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Labyrinth examined at April 25 workshop

By Staff | Apr 22, 2015

Brick labyrinths are common in Sanibel. A workshop is planned for April 25 at the St. Michael Church. CRAIG GARRETT

A private donor’s wish to examine spiritual development will bring an expert in the labyrinth to Sanibel April 25.

Nationally renowned labyrinth expert Zara Renander will lead an introductory workshop at the St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church. Participants can expect to learn about the history of labyrinths, as well as their current uses, and to have an opportunity to walk the labyrinth. Renander will bring a canvas labyrinth to the workshop.

The labyrinth, Renander said, “is an ancient symbol that belongs to the whole world.”

The labyrinth dates to pre-Christian times, that research shows was used in the Middle Ages as a substitute for going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, among many other uses. It was considered a devotional alternative.

Meandering a labyrinth today is used as walking meditations, to focus the mind and put the walker in tune with the greater reality metaphorically represented by the labyrinth. There are a couple of labyrinths in Sanibel, a large one at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ off Periwinkle.

Renander, educated in England and the US, views the labyrinth as a sacred place where one might pursue a spiritual journey or pilgrimage. Labyrinths are also used for various forms of healing, and for spiritual counseling in a pastoral ministry. She said they are particularly helpful to military veterans and others sorting through issues. She began using them to help abused children heal, she said.

“I have been thanked (by users) for helping get their lives back,” she said.

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church labyrinth workshop is from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The community is invited to come to learn about the mysteries of a labyrinth. Light refreshments will be served following the walk. RSVP to the church office 472-2173, which is located at 2304 Periwinkle.