GREENFIELD — Locals joined in a global walk for peace as part of the 13th annual World Labyrinth Day on Saturday.
“The idea is, at 1 (p.m.), all around the globe at local time, people will walk the labyrinths,” said Maggie Sweeney, a member of the Community Labyrinth Coalition. “It will be like a moving wave of peace.”
World Labyrinth Day, an event held annually on the first Saturday in May, is sponsored each year by The Labyrinth Society, a national nonprofit.
To honor the occasion, members of the Community Labyrinth Coalition welcomed regulars and newcomers to the community labyrinth on the Federal Street lawn at the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, where they were introduced to the concept of the labyrinth and invited to walk it.
“It’s a nice feeling — as we tread the earth on our labyrinth, so will people on the opposite side of the world,” Sweeney said.
The labyrinth on Federal Street, which is one of about 6,000 in the world, isn’t affiliated with the church or any particular religion, members explained. Instead, anyone is welcome to walk the seven-layer labyrinth to “connect with the Earth, and to seek guidance and serenity in these tumultuous times.”
Although there are no instructions for how to walk it, members suggest pausing at the entrance, taking a few breaths and then walking “with respect and intention.” Once at the center, walkers can return the same way they came.
“For some people (the labyrinth) is a centering, relaxing, de-stressing process,” Sweeney said. “They’re very popular in schools, hospitals and prisons — walking a pattern, being able to disengage the brain and just follow one foot after the other … so your body can get into the rhythm without the mind having to be engaged.”
The Greenfield labyrinth was installed two years ago, according to Sweeney, but the group itself has been meeting for about four years.
“We initially were doing labyrinth walks inside the church with a mobile canvas labyrinth that belongs to Elise (Schlaikjer),” she said.
As members of the community passed by on Saturday afternoon, taking a few moments to walk the path, Sweeney said the labyrinth is available to the public any day or time of the week.
All the coalition asks is that people respect the property and, for as long as the pandemic persists, to adhere to social distancing.
“People can come by any time they want,” she said.