by Lea Goode-Harris, Ph.D.

On a March morning in 1997, I was immersed in labyrinth research. Along with my friend and mentor, Richard Feather Anderson, we were each searching for a labyrinth to replace the existing courtyard labyrinth at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa, California. I suddenly realized that these labyrinths of the past two thousand years were first laid out on paper by using a compass. I was curious and aware of an urge to see if I could make a labyrinth in this way. Bringing out my compass and black papered notepad, I began to play with eight concentric circles.

I was amazed to find its shape emerging from the paper. I experienced getting out of the way, allowing the design to come through my hands, pencil and paper. Quickly, all was complete; except for a small portion of rings in the lower left/central area. Instead of forcing the design, I let it be for the rest of the day. Later, as I sat in my living room in front of the evening fire with family and friends, I again felt the urge to finish the labyrinth. Picking up the paper and pencils, I went back to that particular area where I had originally been stuck. Everyone and everything in the room faded far into the background. With a few erasures and repositioning of turns, the labyrinth was complete.

The making of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth continues to blossom into many other experiences. Its name came to me the day Marilyn Larson and I first met in May of 1997. A mutual friend said we two women should meet and share our interest in labyrinths. Without knowing each other, we traveled to the Salmon Creek beach in Northern California. There we dowsed this new labyrinth design in the sand, using our entire bodies in the process. We drew with our minds, hearts, and with our toes. This particular labyrinth in the sand became as offering to the ocean, consumed in the middle of the night. And the Santa Rosa Labyrinth at Salmon Creek became an initiation for our friendship and collaboration on labyrinths to come.

The original design did not have a small open space, found in the fourth path. Some time in June of 1997, I wondered what would happen if I lined up the entrance path with the path into the goal. Laying the design out on my front lawn, I noticed the space emerge on the fourth path, the heart path. I was curious about its significance, if any. Almost a year later, I joined together with Marilyn Larson, Alyssa Hall, Kimberly Lowelle, and Sue Anne Foster on Mother's Day weekend in May of 1998, to create the first Santa Rosa Labyrinth on canvas.
All five of us once again noticed the empty space on the fourth path. What if we placed a bowl of fruit there, or a candle? We recognized that this space allows for a focus, experienced and viewed from all four directions. Sue Anne Foster was further inspired to paint her Santa Rosa Labyrinth with ivy lines.
Sue Anne's creativity has brought the Santa Rosa Labyrinth forward in a new way, capturing the attention of many with its many shades of ivy green.



Robert Ferré was one who found himself pulled to bring the sacred geometry of the Chartres Labyrinth to the Santa Rosa Labyrinth design, furthering the Creative Force from the formless into form. He also has midwifed this labyrinth into life with his canvas creations. I am filled with gratitude as this labyrinth continues to grace my life with creativity, connections, and with beauty. It is my hope that this Creative Life Force will be an inspiration for others as they search for their own centers in the twists and turns of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth.

See Lea's website at

Post Script, summer, 2009:

The Santa Rosa labyrinth has been very well received. We at Labyrinth Enterprises, LLC, have now made more than 125 Santa Rosa canvas labyrinths at our studio in Saint Louis, as well as a number of permanent ones in concrete or other materials. Photos are available in our gallery section and on the above Santa Rosa site. Below: Polymer concrete santa Rosa labyrinth in Spring Lake, New Jersey.