ABOVE: The Opening Ceremony on November 5 for our labyrinth, held after the campaign ended, was attended by many locals. Watch a video of it by Jonatan of Rest Your Eyes Productions here. See updates in Comments section for more info.
a temporary labyrinth in Byron?
As a well-loved tourist mecca, sometimes Byron Bay can get pretty busy. During the peak tourist season, the energy can get positively frazzled. Worldwide, communities are installing public labyrinths as places of quiet reflection and healing. They evoke a sacred space where people can do a walking meditation. It invites participation. A labyrinth can be enjoyed by people of any age, race, religion or ability level. It is a perfect setting for co-generational sharing. Young children love to run a labyrinth, whereas adults generally walk it slowly and contemplatively.
Labyrinths resonate closely with the values of the Byron community as a spiritual, earth-loving community and could be used by tourists and locals alike. The stories, history and myths related to labyrinths are fascinating and will be explained more in community radio broadcasts, recordings and small gatherings at the labyrinth. The long-term goal of this team is to instal a permanent labyrinth in Byron Bay.
A relatively shady location along the grassed Byron Bay foreshore between the two kayak companies and towards the Beach (cafe) end has been chosen near the Denning Park children's playground, that is quiet and sheltered enough to facilitate inward reflection.
What about Council permission?
Local community storyteller and 'Stories on Foot'* tour guide, Jenni Cargill-Strong was one of the successful applicants to the Byron Shire Council’s Placemaking Seed Fund and a catalyst event for the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan.
While this is a pop-up place activation, if the community embrace it, an application will be made to Byron Bay Council for permission and seed-funding to install a permanent labyrinth next year.
The labyrinth would be installed by Saturday, November 5 and would last until Saturday, Dec 3, 2016 (unless weather delays us as we will need dry weather to paint it on the grass).
After much consultation with Council, the temporary design will be creating using Council line markers and the labyrinth will be beautified by Jacquelina Wills with an ephemeral, biodegradable mandala. (That is, the image at the very top is a rough guide, ours will be different.)
The longer story
The idea arose for a labyrinth on the Byron foreshore after Jenni attended place activation workshops offered through Byron Shire Council, as well as meetings for the Byron Bay Master Plan. Locals came together to brainstorm how to make Byron more beautiful, more community friendly, greener and safer. Community members identified the Main Beach car park and Apex Park on the foreshore as particular areas of disharmony.
Jenni had been walking the Byron foreshore with visitors, telling stories of place on her fledgling walking tour, ‘Stories on Foot’ .* While she did that, she saw a need for something to help soothe people’s souls amid that often hectic holiday vibe.
Jenni had also been dreaming of building a labyrinth somewhere in Byron shire for many years with her friend, well known local community artist Jacquelina Wills, because they are beautiful, spiritual, mysterious, community building and very therapeutic. Jacquelina has made several labyrinths and many earth mandalas. After discussing her idea with Council staff, they suggested she offer a temporary labyrinth first with some community events, then apply for a grant to install a permanent one at a future funding round.
What is a labyrinth?
Many locals and regular visitors to Byron may have walked the labyrinth at the Crystal Castle (see image below). The labyrinth is a walking meditation. It has only one path that leads from the outer edge in a circuitous way to the centre. You can’t lose your way in a labyrinth, unlike a maze. A labyrinth is a tool to help to calm the mind, ground the body, soothe the soul, allow answers to questions to arise and even help you find your true path.
ABOVE: The labyrinth at Crystal Castle
Labyrinths and the ancient myth of Inanna
a storyteller, Jenni sees that labyrinths, like myths and folktales, can act as
roadmaps to support us in our life’s journey. As a part of this project, Jenni
wants to record an ancient and closely related myth which speaks of this
profound inward journey: The Descent to the Underworld of the Sumerian Goddess
Inanna. The Descent myth of Inanna refers to the goddess passing through seven
gates to the underworld and is the mythic forebear of the Dance of the Seven
"Both the labyrinth and descent myths reveal that in order to access our own inner wisdom, we need to still our busy minds", says Jenni. "I am not good at sitting and meditating, but I love walking a labyrinth. It helps me access that meditative, calm state- outdoors, while moving! On a spiritual level, a labyrinth is a way to connect to the land through your feet and it is also a meeting place for the seen and the unseen realms."
How our labyrinth will help change the world
There is a growing global labyrinth movement lead by the organisation, Veriditas ‘dedicated to inspiring personal and planetary change and renewal through the labyrinth experience.’ They find that labyrinths are ‘a tool for personal and community transformation’. There is even a worldwide labyrinth locator. Walking a labyrinth can help us not only reconnect to ourselves, the land and build community, but walking the labyrinth with an awareness that other people are walking labyrinths worldwide, can create a global sense of spiritual connection which is beyond nationality, race, religion or ethnicity.
Who: Jenni and Jacquelina
Jenni Cargill-Strong is a professional, award-winning community storyteller with a passion for the environment and community. She has presented many school and community performances and given workshops to mental health practitioners, art therapists and environmentalists from Chrysalis, the Buttery and Landcare on ways to use storytelling therapeutically and environmentally. ‘Stories on Foot: Tales of Byron Bay and the Rainbow Region’ * is her new business focused on connecting visitors and locals to place through stories. You can select as your perk either tickets to these tours or her CD's for kids.
