Walking for Peace: State Labyrinth Revive Ancient Concepts
by Isatou Jamani Jallow, age 14
A local Madison farm called Hillsong ridge was recently converted into one of the now early 20 labyrinths in the area. Labyrinths are part of a growing trend to combat the stresses of fast-paced modern life.
Labyrinths consist of flat, circular paths that led to a central point. The middle of the labyrinth at Hillsong Ridge resembles a rose and is made up of four colors: red, to signify fire; blue, to signify water; and green and brown, to signify Mother Earth. Those who walk the paths of a labyrinth are meant to experience peace and calm as it helps rid the mind of unnecessary stresses and focus on what really matters.
“I like to breathe and let my thoughts go. Your thoughts will be there when you’re done. The path is designed to take you in and out and make you lose balance a little with where you’re at, so when you get to the middle there’s nothing else inside of you except for peace,” said Jamie Spahn, niece of Kathy Sphan, who owns the Hillsong Ridge labyrinth.
Though labyrinths originated in the thirteenth-century, they experienced a rebirth in the 1990s because of the growing AIDS crisis, when many with AIDS wanted a retreat from their health concerns. Kathy Spahn built the Hillsong Ridge labyrinth in particular as a retreat for her sister, Eileen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
Ultimately, labyrinths serve as “some kind of tool to help people, reflect, grieve, find solace, [and] find hope,” said Artress, a senior Episcopal priest at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
[Source: Wisconsin State Journal]