Thursday, 14 April 2011

University Hospital Labyrinth

There's a trend these days to construct small labyrinths in hospitals, rehab centres and other places of healing so patients and their families can benefit from the meditative time and space which labyrinths provide. I had heard of such a labyrinth at the University Hospital here in Edmonton, so last month when I was there for some minor testing, I decided to check it out.

I knew the labyrinth was on the 4th floor. Once I got off the elevator, there were ample signs leading to it --


The labyrinth is inlaid directly in the carpet and is a reduced 7-circuit Chartres design. It is located in an alcove which also doubles as a lunch area and green space. Luckily on the day I was there, the labyrinth was not covered in tables and chairs (they were pulled off to the sides). But the labyrinth carpet sure could have used a good vacuuming. It was pretty grotty.


University Hospital is one of those big "open concept" places and so the noise level is always quite high, which is not conducive to meditative thought. As well, in order to use this labyrinth, you must not be self-conscious about walking it in front of spectators eating lunch.


As you can see, the labryses are simple rectangular blocks and do not round off the circuit paths. I found that a bit esthetically jarring.


But here is the lovely sacred centre of the labyrinth -- the rose of the Virgin/Goddess.


I'm glad I visited this labyrinth but it is not one that I'll be hurrying back to any time soon. Perhaps the atmosphere is quieter and more private in the evening when patients come to walk it. For their sake, I hope so.

20 comments:

Suzie said...

For some reason, when I was reading the first paragraph, I was thinking that they had installed one outside on the grounds.

Then when I saw that it was indoors, before I saw the photos, I'm thinking, well, that is innovative! No matter what the season, or the weather, people can still enjoy it. .then I saw your photos, and read your description. .

First, let's hope that all of the table and chairs have been moved back so that it can be cleaned!

I agree about the chosen pattern of the carpet. .it jars against the sense of the flowing lines of the labyrinth. .energy blocking, as a matter of fact!

And how strange to have combined it within an area that is notorious for loud noises and chatter! It seems rather counter-productive, doesn't it?

It IS good that you visited it, because you have recognized some things that you may not have thought about before, as to what constitutes a good labyrinth.

Too bad that they didn't have a suggestion box somewhere, so that you could give them some valuable input! The patients would thank you!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

This makes me think of the *good idea translated in the wrong hands* type thing.
Someone who doesn't understand that a labyrinth is for meditation....not listening to the lunch crowd.
People who build and design usually are clueless other than Read the specs and do it.....
Too bad a spiritual person, or artist was not consulted for the kind of area to place it....

XXOO~~
Anne

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Mmmmm, nice idea. Not quite as well executed.

Gentle hugs,
.♥.

Jeanne said...

Excellent idea but poor execution! I like the carpet concept but the labyrinth needs to be in a quieter, more private area.

Tricky Nag said...

I wonder whether anyone actually uses it. It almost looks likes a kids plaything - only the lack of bold primary colours means they must have meant it to be the real deal. Too bad.

Wendy said...

Wow, that's amazing that hospitals, etc...are finally getting the idea about how important holistic healing is as opposed to just Western Med.s. I LOVE that this hospital has a labyrinth and hope more "healing" centers follow suit.

mxtodis123 said...

It just doesn't look very spiritual to me. Great idea, but it's a shame that they didn't put more into it.
Mary

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Like others have commented, it sounds like it was a great idea by someone, but poorly translated in the real world. Such a shame and a wasted opportunity, as well as wasted money.

aradia's cauldron said...

I had a similar experience with a labrynth... it was outside a church and an amazing experience, except for the fact that it was right out in the open and I felt like I was in a fishbowl, being watched. It's just not the type of thing you want to be self conscious about others watching you during.. it kind of ruins the effect!

LauraX said...

how amazing is that!!! (of course some hospitals seem like labyrinths on the inside too!)

Crystalrainbow said...

lovely idea but one wonders if anyone ever walks it hmmm its such a healing journey to walk the labryinth but seems such a strange place to put it but love the rose centre :) have a great weekend x x x

laughingwolf said...

cool...

my three kids were born there....

mermaid gallery said...

hospitals do need that for the patients..but the whole atmosphere there is so ....yikes, scary, that it would be super hard to use it. Not like the one Shirley Maclaine showed us on Oprah the other day... she built it on a mountain by herself with the rocks there...very cool....love her!

Jim said...

I think my sister works at that hospital. Will ask her if she has 'walked' the walk.

Andrew Green said...

I totally know what you'[re talking about....
When my dad was in the hospital, it was impossible to find anything. The place was like a massive, totally symmetrical city within a building.

Arti said...

That is something very new that I have heard of... Very innovative indeed, but could have definitely been done in a better way... Just stumbled on your blog, nice space you have here... Hello from India, have a lovely day:)

Lois said...

Perhaps it's nice in the evening... but it would make me jumpy to walk the labyrinth with so much noise and people watching. I think I will go in search of a labyrinth soon!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

what a terrific idea.

ensouling said...

Ah, one of the things I would love to own a house for ... having a labyrinth. (Day dreaming.)

Kay said...

This labyrinth is right by the neuro-ICU, where my little brother was hanging onto his life. When he was in his coma I stayed at the hospital day and night for three weeks. If I wasnt by my brothers side, I paced this labyrinth. It gave me something to do. Walking that labyrinth pulled me through the darkest times of my life. I found this blog post of it while googling for pictures so that I can replicate it and have it tattooed on my arm. (I couldn't go there myself because I live on Vancouver Island). The feelings I have for this labyrinth cannot be expressed in words.
Thank you for posting these pictures, they have been very helpful to me.