Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Halls Hill Labyrinth, The 3rd Circuit, Earth, the Community Circuit

Earth is the 3rd closest planet to the sun after Mercury and Venus.  It is the only planet not named after a Roman or Greek God.  The name Earth is derived for an Anglo Saxon word Erde which has Germanic origins.  It is the densest planet in our solar system and the largest of the 'terrestrial planets'.  Earth was formed about 4 1/2 billion years ago and simple molecular life forms originated in the planet's seas about a billion years later, possibly around thermal vents deep in the oceans.  These organisms proliferated and began forming a biosphere that significantly altered the planet's atmosphere, creating an ozone layer that blocks life inhibiting solar radiation.  This enabled life forms to eventually move from the seas to land masses.  Earth is in just the right place for life to happen.  Its all a matter of circumstance that this little speck in the Universe developed in the way it did.  And the results of this chemical manifestation have been magnificent.  The planet is in constant flux in a symbiotic melange of systems that adapt to every modulation in the environment.  The organisms that thrive here have taken advantage of every circumstance in what was an ever expanding variety of species until our current species came along.  Its believed that a meteorite ended the era of the dinosaurs, who ruled the Earth for 180 million years.  We've been here for about one million years, at first living as part of the ecosystem, until we attained the ability to alter the environment in order to subsist on a more controllable level.

In the last 540 million years, the time span where the fossil records show the existence of large populations of complex hard shelled organisms, the Earth has experienced between 5 and 20 mass extinctions.  Today our impact as a species is causing another one.  Our hominid ancestors developed in to a highly adaptable species, capable of living in diverse climates from the tropics to the Arctic.  After the last ice age ended, Homo sapiens populations grew exponentially.  We currently number about 7.2 billion people.  That number is projected to increase by another billion in the next 10 years!  The impact that this population explosion has had on this planet is far reaching.  It is estimated that 30,000 species will become extinct in the next year, about one every 3 hours.  A report in National Geographic magazine predicts that 1/4th of all species on the planet are threatened with extinction by 2050.

One of four bronze ecosystem panels on the Prayer Wheel in Halls Hill Park
Currently our disconnect from the natural world is at an all time high.  Most American's knowledge of nature comes largely from watching television.  The majority spend far more time texting than communing with the natural world and concerns about the economy rate far higher than environmental concerns in polls.  I am eternally grateful that I was taught to love and respect the Earth even though observing the way that we degrade our natural world can be a very difficult thing to watch.

An incredible array of colorful seaweeds washed up on the shore of Rockaway Beach
Still, I find this planet to be so fabulous that it is my life's goal to explore as much of it as I can I'm able.  One of the great tricks has been to balance the desire to be a vagabond with working and having a home and garden.  Its one of the reasons I choose to work outside.  I take the winters off when the garden is dormant and the weather inclement in Oregon.  I've probably learned more traveling than I have doing everything else combined.

Meteora, Greece
What I have seen out there is nothing short of breath taking.  Earth is covered in gems, many of them man made but the best being natural landscapes.  We tend to completely alter the landscape to suit our needs, leaving no remnant of what was naturally there.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be building this Labyrinth on a site surrounded by nature.  I've returned to Bainbridge Island this time to complete the project.

The Earth circuit is the one I chose to build as "the Community circuit," an idea suggested by my client to make the labyrinth more participatory.  The idea was to have people bring stones and found objects that I would use to build the third circuit from the center.  We made a nice sign explaining what I was looking for and people slowing started to leave stones.  Since I've been back on the site this Spring a few more piles have appeared and the selection looks good.  People have left collections of beach glass, geodes, an amethyst crystal, Ammonite fossils, a Tibetan lock, and oxidized metal spikes and nails from the days when ship building was a lucrative trade on the island.
An assortment of stones and other objects donated for the Community circuit
I loaded the truck with my gear for the two final weeks  of work and filled the gas tank (Saudi oil?  Domestic Fracking?  Tar Sands?) and got on that massive strip of traffic clogged pavement that is Interstate 5 and drove back to Bainbridge Island on April 15th.  My biggest environmental sin is driving a fossil fueled vehicle over long distances, pumping greenhouse gases in to the atmosphere.  Once I'm settled in here though I am staying just a minute from the site which makes for a very low carbon foot print commute.

The night before I left Portland there was a full moon with a lunar eclipse that was dazzlingly visible from my back yard, with Mars shining red above it.  It seems to be an auspicious time to resume work on the Labyrinth.

