Artist explores labyrinths of cycle of life, death, rebirth
Sedona, AZ, August 5, 2020
Artist, poet, teacher and founder of Living Labyrinths for Peace, Sandra Wasko-Flood will offer poetry readings and sign her book,
“The Labyrinth Path to Light and Peace: Art and Poetry by Sandra Wasko-Flood,” together with free 30-minute presentations of Introduction to Labyrinths this weekend.
After the lecture, attendees are invited to take a walk on the colorful, indoor Rainbow Labyrinth of Peace canvas at the Sedona Artist Market. Wasko-Flood will be present at the gallery throughout the day and will offer her presentation Saturday, Nov. 18, at 1 and 2:30 p.m. She will also be sharing her book Sunday, Nov. 19, during the Sedona Psychic Fair at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock in the Village of Oak Creek. Wasko-Flood creates photo-etchings and labyrinth light art. Her mystical vision combines the darkness and the light, and those cycles of life, death and rebirth on the spiral path that American Indians say connects earth to universe.
“You can lose yourself in a maze, but find yourself in a labyrinth,” Wasko-Flood said. “Mazes have many false paths and dead ends, but labyrinths have a single, meandering path to the center and back, which many find slows the breathing, focuses the mind and induces a peaceful state of being. Over 4,000 years old and found worldwide, today labyrinths are having a renaissance. They are found in churches and schools, hospitals and prisons, parks and recreation centers, and backyards around the globe.” Wasko-Flood was inspired by a vision she had in Chaco Canyon’s Great Kiva, where she saw dancing figures emerge from a ceremonial spiral “under Earth,” to a labyrinth “on Earth,” and a glass dome opening to the galaxies “above Earth.”
“It became my priority to construct the Labyrinth Light Media Peace Museum in New Mexico and New York City that will unite all disciplines, institutions and cultures for world peace,” she said.
Wasko-Flood said she loves to share understanding about labyrinths.
“In the past, people walked them for major life celebrations — birthdays, marriages, funerals, as we still do today. The labyrinth is a form of meditation that represents life’s journey, the cycles physical, psychological and spiritual of life, death and rebirth,” Wasko-Flood said. “You enter it with some life concern or intention for walking. You rest at center — death — dying to an old way of being, as you listen with your mind and heart to that higher force in which you believe. You walk back out reborn with a new way of seeing to give to the world. You can walk to express a feeling, make a decision, resolve a conflict or make a peace wish for yourself, family, friends, community or the world.”
A resident of Angel Fire, N.M., and part-time resident of Baltimore, Md., Wasko-Flood studied printmaking at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1966; the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 1970 to 1973; the University of Wisconsin, Madison from 1977 to 1978; and at Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1986.
One of the first to use the monotype printmaking technique, she gave classes in her Alexandria, Va., studio from 1981 to 1985. As director of the Printmaking Studio, Lee Arts Center in Arlington, Va., in 1996, she invited Keith Howard to introduce his safe etching techniques to the East Coast. She has continued to study at the Universtiy of New Mexico-Taos with Gary Cook since 2009. Collections include National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; Modern Art Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
Accomplishments include founding member of Washington Women’s Arts Center in 1981; Washington Printmakers Gallery in 1985; International Labyrinth Society in 1998; TLS Project Director, Labyrinths for Peace: 2000, a labyrinth walking on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol; and founder of Living Labyrinths for Peace, a national organization whose mission is to inspire healing and transformation through labyrinth creation and education in 2005.
She co-hosted Labyrinth Society’s annual gathering in Taos, Return from the Center: Open the Heart of Peace featuring Mayan messenger Ac-Tah, and shamanistic medicine woman Virginia LoneSky in 2011.
Through grants from the Washington D.C. Performing Arts Society and New Mexico schools from 2002 through the present, Wasko-Flood conducts Labyrinth Workshops for Creativity and Peace where students create and walk labyrinths to make decisions, resolve conflicts and make peace wishes — for themselves, family, friends, community and the world.
Her current projects are the Labyrinth Instructors Handbook relating labyrinths to every intelligence and subject, and Taos Academy’s teaching and updating art/technology, “Dance of the Labyrinth.”
Experience a walk on the Rainbow Labyrinth of Peace on Saturday, meet the artist, enjoy the free 30-minute lecture and poetry readings, learn about the health benefits of walking a labyrinth and see her art.
The Sedona Artist Market is at 2081 W. State Route 89A in West Sedona. This art destination showcases more than 100 artists offering jewelry, wearables, handmade baskets, photography, glass art, digital art and more. Call 282-2153. More information about the labyrinth event is available by calling (480) 599-4830.
The Sunday book signing takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Sedona Psychic Fair at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock and is free with fair admission. The Hilton is at 90 Ridge Trail Drive in the Village of Oak Creek.
