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New Legacy Labyrinth opens in the Adirondacks

The winding path of the newest Legacy Labyrinth in Johnsburg, New York.
Aaron Shellow-Lavine
The winding path of the newest Legacy Labyrinth in Johnsburg, New York.

A new “mindfulness tourist attraction” has opened in Johnsburg, New York.

After two and a half years of planning and constructing, a new spiritual destination is ready for visitors – a labyrinth.

If you’re picturing one of the region’s popular corn mazes or the final act of “The Shining,” think again.

Concentric rings of dirt lined with gravel and rock create the monument’s track. A fire pit filled with sage burns nearby, and a pond and the surrounding acres of woods add to the meditative ambience.

Legacy Labyrinths has built and maintained walk-able labyrinths in the U.S., Canada, France, and Argentina.

Its newest maze was dedicated on a rainy July morning, but that wasn’t enough to keep away so-called “labyrinth pilgrims.”

“This is kind of a day in Ireland that we would call a ‘soft day.’ Or if you meet someone in the street you’d nod at them and say ‘it’s soft today, thank god.’” 

Tony Christie is an Irish writer, spiritual teacher, and labyrinth consultant on hand for a ribbon cutting in Johnsburg.

It’s a fair bit of excitement for a location aimed at giving visitors access to some peace and quiet.

Christie played a vital role in the design of Legacy Labyrinth’s seventh mindfulness maze, although he had not been able to oversee the construction due to the COVID pandemic.

“So, what we have here is called the replica of the Chartres labyrinth," Christie said. "Chartres is a town in France, there's a gothic cathedral there. And there was, in the cathedral—under the floor of the cathedral—there's a labyrinth built in 1201, 40 foot diameter, one of the biggest symbols in the cathedral. And it's a winding path, one path from the outside to the center. So when people are looking at it, it will be like a lot of circles, large ones and small ones together, but the path passes through every one of them. And it's often considered as a symbol of your journey in life there turns and twists in it.”  

But there’s more to the labyrinth than meets the eye. While it may seem like rock and dirt to some, Christie emphasized what he called the sacred geometry in the labyrinth’s design.

“Sacred geometry is the bringing in of proportions from nature, you know, like people would be familiar with the pine corner, the pattern of seeds in a sunflower in the center of a sunflower, but even the way branches grow from the trunk of a tree, or leaves form," said Christie. "So there's a whole study of bringing these divine proportions into man made structures.” 

It all comes down to math. Much of the sacred geometry of this labyrinth revolves around the numbers 3 and 4.

In this labyrinth, the center circle is 1/4 the diameter of the whole labyrinth. A flower statue in the middle of the labyrinth has petals that are 1/3 the diameter of the center circle. There are 28 turns — 3+4 is 7, times 4 is 28. And on the perimeter of the labyrinth ring itself there are 112 half moons — 28 times 4.

Christine Powers is the founder and CEO of Asa Adirondack.

“We have brought in 250,000 pounds of stone." Powers continued, "So imagine I would be in my office and I'd hear rumbling like the world everything shaking and it would be truck after truck after truck dropping stones. 120 yards of topsoil, a mile of hand molded landscape edging. We have had concrete poured in the middle. I mean, it's just an astonishing amount. 3,200 hours of volunteers from 14 states and three countries, we've had over 50 volunteers.”  

Legacy Labyrinth Project Executive Director Christine Katzenmayer says it took collective effort to get the labyrinth built.

“With a labyrinth you're putting your heart and soul in it," Katzenmayer said. "I mean, when you're putting your hands in the dirt, and you're moving rocks, every fiber of you. And if you are, like Christine said, very aligned and in tune with the energy of that, then your labyrinth just gets stronger. It really does and more alive.” 

Labyrinth pilgrim and Latham resident Connie Barber drove nearly an hour and a half to attend the opening and walk the maze.

“It's always a wonderful experience, you start the journey going in, just the outside world is with you." Berber continued, "but as you get closer into the center, and then when you stay in the center, you let go. And then on the way out, you just take with you the peace and serenity that you gain or whatever insight you might gain. And you come out and it's you're just so much more relaxed and calm.” 

Republican New York State Senator Dan Stec’s 45th District includes a large portion of the Adirondack Park.

An avid outdoorsman, Stec had a different takeaway from some of the other walkers.

“Not everybody wants to hike in the Adirondacks," said Stec. "Not everyone wants to ski in the Adirondacks. But we'll travel with people that do and yet they're looking for something else to do while they're here and this is something else that people can do. And again, appropriate for ages 2 to 102.”