The Common Ground holds free Labyrinth walking tours under the full moon, a phase of the lunar cycle when many ancient cultures performed rituals due to a belief that it was a time of high energy.
The Labyrinth is an ancient archetypal pathway with healing and spiritual associations. The Cretan pattern dates back to the third millennium B.C.E. and has been utilized within several cultures and spiritual traditions throughout the world. It is a symbolic expression of wholeness, uniting the evocative imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering, yet purposeful path. A labyrinth has only one direction. It is unicursal, meaning the way in is the way out.
A labyrinth is not a maze. Where a maze is like a puzzle to be solved, a labyrinth is a metaphor for the pilgrimage to the center of one's deepest self and back out into the world again to share the expanded self-perception garnered from the internal journey.
When treading this winding pathway with no wrong turns, it can have a calming and quieting effect on the mind, body and spirit often inducing a receptive state suitable for meditation and reflection in the center of the labyrinth.
The labyrinth at The Common Ground in Sayville is called the Peace Labyrinth. Built in 2003, it was designed, laid out and financed by Marianne Fulfaro and dedicated to her parents, Carlo and Carmela Annunziato.
The design in its center appears to envelope its visitors in a loving embrace with open arms.
The full moon walk on Monday was attended by approximately 20 people, several of whom were practitioners of Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that is believed to promote healing. It is based on the concept that there is an invisible life force energy that flows through us all.
Fulfaro is vice president of The Common Ground, a Reiki master and serves as the lady of the labyrinth guiding everyone on their passage. "Because a labyrinth is one way in and one way out it allows the right and left hemispheres of the brain to interact," she said. " It allows you to tap into your gut."
Fulfaro instructed that the labyrinth can be traversed with the intention of gaining insight into a specific problem, or simply as a walk of gratitude or solitude.
Barbara Fitzpatrick is also a vice president of The Common Ground and a Reiki master. She said that to receive the benefits of such a journey, "you don't have to physically walk a labyrinth; you can trace it with your fingers if housebound."
Fitzpatrick is a breast cancer survivor and first took up Reiki as a way to actively participate in her own healing.
Fitzpatrick's son is married to Fulfaro's daughter and they both happened to be Reiki masters. Together, they performed Reiki at the birth of their granddaughter.
Fulfaro requested that everyone pull three weeds from the labyrinth on their way out. One walker named Diana meditated on whether or not she should retire. While pulling weeds, she had an epiphany, "Whatever is not beautiful in your path get rid of it ... I think I'm going to keep going on my journey." she said.
Fitzpatrick said, "The labyrinth and Reiki are both centering and a peaceful, calming way of being grounded and connecting with nature and the universe ... Nobody owns Reiki; it's not a religion. If you ever kissed a boo-boo that's Reiki— it's sending love."
The labyrinth can be visited anytime. The next guided tour will be held on Tuesday, August 24. To find more information go to thecommonground.com.