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 Laughing Flower Labyrinth Co. of Bellingham, the South Rose Hill/Bridle Trails Neighborhood Association, and the Labyrinth Ministry Team of Lake Washington United Methodist Church. This new labyrinth joins one in the disabled parking lot for St. John’s Episcopal Church on State Street, and its indoor canvas partner available at Lake Washington United Methodist Church on the 3rd Saturday of every month.
What is a labyrinth? A labyrinth can be described as a walking meditation or path of prayer. The labyrinth has ancient and anonymous origins and is therefore 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 tour puzzle in the form of a complex branching passage 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 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, hospital grounds, 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.
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.
The Rose Hill Meadows Park labyrinth is made of gravel and Montana Stampede ledge stone and is 28 feet in diameter. The pattern is called “Santa Rosa,” a modern interpretation of the medieval Chartres and older classical labyrinths. The design was originally created by Lea Goode-Harris of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth Foundation, Santa Rosa, CA, and adapted and installed by The Laughing Flower Labyrinth Co. to fit the space. Stop by the park and try it. It’s in the southwest corner.