Taos, New Mexico: A New Center for the Renaissance of the Ancient Labyrinth
Taos, NM (Vocus) October 13, 2016
This Summer Taos Invites Visitors to Return to Sacred Places; A Tool for the Contemplative Practice of Walking Your Spiritual Journey
In this region of the American Southwest where spiritual traditions have been practiced uninterrupted by the Taos Pueblo Indians for at least 1,000 years, another ancient tradition is gaining acceptance; the contemplative use of the labyrinth.
Found in cultures spanning the globe, the earliest known labyrinth design was discovered on a clay tablet in Pylos, Greece, dating from 1,200 BCE. The Greek isle of Crete is also known for its labyrinth, the maze used to entrap the mythical Minotaur. During the Middle Ages labyrinth designs were incorporated into the floor patterns of Europe’s grand cathedrals, most notably in Chartes, and in the Renaissance, “branching” garden mazes became popular in the palaces of royalty. labyrinthsociety.org/
Today, labyrinths are being constructed around the world as a tool for personal growth and spiritual transformation. Practitioners use these sacred, earth-based paths to conduct walking meditations, focusing on an issue or concern that is addressed through contemplation or prayer.
This Summer in Taos, eight labyrinths will be available to walk, without charge, in connection with the town’s “Return to Sacred Places” travel destination theme. Beginning July 1st, and continuing through October, visitors are invited to be part of the reawaking of this spiritual tradition.
“New Mexico is one of the centers for this transformative spiritual energy,” says Sandra Wasko-Flood, visionary artist and founder of The Living Labyrinth Center for Peace (http://www.livinglabyrinthsforpeace.org ). “And Taos, with its 1,000 year old Pueblo, is at the heart of this blossoming Renaissance.”
Wasko-Flood is curating many of the labyrinth-related activities including a photo exhibit of labyrinths from around the world that was first exhibited in the rotunda of the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC.
Rev. Wayne Mell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Taos, is also an advocate for this form of walking prayer and has supported the construction of a labyrinth in the church’s front yard that will be dedicated on July 18. “Walking the labyrinth can be symbolic of a journey to the sacred center,” he says. “It’s a practice that can appeal to all ages and faiths, as more and more people explore their spiritual pathways.”
Katherine Costabel, who with her husband own the Adobe and Pines B&B, have constructed a beautiful 66-foot diameter labyrinth made of 4,670 pieces of slate and rimmed by 225 native plants. Having experienced her first labyrinth in Sedona, Arizona, Ms. Costabel believes that walking the path reminds one of her earthly journey. “Take something into the circle,” she says. “Walk, think and pray and see if you can come to a conclusion.” http://www.adobepines.com
Taos Labyrinth Events
June 14 - July 31, 2010
Classic Seven-Circuit Labyrinth at El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa
Open to the public day and night
317 Kit Carson Road, Taos, NM
July 1 - October 31, 2010
66-foot Diameter Slate Rock Labyrinth at Adobe and Pines Inn. Open daily dawn to dusk. Yoga every Saturday with Paul Kelly at 10 am. 4107 N.M. 68, Ranchos de Taos, NM
July 1 - October 31, 2010
Stone Labyrinth at San Geronimo's Lodge, 1101 Witt Lane, Taos, NM
Full moonwalks during summer months (June - Sept)
July 1 - October 31, 2010
Labyrinth Sacred Space at the First Presbyterian Church
Dedication of Medieval-style labyrinth by Rev. Wayne Mell on Sunday, July 18 at 11 am.
215 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, next to Kit Carson Park, Taos, NM
July 4, 2010, 3 pm
Drumming Labyrinth Walk in the Cretan Labyrinth at Touchstone Inn facing Taos Mountain
110 Mabel Dodge Lane, Taos, NM
July 4 - August 31, 2010
Santa Rosa contemporary labyrinth at the Blumenschein Museum
222 Ledous Street, Taos, NM
July 19 - August 1st
Labyrinth Sacred Space at Kit Carson Park. Hopi Labyrinth design
July 29, 2010, 10 am - 1 pm
"Labyrinths for Creativity and Peace Childrens' Workshop."
July 29, 2010, 7- 9 pm
Introduction to Labyrinths: Lecture and walking
238 Ledoux Street, Taos, NM
July 30, 2010
"Birth of the Labyrinth"
Light box and labyrinth-inspired fine art and etchings of Sandra Wasko-Flood
Harwood Museum of Art
238 Ledoux Street, Taos, NM.
August 23 - October 1, 2010
"Labyrinths for Peace: 2000" Photo Exhibit. Exhibit of photos of labyrinths from around the world first exhibited at the Rotunda of the U. S. House of Representatives.
