“The labyrinth is an apt symbol for peace at the turn of the millennium. It represents a union of states because it is found in most states and countries of the world. And it represents a union of states of being because it can bring inner peace. This union within people leads to a union among people, their families, friends, communities, and the world.”
The spirit behind Living Labyrinths for Peace, Inc. is artist Sandra Wasko-Flood. In 1991, she sat in the center of the Great Kiva Indian ceremonial center of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico having a visionary experience which led her to this book by Sig Lonegren: Labyrinths: Ancient Myths and Modern Uses. On the floor of the kiva, she imagined lighted faces of mummies, icons, people, and animals emerging from the earth in the shape of a labyrinth. She went on to create an interactive installation, “Dance of the Labyrinth,” symbolizing a peaceful dance of opposites for our times. Here visitors experience computer programmed light sequences: walk on light box images, see rotating wheels and pillars, and phosphorescent mulch glowing like moonlight.
Following a path into the collective unconscious of our times, Wasko-Flood became a part of the present Labyrinth Renaissance. She discovered the labyrinth to be an amazing symbol for life’s journey. These ancient designs of wisdom and peace were over four thousand years old and found in most cultures of the world. Unlike mazes with many confusing paths, labyrinths had only one path to the center and back. Many people found that the single meandering path slowed the breathing, focused the mind and induced a peaceful state. She knew that labyrinths could lead to inner peace. As the design emerged in churches, schools, museums, hospitals, parks and seats of government, she envisioned that labyrinths could also bridge the boundaries of institutions.
In 1994, Wasko-Flood exhibited “Dance of the Labyrinth” at Gallery 10 in Washington, D.C., where she realized that the labyrinth could unite people of all cultures. An environment where art, science, technology and nature enhanced each other could also help sustain the earth. She permanently installed the “Dance” in her studio at 57 N St. NW, Washington D.C. where from 1994-2012 it had been open to the public by appointment for individual and group walks, workshops and events.
In 1998, she joined a gathering of labyrinth aficionados in St. Louis to form of the International Labyrinth Society. Through the Washington Performing Arts Society and the D.C. Commission on the Arts, she receives grants to install labyrinths in local schools. As students together paint a canvas or playground labyrinth, place labyrinths designs from around the world on a timeline, and make peace wishes—she realized that labyrinths can unite disciplines.
As the first project of the International Labyrinth Society, she directed “Labyrinths for Peace: 2000,” a photo exhibit in the Cannon Rotunda of the U.S. House of Representatives and a labyrinth walking “demonstration for inner peace” on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Her vision of inner peace to world peace became clear.
In the spring of 2005, she proudly birthed Living Labyrinths for Peace, Inc., which creates interactive labyrinths using art, science, technology and nature for learning programs that lead the way from inner peace to world peace. In 2011 Wasko-Flood directed the Labyrinth Society’s annual gathering in Taos, and had published an article in Houston’s Teacher Education Yearbook relating the labyrinth to Howard Gardner’s Eight Intelligences and positing a ninth one, spirituality, because one of the students said: “The labyrinth told me what to do. It told me what to be.”
In 2012, she moved the LL4P Center to Taos, NM. On World Labyrinth Day, May 4, 2013, LL4P invited Ac Tah to the Washington DC Vietnam Memorial to build his Mirror of Orion Labyrinth for liberation and peace, based on the sacred geometry of the ancient pyramids. On Memorial Day weekend that year, LL4P collaborated with Virginia LoneSky of Peaceful Endeavours, Inc. to do a labyrinth program at the Angel Fire, NM Vietnam Memorial and also at the Taos LL4P Center. That year at the LL4P Center in Taos, Grandmother Standing Bear gave a presentation on the Medicine Wheel, and the Center had an Autumn Gratitude Celebration the weekend before Thanksgiving.
[Sandra Wasko-Flood’s “State of the Union” speech, given at the House Rayburn Building: Labyrinths for Peace: 2000” labyrinth walking demonstration for inner peace, east lawn, U.S. Capitol.]
Let Us Live Labyrinths for Peace!