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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 12 - 18, 2002


A new labyrinth is made available for whole community

Express Staff Writer

Labyrinth walking in silence—contemplating life, the universe, your navel—is a non-athletic and non-artistic concept that is now available to anyone who’s interested.

In other words, any one can do this and for just about any reason.

Judy Smooke walks the Community Labyrinth located next to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum. Express photo by Dana DuGan

The Community Labyrinth, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum, located just next to the bell tower, doesn’t cost anything. And anyone can participate; one doesn’t have to be of any spiritual affiliation, one can be a tourist or a local, old or young, male or female, goofy or serious.

But to do it, one must walk the walk.

Often referred to as sacred paths, labyrinths, which have their origin in many ancient traditions, have many design styles. Some are a meditative journey along a specific circular path. Others are like mazes, where decisions about which direction to take must be made.

The design of The Community Labyrinth is based upon a medieval design dated 3,000 B.C., when it was associated with the worship of the moon goddess. The name, labyrinth, comes from the double ax, the labris, which is evident in its design.

This same design can be found in the Cathedral at Chartres, France, created in 1201. The Grace Cathedral in San Francisco also has the same style.

"We had our heart set on doing the original Chartres version," said Judy Smooke, a Community Labyrinth committee member.

The Rev. Brian Baker asked Jeanne Cassell and Smooke to gather a group of people who would oversee the building, promotion and use of the labyrinth at St. Thomas.

"We were really concerned that it should be representative of various aspects of the community. The people we approached were familiar with what we were thinking of doing. It took on a life of its own."

The other committee members are Gay Odmark, Jeri Waxenberg, Penny and Carl Buttke, Susan Blair of the Wood River Jewish Community, Carolyn Nystrom of Wood River Hospice, Kathy Spiller, Suzy Jarrett of the Buddhist community, Jeanne Pudoff-Oyen and Page Mercer.

"Our intention is for the community to have ownership of it," Smooke said.

Pudoff-Oyen went to Grace Cathedral to be trained as a labyrinth facilitator. She is now in charge of education and is available to teach workshops here for any one who is interested, said Smooke.

The labyrinth sits on a landscaped rise next to Sun Valley Road. There is plentiful parking and it’s never closed.

During the next three Wednesdays committee members are available to facilitate use of the labyrinth.

And there are many ways to do this. Before one begins, traditionally one should concentrate on personal issues or questions, and upon reaching the center one may do just about anything—sit or kneel, dance or pray. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Mostly, it’s a place to focus.

"I do it for the peace," Smooke said. "Each person who walks it gets something different."

The group also owns a large portable canvas labyrinth that is available for rent, along with a facilitator.

Available in a box to the right of St. Thomas’ front door are brochures with information about the labyrinth and envelopes for contributions to the building fund.

Eventually, after sufficient funds are raised, the walk will be finished with a raised surface that corresponds to the colors of St. Thomas’ exterior, along with new landscaping and benches.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.