Very nice thank you” Juelete, Langhorne, PA
“There is a loveliness about this labyrinth that comes from the community.  Thank you for this experience.” Susan, Toronto, Ontario
“Thank you for creating such a wonderful space”  T Etztom. BC Canada
“Thank you for this wonderful labyrinth on school grounds is so great.  Loved to see both great mountains from the center.” Carol House, New Jersey, The Labyrinth Society Energy Keeper Chair
“I was struck by all of the images of reverence for the earth, the desire for peace among all beings, the honoring of those past and felt enfolded by the resonance of all that incredible energy.  Thank you!” Hallie Sawyer, Ithaca, NY
“What a wonderful freeing, it was a connecting experience for the children.  Thank you” Litta, Minnesota
“Very much an Earth Labyrinth”  Boulder, Colorado
“A school labyrinth! I love it.  Thank you for letting us come and experience.”  a retired teacher from NJ
“Thank you for sharing your wonderful school labyrinth.  It encourages me to continue talking to my Evergreen School at Ft Lewis where the children and families need this peaceful space.”
“Thank you for listening to the earth and what she needed to bring stability and balance to the area.  Peace within faster Peace in the community”
“Thank you thank you thank you for the Awesome Labyrinth”
“My favorite stone “Give Peace A Chance”  Thanks”
“Thank you! What a wonderful gift to the whole community.  I love the painted rocks”
“It was a wonderful gift to be able to drum for the group! ” Christiana
“Mother Earth has taught me well; Abundance lies within my shell”  Beth Langly   (from Animal song poems for affirmation , Jonathan Wolfe, Learning for Life.)

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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