WelCom December 2017: A group of Hāta Mere rāua ko Hāto Hōhepa Parish parishioners from St Mary’s Church at Pukekaraka, Ōtaki, along with friends and family attended the blessing of a newly constructed prayer labyrinth at Anam Cara (soul friend) Retreat Centre and home of Shona and Robin Hartendorp, in Ōtaki.
Fr Peter Healy sm blessed the labyrinth and explained its purpose. ‘This labyrinth is based on the one on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. Labyrinths are contemplative tools designed to help concentration and mindfulness. They enable a hikoi tapu – a sacred/mindful walk to a centre where hopefully we find some insight or resolve to whatever we carry in our hearts. Labyrinths enable each walker to engage, feel empowered and ultimately be enlightened.’
A labyrinth is a circular path that facilitates a walking meditation. ‘The labyrinth at Anam Cara leads visitors slowly to its centre; the journey to the centre enables letting go and focus; the centre is a place of arrival, connection and insight. The journey away from the centre is for integration and deepening the gift of the centre,’ said Fr Peter.
Labyrinths are tools for insight, discernment and reflection. They are sacred works of art with a spirit and energy particular to their setting. The peaceful garden setting at Anam Cara brings its own special spirit and beauty.’