Full Lunar Eclipse with Mars above and a bright star to the right
I arrived on the island and drove first to Fay Bainbridge Park, which I hadn't been to before.  There is a long wide beach backed by driftwood logs there.  I combed it for small pebbles to use to make flower petals because in the Earth circuit I am celebrating the richness and fertility that is unique to the planet we live on.

The beach at Fay Bainbridge Park
When I arrived at the site I removed the forms from the work I left behind and began clearing the area that I'll be working in.  A yard of crushed rock had been delivered to fill the gaps between the circuits but it doesn't match the nice gravel I was using before, so I am filling the gaps 2/3rds of the way and top dressing it with gravel that I'm scooping off  the parking area up by the road, doubling the amount of work required for this step in the project.  Somebody left a purple tulip on a boulder which I placed between the two white loops near the 'Clouds of Heaven' loops in the northerly direction of the Labyrinth and later buried in gravel.

A purple tulip left at the Labyrinth
This started the cycle of being tired and sore that will progress as I make my way to the end of the project.  The pain in my shoulder had nearly gone away during my break, with the help of massage.  My materials still hadn't been delivered the next day so I spent time setting up forms and sorting rock, and then went to Fort Ward Park to do some discrete beach combing.

Fort Ward Beach
It was a cold damp day so the beach stone was wet, showing off the colors.  I gathered more small pebbles to use as flower petals and some larger stones in colors I am short on for the edges of the path.  There are some interesting bedrock formations exposed along the Fort Ward beach that make circles surrounded by rings of thin layers, with the colorful beach stones filling the depressions.

Soft bedrock formations at Fort Ward Beach
It is arrangements like these that influence the way that I work.  I'm always learning from Nature, who I consider the greatest teacher.

My project manager Gregory picked up 8 bags of mortar for me as the delivery of a fresh pallet didn't happen that day.  I mixed four bags and worked until dark, making time consuming little flowers with bits of green beach glass people had brought.  I have to put them in on edge and they are quite small.  They came out looking like Sea Anemones, which I like.  I left a gap in the mosaic so that I can connect the Mars circuit to Earth circuit later.  The spans between loops are getting shorter than the steel bands that I use for forms so I am having to work around that.  I had new strips cut from a thinner gauge of steel because the bends are getting tighter and I need greater flexibility than the thicker steel strips I've been using will tolerate.  The new strips are so thin that I have to use two of them sandwiched together to give them the rigidity to hold the shape of the curves.

Green beach glass 'Sea AAnemones
The next day I worked my way around to the western cardinal point, where I set a donated Ammonite fossil and made a couple more Sea Anemones using brown beer bottle beach glass.

An Ammonite Fossil, brown beach glass 'Sea Anemones, and alabaster dice in the west of the Community circuit
A woman named Ellen who lives below the park came up and brought me some wonderful pieces of oxidized metal her husband had collected from the beach, including nails with copper in them that have a nice green patina.

The collection of beautiful old metal spikes, nails, and beach glass that Ellen's husband collected
I worked until the rain made it too miserable to continue, so I went home to my place for lunch and was rewarded with a spectacular double rainbow that lasted for over an hour.  I walked back to the site, taking in the vibrant damp greens of Spring and set things up for the next day.  The weather is supposed to be drier tomorrow, so I will make good progress.

Double Rainbow over Puget Sound
In the morning I headed for the site earlier than usual.  The sun was shining and that can be very motivating when you work outside.  It was a beautiful day, with birds chirping, woodpeckers pecking, and me making mosaics.  Some nice people came by and I gave them tours and made flowers for the ones who turned the Prayer Wheel.  In the afternoon I finished the bends in the south from the Mars to the Earth circuit.

Bends connecting the 4th to the 3rd circuit
In the bend to the left I incorporated a Tibetan lock cast with the Bodhisattva Red Tara cast on the front and a lovely mandala that is now set permanently in mortar.  I surrounded it with thin pink and red stones, including some beautiful metamorphic ones in the crown that I collected from a beach while I was in Greece.  When I returned the next day a Madrone leaf had fallen and covered her, and I realized that it could be a great offense to devout Buddhists to have placed her in a position where she could be stepped on.  I left the leaf covering her the rest of the time I worked on the mosaics as protection, and would like people to be mindful of her and to step around her, and to make a vow of loving compassion.  Thanks.

