Despite what movies and stories may lead you to believe, these structures are not mazes. A proper labyrinth has only one path to follow, usually within a circular boundary. The path turns back on itself again and again as you journey to the center “resting” area, and from which you follow the exact same path on your return journey. Some labyrinths feature a single path that progress from the beginning to the end, without the center resting area.
Indoors or outdoors, a labyrinth brings peaceful thought and reflection to your life. Indoor paths are often as simple as large floor coverings or carpets, but can actually be artistic installations of metal or wood that allow for the use of music, controlled lighting, and even scent to aid your “travels”. Outdoor trails can be soft grassy paths amongst plantings (as short as flowers, or as tall as hedgerows), stone-within-stone paths, or even graveled ways that allow you to sense all of nature during your walk. Sometimes, organized walks are arranged where drums or certain music will be played to ‘enhance’ you all-around experience.
While this is far from a complete guide-of-use, suffice it to say that when you walk a labyrinth’s path, you should leave behind all semblances of timekeeping and technology. The walk is about you – not about time, having others join you (either physically or virtually.
The walk begins as you enter the path. Concentrate on the walk itself – understand that it is a journey of both mind and body. Follow the meandering as slowly as you need to release your mind of worries, concerns, or even doubts. As you progress toward the center of the design, concentrate on the very basics of existence – those things you can experience with your senses – and open your mind to the entire experience. When you reach the center itself, pause for a while to listen to yourself and your own spirit, get a better understanding of the journey that you are actually taking, and mentally note any illuminations you are experiencing. On your journey outward, reflect on the experience as a whole and how to use it in your daily life.
Sound like something you would like to experience? Below is a list of labyrinths in the area: when you plan your vacation to the Inn at Gothic Eves, a visit to one of these Finger Lakes locations is just a short drive from the bed and breakfast. Come for a relaxing getaway and receive the added benefit of a potentially profound experience! Outdoor labyrinths are open seasonally between late spring and late fall.
Interestingly enough, there is an organization called the World Labyrinth Society that is based right here in Trumansburg! This organization supports and educates anyone interested in learning about, or building labyrinths of any type, and keeping the sacred nature of these creations intact.
- Grants Champion Labyrinth
88 Cayuga Street, Trumansburg, New York 14886, Contact: Jane Hexter, 607-387-3412
A 40-foot garden labyrinth created by the World Labyrinth Society. This is a PRIVATE path – please call for an appointment.
- Skyland Farm and Gallery
4966 State Rt. 414, Burdett, NY 14818, 607-546-5050
This small, permanent gravel/stone creation is located in front of a great art/gift shop.
- The Stonecat Cafe
5315 State Route 414, Hector, NY 14841, Contact: Lisa Lang, 607-582-7797
A small stone path built around an herb and vegetable garden.
- Amazeing Acres
9803 Lodi Center Rd., Hector, NY 14841, 607-592-5493
A traditional labyrinth. This location is an outdoor activity location and does charge an entrance feel.
- Foundation of Light
399 Turkey Hill Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850, Contact: Mary Gilliland, 607-273-9550
Another traditional labyrinth at a beautiful facility.
- Moonlight Labyrinth
133 Compton Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850, Contact: Janis Strope, 607-277-3807
Close to 1000 were lovingly placed to create this traditional labyrinth. This is a PRIVATE location – please call before visiting.
- Living Hope Fellowship
132 Indian Creek Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
This inlaid structure is open to the public during the warm months.
- First Presbyterian Church
520 N. Decatur St, Watkins Glen, New York 14891, Contact: Rev. Beverly Lyon, 607-535-2377
Located directly behind the church, and accessible from the parking lot – this site is always open to the public.