Carol Ayoob’s Experience of the Arts class has created a “Labyrinth” of their own, after watching a film on “The Burning Man Festival,” which is a collaborative arts festival held annually in the Nevada desert. The class’ labyrinth is located behind the UMPI tennis courts, just down over the slope, and has been spray painted on the grass. In addition, students have collected stones, written articles, and created flyers to announce the Labyrinth’s opening.
Burning Man has been designed as a labyrinth, on a large scale. A labyrinth is normally between 30 and 100 feet wide, and there are a number of designs used. It is “a path of prayer, walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit, and a mirror of the soul,” according to the Veriditas Organization, in San Francisco.
Unlike a maze, the labyrinth has only one path. Walking its winding course to the center quiets the mind. This process involves three stages: purgation – a letting go of distractions as you walk in; illumination – receiving what you came for upon reaching the center; and union – a joining with the sacred as you complete the experience and walk out.
The option to explore this path of inner reflection is now available to students, staff, and the community at large. The Experience of the Arts students have visited the site several times now and they are truly excited about this offering to others who might benefit from its structure.