Red Tara
A woman named Lyssa came by and asked if I would do a radio interview with the local access radio station.  I talked to another woman, Catherine about having Monks from the island's monastery come to do a blessing and chant around it when it is finished.  I've envisioned people sitting on each of the 12 boulders and joining in a focused chant.  I would love to see people dance on it as well.  Bring flowers to set in the gravel between the paths, or offerings to place at points you find special to you.  There will eventually be a broom so you can sweep it.  There are thousands of details to be found if you seek them out.  Walking this labyrinth is meant to be a fascinating journey in Time and Space.

I worked from the point I stopped at yesterday, setting the Community circuit from the Western cardinal point to where a pair of bends will occur connecting to the 2nd circuit, the Venus circuit.  In the area with orange stone I placed a copy of the Phaistos Disk, which I bought when I was on the island of Crete in Greece this winter.  The original disk was found in the Minoan palace complex at Phaistos and is twice the size of the copy I bought.  It is considered to be the oldest known example of typography.  Carved seals were stamped into a wet clay tablet in a spiraling line but the text has never been deciphered.  Countless copies in a variety of colors were produced for the souvenir market.  I chose one that mimicked the original.  Surrounding the disk I set bits of red grout from the palace site and pottery shards from the Minoan palace at Knossos.  I added to the mix some alabaster dice making the numbers 7 and 11 along with small orange beach pebbles, creating a quirky flower.

A copy of the Phaistos Disk

From orange area I worked my way in to black stones and then white where the bends to the Venus circuit will be connected later.

There is plenty of rain the forecast, making Spring on Puget Sound lush and vibrantly green.  One of the best parts of this project is when I visit area beaches to collect stones.  I needed to go to town and buy more rebar so I stopped at a beach at low tide on Eagle Harbor where the town of Winslow is located.  The selection here is limited but I can always use small stones, and I want to use material from as many of the island's beaches as possible.

A beach on Eagle Harbor
Connecting Eagle Harbor to Rockaway beach where I collect most of my stone is Creosote Point.  This was once a major facility for treating wood with coal tar as a preservative for making power poles and pilings for docks.  The plant operated for 80 years until environmental concerns forced its closure.  The contaminated site was designated a Superfund site by the government and efforts to contain the contamination continue to this day.  There is a large steel wall enclosing the site and the water here is a murky brown color.  There is a park along the shoreline outside the steel walls, which is covered with barnacles and small mussels at the tide line.

The beach at Creosote Point
I found two beautiful big moon snail shells on the beach that are as large as a small fist.  I later filled one with mortar and placed it in a bend in the Community circuit.  The next day was Easter Sunday and the weather was beautiful (God smiling on egg hunts).  I went down to the Labyrinth and set up the forms looping to the Venus circuit.  A woman named Helen came down and asked if I had found a ceramic heart she had left in a small bag on the boulder where stones were left for the Community circuit.  I told her I had taken it home to figure out a way to install it so that it wouldn't fall out later because it is very thin.  It was a meant as a memorial to her young son who had passed away.  Our conversation was so sweet and tender and one of those moments that makes this project so special.

After that I went to a lovely brunch given by my hosts for their family.  They all came to visit the Labyrinth and then Deborah Cheadle, who I met yesterday came to take me over to the country club to collect stones on the beautiful beaches that surround this exclusive point on the island.  This is an area of stately old homes with marvelous views across a pasture like golf course.  We sat in the sun and picked small colorful stones and visited through the afternoon.  I learned a lot about island history and got to see some fine homes and gardens on this glorious day.  Bainbridge Island is an incredibly beautiful place to live.

Bainbridge Reef by the Country Club
Then I returned and built the loop connecting the Earth circuit to the Venus circuit.  A couple came as it was getting dark, their first visit to the park.  They said they would bring me some stones as their last name is Rockefeller.

The colorful pebbles Deborah and I collected on the beach by the Country Club
I finished the Community circuit when I built the loops in the white northerly direction that connect it to the Venus circuit.  These loops are special in that I incorporated Helen's ceramic heart dedicated to her son.  I set some geodes that belonged to a man who passed away who's name I do not know, and made petals with bits of donated beach glass and ceramic crockery, and stones given to me by a couple who's dog Reilly had just passed away.  I surrounded all of this with special bits of marble I gathered in Greece from the Temples of Dionysos, Demeter, the Delian Apollo, the Temple of Hera on Samos, and the ruins of a Hellenistic house on the island of Paros, and a stone I brought back from Pompeii 4 years ago.  Please tread lightly when you walk on these delicate turns in the path.