Free opening reception; August 28th, 5:30 to 8 pm
Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM.
Spiritually focused labyrinth coming to U.S. Capitol lawn
Washington, DC, March 3, 2000
Author: Julia Duin THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Date: March 3, 2000
Publication: The Washington Times Page: A2
Round and round and round they go. And where they stop - will be on the East lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Starting March 13, a group of artists will merge politics with peace by constructing several labyrinths on the grassy confines of the Capitol lawn. For the next two weeks, bystanders, residents, politicians and lobbyists alike can purportedly experience inner peace by walking one labyrinth made out of surveyor flags and tape or another on a flat canvas containing a map of the world.
No one knows if the likes of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott or House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt will be strolling the labyrinth but the hope is that the circular paths will inspire onlookers to think tranquil thoughts. The displays, which have been two years in the planning, are being set up through the offices of Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat. Any constituent can arrange through his or her member of Congress to show art in the Capitol, House or Senate buildings. Labyrinths, however, fell into that gray area between art show and something else.
"We wanted one on the Rotunda floor, but activities that would block the public space aren't allowed there," says Sandra Wasko-Flood of Alexandria, the special project director. It was moved outdoors and reclassified as a "demonstration for inner peace" on the East Lawn.
Thus, an outdoor labyrinth, weather permitting, will be set up, then taken down on the East Lawn each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 13-25, a time when many Christians will be observing Lent and in which the vernal equinox falls. Organizers are searching for musicians, particularly flutists or others with reed instruments that carry sound well outdoors, to accompany the walkers.
"We just want to show people this tool for meditation and centering," Ms. Wasko-Flood says. "If people become peaceful within themselves, the world will be a better place. "It's not political for a particular cause but in a broader, more philosophical sense so that individuals find their own center. People have even used labyrinths for decision making. You'll understand what it does when you walk it."
A program to kick off the exhibit is slated for with speeches by officials in the Labyrinth Society, which is based in New Canaan, Conn., at 7 p.m. March 16 in the Rayburn House Office Building foyer. A photo exhibit of labyrinths around the country will open the same day in the Cannon House Office Building rotunda. One of the speakers at the Rayburn reception will be Pamela Ramadei, who is organizing a "peace labyrinth" for students, faculty and families connected with Columbine High School. The site, to be built at Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church of Littleton, Colo., will be three miles from the high school.
Labyrinths may have originated between 2000 and 1400 B.C. on the island of Crete, where there is a labyrinth at Knossos. According to Greek mythology, the Minotaur was imprisoned there and the mythical hero Theseus journeyed through a labyrinth to slay the monster, which had the body of a man and the head of a bull. The name comes from the double-headed ax "labrys" that Theseus wielded.
Labyrinths have cropped up since then in various civilizations, including the Hopi Indians in Arizona and among such Nordic countries as Estonia and Sweden. The most famous was laid out in 1220 on the floor of Chartres Cathedral south of Paris as a spiritualized pilgrimage for people unable to travel to popular sites such as Rome or Jerusalem. Whereas ancient labyrinths had seven circuits, or turns, the Chartres display has 11 circuits. Credited with giving participants everything from serenity and enlightenment to oneness with God, it became a late-20th-century "whole body prayer" trend among New Agers and mainline Protestants.
Labyrinths differ from mazes in that the former has one direct path leading to the middle. All the walker need do is place one foot in front of the other while remaining in a meditative state. Mazes, which are fraught with wrong turns and false paths, obligate the walker to make choices, to pit one's energies against the creator. They are also known as "walking meditations" or, at the least, a counterpoint to the over-technologized 21st century. Their mystical qualities and concentric circles provide the perfect backdrop for any self-defined spiritual experience or awakening. The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany at 13th and G Streets NW sets up a 22-foot canvas labyrinth each Wednesday in its sanctuary in the place normally occupied by the altar. A staff member estimates about three dozen people slip in on Wednesdays to quietly walk its paths.
"We've noticed a steady increase in the people who use it," he says.
In the past five years, labyrinths have become the rage in a variety of public spaces, hospitals and churches. The photo exhibit in Cannon will showcase all kinds of designs nationwide, such as the 40-foot-diameter labyrinth in Corpus Christi, Texas, made of maple with inlaid black walnut wood. Another, designed by artist Marty Kermeen in Naperville, Ill, is all orange, red and brown-hued cobblestone. It was built in 1998 along the city's downtown Riverwalk to welcome the new millennium.
Others include a raised earth mound labyrinth in Albiquiu, N.M., a highly polished granite labyrinth in New Harmony, Ind., a phosphorescent paint labyrinth lit by black lights and with musical accompaniment in New York, and a three-circuit labyrinth in Connecticut that's used for weddings.
