Friday, June 03, 2011

Trinity Episcopal Church Gardens and the Chartres Labyrinth

We just returned from a long Memorial Day vacation in Medford, Oregon where one daughter played and the other worked as assistant referee for the Rogue Valley Cup Soccer Tournament. What does this have to do with holy, spiritual labyrinths, you might ask? Everything.
Trinity Gardens labyrinth Ashland Oregon
For, you see, Medford is just 10 miles north of Ashland, Oregon. And within Ashland is the Trinity Episcopal Church and its Trinity Gardens, which is the site of a very nice, holy and spiritual labyrinth.
At the church's website, the history of the garden is chronicled way back;
The story of Trinity Garden goes back for millennia, deep into the Pleistocene Epoch...
Well, we probably don't need quite that much history. Here's the more recent gist of it;
Trinity Garden, Columbarium, and Sacred Ground was finished in the late fall of 2004. The garden consists of a large Chartres style labyrinth, designed and painted by the internationally known Robert Ferré on colored concrete. The three separate Columbaria units consist of 145 individual niches for the repose of the ashes of parish members and their families. Sacred ground for the scattering or burial of parishioners’ ashes is located in a fenced area between the columbarium units and the church. Low benches, a trellis, and a fountain are additional garden amenities. The trellis with seating beneath serves as a visual connection to the church building itself.
The Chartres Cathedral in France is widely know for its impressive architecture, stained glass windows, use of sacred geometry and its labyrinth. Located in Chartres, France, about an hour southwest of Paris, the 800 plus year old church is considered to be one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style with heavy flying buttresses and spires that reach nearly 400 feet in height. And there is also a world famous labyrinth, regularly walked by the religiously pious, the spiritually aware and the just-plain-curious alike.
Chartres Cathedral labyrinth Chartres France

The Chartres labyrinth is a bit like a gigantic pattern of concentric circles on the floor but it's really a maze. Though there is no solving a puzzle with this maze; you simply follow between the lines at the beginning and will wind up at the end in a few minutes. The whole idea is to hold contemplative thoughts and energies as you go to better connect with God, spirit, higher source, however you like to think about it.
Devan Matthews, Shelby Matthews, Jana Matthews walking the Trinity Garden labyrinth

Devan, Shelby and Jana walking the spiritual path at Trinity Gardens in Ashland, Oregon. The church to the right (not in picture) had Sunday service so the sounds of singing and hymns accompanied the walk. Nice touch.
at the beginning Devan Matthews, Shelby Matthews, Jana Matthews

 At the beginning. Twelve trees around the garden symbolize the apostles.

botanical gardens of Trinity Church Ashland Oregon

Beautiful botanical garden and flowers in bloom around the trellis.
fountain at Trinity gardens Ashland Oregon

Fountain with three large rocks symbolizing the Holy Trinity.

I have been to France twice but never to Chartres. Due to our brief but memorable time in Ashland and the Trinity Gardens, our family has added the Chartres church and labyrinth to our wish list. For those thinking of visiting Southern Oregon, Ashland has many wonderful places to visit and things to do.

Thoughts or comments?
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