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History of the BMC labyrinth

tajiboye's picture

This week I decided to take Anne's suggestion and do a little research on the labyrinth instead.

The labyrinth at Bryn Mawr was created by Jeanne Rachel Solomon '00, a McBride student, and offered by the McBrides as a gift to the college in 1999. 

In an article entitled "Risks on the Path", Solomon writes "We are prompted to slow down, to follow the path as it turns in and out to lead us into the center and out again. On the way we can muse, contemplate, dream, ask questions, provide answers, breathe, quiet the chatter inside, become silent and amazed."

I find it very interesting because I feel that each time I went to the labyrinth, I was really frustrated with how close I would get to the center only to be lead farther out. Reading her description of the purpose of the labyrinth helped me to understand a little more of what my state of mind should be when I encounter the labyrinth. I'm thinking back to that time in class where we discussed how it is difficult to "be in the moment" when we know we'll have to write about our experiences later. I think that maybe in the future I could come to the labyrinth with a certain problem that I'm contemplating or maybe even an assignment that it due and use my time at the space to contemplate it and only then judge the labyrinth's usefulness. Maybe doing this would even help me maximize my time at the labyrinth. 

Also, while reading the history of the BMC labryinth, I found that Jeanne chose the site  based on ease of maintenance and by using dowsing rods to determine where energy leys and a water dome coverged. Dowsing usually involves using two L-shaped rods that show a found object when they cross over and make an "X." I've never heard of this technique. Looking at the wikipedia page for dowsing explained that dowsing has not been scientifically proven by scientists, however many farmers still use it to this day. Quite interesting! The amount of time and effort put in to choosing the exact location for the labyrinth, makes me want to feel as though there is something really special that can make it a place to experience meditation. While I can not exactly say that I have experienced the process of "Being and Becoming" maybe that is something that I could also focus on in the future.


Anne Dalke's picture

I’m glad you’ve spent some time to learn more about the history, creation, and intention of the labyrinth (as well as of dowsing!)-- and it sounds as though what you’ve learned may enhance your own experiences there in the future. I very much like the notion of your bringing  a problem with you to the labyrinth, and just ‘holding’ it as your walk, to see what emerges…

Would you check (and correct) your sources, though? I see that Elizabeth Woy wrote an article about the McBride Program, Steps on the Way, and/but that Jeanne-Rachel Solomon wrote another, Risks on the Path, about her role in designing and creating the site. I think she's the one who should be given credit for this project....(maybe you took the walk from the first essay to the second a little too quickly?!)

tajiboye's picture

Thank you for pointing that out! I saw the difference in titles, but didn't stop to think if they were different articles or just different section by the same author. I'll make sure to pay more attention next time.