Another circuit done, in honor of the incredible planet on which we live.  May we honor it and treat it with love so that it may continue to sustain us.  That is my wish.  Thank you to the people who brought stones and meaningful object used to create it, and thank you for reading my ramblings, Jeffrey

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Halls Hill Labyrinth The Fourth Circuit, Mars

Mars, the Red Planet is the 4th furthest from the sun.  It looks red, even to the naked eye in the night sky.  In 2014 it was closest to the Earth and at its brightest on April 14, as I was writing this, in line with a full moon that would eclipse the next day.  I went outside and set up a tripod and took this photo from my back patio.  I was amazed that the planet, when zoomed in on showed up like a red bead in the sky with a dimple in the center.  It seems to be an auspicious time to resume work on the Labyrinth for the final phase leading to its completion.

Mars is the second smallest of the planets in our solar system after Mercury, and gets its red color from a coating of iron oxide on the surface.  Even though it is about half the diameter of Earth, its Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain on a planet in our solar system.  Mars has a thin atmosphere and ice caps on its poles like Earth.  The ice caps contain enough water that if they were to melt the surface of Mars could be covered with 11 meters of water.  The rotational tilt of its axis causes the planet to experience seasonal changes and might even melt ice to create flowing water during the warmest times of the year.  Mars is orbited by two moons that are named after the Roman God Mars sons Phobos and Deimos.

In mythology Mars was the God of War, and was the principal deity worshipped by Roman soldiers.  He was the offspring of Jupiter and Juno (Zeus and Hera in Greek mythology).  Mars has a long history that dates back to Neolithic times when he was the God of Spring, growth in Nature, and the protector of cattle.  This would have made him an important deity for herders, who lived close to nature, moving their flocks seasonally to greener pastures.  He was also associated with Woodpeckers and Wolves.  A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers rules the woods at Halls Hill Park and made themselves known by pecking the trees around the Labyrinth while I worked on the Mars circuit.  Wolves are the ancestors to all dogs.  There aren't any wild wolves on Bainbridge Island but there are plenty of dogs.

Statue of Ares at the Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy
The wild and untamed world was the characteristic realm of Ares, the Greek predecessor of Mars.  Acts of brutality came from his intense energy and rage.  He was associated with the violent, chaotic aspect of war, as opposed to the orderly military strategies overseen by his sister, the Goddess Athena.  He represented danger, being insatiable and destructive in battle.  Because his influence was untamed and violent, Ares was treated by the Greeks with scorn in spite of his valor.  His most famous love affair was with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.  Opposites cannot help but attract in the divine realm, but their children can be a handful.  Ares traveled in his war chariot with their offspring Phobos (Fear), and Deimos (Terror), and his sister Enyo (Discord).   Aphrodite by Ares also gave birth to the God of Love, Eros, who's arrows inflicted insatiable desire in those they pierced.  Greek Eros became the Roman Cupid, the chubby winged boy favored even by the Catholic church.  Unions like love and war can explain emotions like lust and jealousy.

Mars was held in much higher regard by the Romans and was elevated to a very high position, second only to the God Jupiter.  He was the patron deity of the Roman army and was also a God of agriculture.  Rather than being psychopathic, his violence was justified as conflict with the goal of peaceful resolution.

Venus and Mars, from a mural at Pompeii, Museum of Archaeology, Napoli
I built most of the Mars circuit between the end of March and April 3rd.  I started with the loop in the East connecting to the Jupiter circuit, and worked in a clock or sun wise direction which I have been following through the entire project.  The colors here in the first section I built are the greens of Spring.  The symbol I chose to make for people who rang the prayer wheel is a spear with 3 prongs.

The beginning of the Mars circuit, looping from the Jupiter circuit
A trident is like a pitchfork and is usually associated with the God Neptune.  In the Hindu religion, Mars would have been comparable to the God of war, victory, wisdom and love, Lord Murugan, Son of Lord Shiva, who presented him with a Vel, or Trident.  There is a dramatic festival honoring the occasion called Thaipusam that is celebrated by Tamil Hindus in Malaysia, where piercings are made through the cheeks and tongue with rods capped with a trident.
A heavily pierced devotee of the Hindu God Murugan participates in the Thaipusam festival in Penang, Malaysia
The first of these spears I made was for a couple undergoing a separation, in a sense, conflict with the hope of a peaceful resolution.

This red trident reminded me of the lilies painted on the beautiful murals at the Minoan palace at Knossos, Crete, where the Labyrinth of the Minotaur was located.  If all spears were lilies how different the world would be.

A wall mural of lilies with approximate recreations from the Palace at Knossos, Crete
Then working to the west, I made more simple little tridents for people who came to turn the Prayer Wheel.  Many of the symbols I make blend in to the surrounding mosaic and are difficult to locate unless you know what you are looking for.