Jenni held regular ‘Golden Tales’ local story community concerts in Brunswick Heads and has written and performed stories for community events such as the Drill Hall Centenary, the opening of the Mullum Creative Sculpture Walk and environmental rallies. Jenni has a regular segment on Riddhi's poetry and spoken word program, ‘The Bohemian Beat’.
Her first performance of the myth of the Goddess Inanna was directed by Neal Cameron.
ABOVE: Jenni leading a 'Stories on Foot'* foreshore walk.
Jacquelina Wills is an artist and community worker with a Bachelor of Social Science and Diploma of Visual arts. Her interests lie in social ecology and the relationship between the environment and society. Jacquelina works with various mediums including painting, print, clay, theatre, movement, and sculpture as well as ephemeral installations, working intuitively with the natural world.
· Mullumbimby Community Gardens Festivals 2013, 2014.
· Bentley 2014 Earth mandala installation
· Uplift Festival Byron Bay 2012 sculpture project, 2013 water mandala earth mandala project.
· Wanderlust Yoga Festival 2015 labyrinth and wandering theatre performance..
· Mullumbimby Renew Festival 2016 Earth Mandala installation.
· Earth Frequency festival- Earth installation sacred geometry 2015, and 2016.
Above: A mandala at Uplift by Jacquelina Wills.
ABOVE: Jacquelina and partner Pete in front of the start of the earth mandala she made at Bentley. The inset shows how it looked once finished.
Ways to support us :)
If you don't want or need any of the things we are offering as perks, you can click on the grey and red DONATE tabs. If you don't see an amount that suits you click on 'other' and specify it. All donations- from the tiny to the enormous are gratefully welcomed!
If you don't want to donate using PayPal or credit card, email Jenni on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for bank deposit details, which Jenni can happily email to you. She will then add your name to the list of supporters manually.
We already have in generous donations secured from The Crystal Castle for opening ceremony of
- rose quartz crystals
- colourful flags
Thanks so much to our business sponsors: scroll down for full list
Business or individual sponsors who give $110 or more cash or in-kind support, will have their praises sung far and wide on Jenni's FB pages (890 fans) newsletter (close to 400 subscribers) and blog. Unless you tell us not to that is! :)
What your contribution will do: guided labyrinth walks, events, myth recording and clay modelling
Council granted Jenni $1200 to make a temporary labyrinth to last a month, which is enough to pay Jacquelina and Jenni time and materials to install the temporary labyrinth.
However they need another $2000 (but could use more), to offer modest fees for the creatives involved in this project, including ourselves.
With $2 000 we can offer through November:
- Uplifting opening and closing community events at labyrinth site
- Fund coordination and publicising of events
- Guided labyrinth walk, stories and quick clay modelling with Jenni & Jacquelina twice a week for a month
- Jenni reweave the myth cycle of Inanna including her Descent to the Underworld with reference to the labyrinth for performance and recording.
- Recording, editing and engineering, musician fee for accompaniment (recording to be made available via Soundcloud and played on Bay FM)
- Keep a blog of developments to update funders and followers here.
With $2000 + we could also
- Pay performers modest fees at Opening and Closing Ceremonies
- Fund Jenni and/or Jacquelina to attend the Labyrinth Summer School in Sydney in January, 2017. This would be great preparation before embarking on a journey towards installing a permanent labyrinth in Byron Bay and perhaps others through the Shire. There is already strong community interest a permament one, gathered since launching the crowdfunding and it is likely we could get a D.A. from Byron Shire Council, especially if this temporary labyrinth and events project goes well.
Big warm thanks to our business sponsors who have contributed the following cash and in-kind donations. We welcome lots more sponsors in cash or see our In Kind Wish List above.
Spiral Foods are our major sponsor having donated $1,750!
The Crystal Castle will supply crystals and flags for Opening event
Shogun Print have donated the rest of our printing needs: graphic artwork, corflute posters and posters
Mullum Printworks donated free artwork for a corflute and 250 B&W postards
Moontime Diaries donated 5 diaries worth $36 each as perks
Byron Kinesiology (Australian Wellness Centre) bought a $110 perk
Nature's Child (Jannine Barron) made a $100 donation
Rainbows and Clover donated three strings of high quality bunting
Painted Earth donated non-toxic, eco friendly paint for decorating stones with fractal designs and painting the footpath and clay paint to lead people from busy Surf Club area towards us.
Sustainable Futures Australia in Byron Bay donated $50 for materials
Byron Bay Council will help with line-marking
Leisurescapes are happy to donate some materials
Byron Gems donated 5 medium sized flags @ $15 each
If you want to see these healing uplifting events happen this November, please contribute now as generously as you are able. Every contribution helps!
Big Byron hugs to you for your support.
PHOTO CREDIT: The banner photo at the very top of the page is of U.S. labyrinth teacher, Catherine of Creative Pilgrimage, who gave permission to use her image. http://www.creativepilgrimage.com/
* 'Stories on Foot' is a fledgling tourism business being incubated by the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) which is an accredited small business training and business mentoring program.