Sunday, 27 May 2007

The West Coast of Sweden

The good news today is that my computer is speaking English to me again, but it is still sloooow as molasses. And I can only seem to send one picture per posting, though I am trying to circumvent that little inconvenience. We drove out across the southern part of Sweden, dodging lakes and enjoying the green, green landscape. We are now at Taunumshedde right on the coast, and it is raining lightly.

Our only labyrinth stop along the way was at a little chapel in Grinstad, but unfortunately the church was locked up tight and the keyholders were nowhere to be found, so we had to climb onto a bench and peer in through the windows to see the labyrinth fresco painted on the wall. Neat, but the little glimpse only left us hungering for more. Our walk through the churchyard was interesting... everything so neat and tidy! Little gardening organizers (Ikea-style cemetery flat-packs??) were dotted around to give caring loved ones access to basic garden tools and flower needs -- if I am buried when I die, I'd like it to be in a place like this where the graves are so well-tended. I loved reading the Scandinavian names and making up stories in my mind about the people buried here.

From there, we headed into the higher ground near the coast where the trees, hills, and rocky outcroppings remind us of Scotland. Tomorrow we'll go looking for rock carvings, rune stones, burial cairns, and labyirnths. AND rumor has it that some of our group have spotted a wool shop, so you can guess where I'll be heading. (Personally I think they are just hoping I'll knit enough socks to go around!)

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Les Pyramides

Well, if you never hear from me again, it will be because I have given up on technology and thrown this laptop off a bridge or out of a window.... So, I apologize for the lousy pictures and promise that tomorrow I will apply the lessons I'm learning and take some good shots with my phone as my (Sony) computer has now decided it no longer wants to communicate with my (compatible) (Sony) camera. Aaaagh. So, please just believe that I took some stunning pictures using my polarizing filter, but that I'm the only one that can see those stunning photos. Aaaaagh. Add to that the fact that my computer has now decided to display only in Swedish and that the downloads are so slow that I have plenty of time to pull out my rapidly-graying hair between screen refreshes! Oh well....

Above is a strange picture of Lisa and me clowning in front of the Louvre several days ago. It's about all I have to offer today... The French either love the Pyramid (which is the entrance to the Louvre) or hate it. I think it is rather spectacular.

But enough of France.... though my camera refuses to prove it, we had a fabulous, very sunny, day today, visiting prehistoric sites here in southern Sweden just west of Stockholm. Our friend John Kraft accompanied us to help us understand the labyrinth in the context of these sacred landscapes and to point us up the right dirt tracks. Tomorrow we head further west, toward the coast to see more labyrinths, petroglyphs, painted churches and the like. The group is lovely... labyrinth people are always so nice to travel with!

I will try to post a real picture tomorrow, but ask for your support in sending me good camera/computer wishes. And if that doesn't work, I'll just send you all a postcard and forget about computing forever....

Friday, 25 May 2007


I'm in love with Paris! We spent a lovely 2 days exploring, shopping, and eating. Jeff's presentation at the Louvre was fantastic; we were well cared for and came away with new friends and full hearts!
The above picture is of the the big panel from the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny. The room was dark and the picture poor, but you get the idea.... Seeing those tapestries has been a quest for me, so visiting the Cluny was the main reason for going to Paris a day early. But as long as we were there, we visited Saint Chappelle (best known to us in the Labyrinth World as the inspiration for the lovely chapel at Itchenstoke, England). After so many visits to Itchenstoke over the years, it was nice to see the real thing. Only problem was too many tourists, but with Paris, I guess it is ever thus!
After lunch along the Seine, Lisa (Lisa Moriarty, our friend from Minnesota) and I went on to visit the Tuileries (where we sipped wine and watched the boys sailing their boats in the fountain), the Orangerie (with Monet's famous waterlilies), and shopped a bit along the Rue Rivoli.
Dinner was at a fabulous little restaurant we happened on to -- so good we went back the next night as well.

For a quick look at our Paris visit, click the link below to our online album -- it is best viewed by the slideshow option:
Springtime in Paris

Saturday, 19 May 2007

The Welsh Borders


We travelled to the other side of England last weekend to spend a couple of days in Glastonbury with our friends (and business partners!), Karin and Sig Lonegren. Ostensibly, we were getting together to work on plans for our 2008 Symposium and Tour, but, as always, our time together felt like a time of fun and renewal. Leaving Glastonbury on Monday, we drove north into the Malvern hills where we met with a lovely and enthusiastic group of people who want a labyrinth installed in their local park. They've done the groundwork and simply wanted us to give a bit of added input. Malvern is an area known for its connections with water, and several fountains feed directly from the hills above. The proposed labyrinth will celebrate Saint Werstan, a local saint who was killed by the Celts in 1095. The picture above is a modern fountain by local artist, Rose Garrard. It is intended to weave together three themes of local significance: Celtic standing stones with spiral markings, Medieval religious history, and Victorial Pre-Raphaelite imagery. The name, Malvhina, comes from a Celtic princess and may be associated with the naming of Mavern itself.

Leaving Malvern, we travelled on to Hereford to see the famous medieval map, the Mappa Mundi, which uses a perfect medieval labyrinth drawing to depict Crete. I've been wanting to see it ever since I first heard about it, so this felt like a bit of a pilgrimage and was certainly a long-awaited treat. From there we drove a few miles further down the road to see the Kilpeck Church with its medieval carvings, including a famous sheela-na-gig -- another quest!

Our drive home through the Cotswolds was, of course, lovely. The recent rains have turned the countryside a lush green, and by the afternoon, the sky was a deep and cloudless blue. We stopped for dinner in Stow-in-the-Wold, remembering our last visit there with Jean and Ed Lutz several years ago. My only regret for the day was that (once again) I got close enough to Wales to see it in the distance, but still haven't actually stepped across its borders!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

On the Road...

My new camera phone lets me publish directly to my blog, so I'm planning to use this site as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends while we're away from home. Our visits to interesting places are definitely highlights in our lives, but until now, those highlights couldn't be shared until long after we returned home -- and by then, it always seems like time has moved on, so few of you ever hear our tales.

We have a full travel schedule this year -- mostly revolving around our tours, lectures, research trips, and labyrinth installations. But woven into our work are our heart-connections to friends, our love for sacred sites and our enjoyment of the natural world. If I'm relying on my phone, my posts will be limited to a few words along with a favourite picture or two, but when we have internet connection, I can write longer messages.