"The vestibular is the first nerve to develop in the fetus," says Marilyn Larson of Northfield, Minn., who is also organizing the upcoming show on the east lawn. "It has to do with orientation, a sense of balance and knowing where you are. That nerve is stimulated by the turns you make in the labyrinth." Undoubtedly, something elemental is released upon walking through the labyrinth's many circuits, as testified by exhibit photos that show people praying, bowing and kneeling during their walks. Most advocates say they experience feelings of peace and completeness after the walk. One theory is that each of its four quadrants connects the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of the personality.
Ms. Wasko-Flood, who will be exhibiting some of her own labyrinths on March 19 at the 57 N. Fine Art Gallery downtown, has constructed one made of glass. The moment a viewer walks on it, the paths light up with the help of a computer. "Christians have the idea of labyrinths relating to God, others think of it as entrapping spirits," she says. "In most cultures, it's a ritual of life, death and rebirth."
Colorado Sangre de Cristo
Colorado Summer, 2014
Sangre de Christo Chronicle:
“From Inner Peace to World Peace: Labyrinths Lead the Way”
Sandra has moved the Living Labyrinths for Peace Center from Washington DC to Taos, NM where she exhibits her light-up art/technology “Dance of the Labyrinth:” computer programmed images that light-up to your steps. She also exhibits her art series starting with “Spirals,” that lead to her labyrinth work. In 2000, she directed the first project of the International Society: a labyrinth demonstration for inner peace on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Our Organization, Living Labyrinths for Peace, unites Art, Science, Technology and Nature with Spirit by providing labyrinth creations that lead from Inner Peace to World Peace.
Journal of Santa Fe
Santa Fe, NM, 2010
"Meandering Path to Peace"
This article is about World Labyrinth Day, a project of the International Labyrinth Society where everyone in the world walks labyrinths at 1 pm in their time on the first Saturday in May, for Peace. Featured are Louis Costabel’s labyrinths built in Santa Fe and Taos, as well as Bren Price’s labyrinths at the Touchstone Inn in Taos and the Greater World Earthship Community west of Taos.
Baltimore, February 1, 2009
The symbolism of walking a path and then re-tracing one's steps can be powerful when reflecting on how the past informs the present and future.
Subbasement studios, one the most progressive art galleries in Baltimore, just finished hosting a unique installation called Living Labyrinths for Peace.
Adorning the studio walls are fabric and photo pieces and images of peacocks with superimposed images of nude figures, the symbol of peacock referring to transformation amongst Native American and other indigenous cultures. But the real star of the show is not on the walls, but rather the floor; a huge computer-controlled electronic labyrinth has been constructed there by artist Sandra Wasko-Flood.
Wasko-Flood, who has been a visual artist for the past 35 years, began this work in 1986. Her journey into the labyrinths began during her time spent at an Anasazi (ancient Native American tribe) cultural center in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The Anasazis were an advanced Indian culture that flourished before the European colonial invasion in the southwest region of the country (900 through 1130 A.D.).
1.) Labyrinths: Ancient Paths of Wisdom and Peace by Virginia Westbury; Sidney, Australia.
2.) Caerdroia 1993- The Journal of Mazes and Labyrinths. Features my article: “Unloose the Snake: One Artist’s Labyrinths.”
3.) Caerdoria: November 2017-Labyrinth Pathways. Features my Article: “The Light Fantastic.” This is about my art/technology, “Dance of the Labyrinth.”
4.) Cultivating Curious and Creative Minds: The Role of Teachers and Teacher Educators: Part II, Teacher Education and Yearbook XIX. My article: Labyrinths for Creativity and Peace in the Schools: Cultivating Curious and Creative Minds.
El Dorado: A Newsletter Bulletin on South American Anthropology: Features article by Sandra Wasko-Flood: “Nasca Tongue Iconography.
This analysis of Nasca tongue iconography is an attempt to establish the tongue as a multiple fertility symbol. The tongue is analyzed according to space and time associations. Space associations include where the tongue appears (on what figures) and with what other representations it is juxtaposed. Time associations include the analysis of the previous Chavin and Paracus cultures for possible influences and origin, and the analysis of the tongue development through several Nasca periods.
Artist explores labyrinths of cycle of life, death, rebirth - 2020 - REDROCKNEWS.COM
World Labyrinth Day celebrated in Taos - 2011 - TAOSNEWS.COM
Labyrinth walk, book signing, poetry reading and free lecture - 2017 - KUDOS VERDENEWS.COM
Art aims to help lawmakers find their way - 2005 - TAMPABAY.COM
Spiritually focused labyrinth coming to U.S. Capitol lawn - 2000 - WASHINGTONTIMES.COM