A Trident of Vel in the brown western direction of the Labyrinth.
Two women visited the Labyrinth on a quiet afternoon as I was working my way through the area with black stones.  I told them about some of the meaning I've incorporated in to the project and that I had recently returned from Greece with stones from sacred places.  One of the women said that her favorite Greek myth was that of the Goddess Persephone.  I showed them where the mosaic of the River Styx flows in to the underworld in the Pluto circuit and that it was a place where Persephone would return from Hades in the Spring to see her Mother Demeter, signaling the end of winter.  I told them that this was a place where symbolically people could meet with those who have passed away when the Earth wakens from its slumber.  One of the women began to cry and the other woman told me that her stepfather Howard had died the day before at the age of 93.  So I made a black pitchfork for Howard.  They said it was very appropriate for him as he had been a farmer.  I hope Howard doesn't mind that his Trident is a funky little thing, but the moment was very sweet.

I worked my way from black to white to blue green and ended the Mars circuit where it will bend in to the Earth circuit.

And so I have nearly completed 8 of the 11 circuits, and the center area yet to be built grows that much smaller.  This is a huge and daunting project, one where a lot of hard work brings me great pleasure.  The war is in my sore shoulders, but the peace is in having done the work.

The nearly completed Mars circuit
Thanks for taking the time to read this, Jeffrey

Three circuits and the center to go!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Halls Hill Labyrinth, Jupiter

A beautifully enhanced image of the planet Jupiter showing a swirling cloud layer of ammonia crystals
It is Spring and I am back on Bainbridge Island to resume work on the Halls Hill Labyrinth.  Last fall I completed 6 of the 11 circuits.  I started with the outer rings, and they make up the majority of the project since the circuits get smaller as I work my way towards the center.  The outer circuit, the 11th is dedicated to the full moons of the year, and I call it the Lunar circuit.  The 10th circuit has 108 stones arranged like a Tibetan prayer bead necklace, so I call it the Mala circuit.  The 9 rings leading to the center are dedicated to the 9 planets, starting with Pluto (yes, I know Pluto was downgraded from planet status).  The planets are named after Roman Gods, except for Uranus.  Roman worship borrowed heavily from Greek religious traditions, so there is usually a Greek equivalent to every Roman deity.  Pluto was first Hades.  Neptune was Poseidon.  Uranus is the only planet named after a Greek God, the Roman name being Caelus.  Saturn was Cronos, Jupiter was Zeus, and Mars was Ares. Earth was Gaia in Greece and Terra Mater (Mother Earth) in Rome.   Venus was Aphrodite, and Mercury was Hermes, and the sun was Helios and Apollo.

A magnificent bronze statue believed to be Zeus hurling a lightning bolt dating from 460 BC at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens
The 5th circuit, which I am building now, is dedicated to the planet and God Jupiter.  Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, being approximately 1,400 times the size of our planet Earth.  It is the third brightest object in the night sky after our Moon and Venus, and at its brightest can even cast a subtle shadow on the ground. The Romans named the planet after the King of their Gods.  The majority of the planet is made up of layers of hydrogen and helium gases.  The cloud layer that we see on the surface of the planet is a relatively thin (about 50 kilometers deep) layer of ammonia crystals, and may contain a layer of water, as powerful lightning activity has been observed that would most likely be caused by water's polarity.  The intensity of these lightning storms is estimated to be 10 time greater than anything ever recorded on Earth.  As water vapor rises to the outer layers of the atmosphere it freezes, and the ice crystals rub against each other creating an electrical charge that is discharged through lightning.

Lightning captured on Jupiter by the NASA spacecraft New Horizons

Jupiter is the Roman incarnation of the Greek God Zeus.  He is a God of the sky, lightning, thunder, and justice.  He is often depicted clutching a lightning bolt ready to hurl it Earthward.  Lightning is a phenomenon that could easily inspire divine explanation.

Jupiter depicted in a ceiling painting I photographed in the Louvre in Paris

The Eagle is associated with Zeus, and Bald Eagles land here in the tallest trees from time to time.  I love hearing their distinctive cry and have seen them soaring overhead while I work on the labyrinth.  I have heard that with the building of new homes on the island that trees traditionally used as nesting sites by eagles year after year have recently been cut down.  There is great wealth on Bainbridge and lots with views of the water are increasingly more rare, so the impact of new building on less accessible sites tends to be greater.  Our natural systems are being impacted at an alarming rate.

200 AD Roman floor mosaic depicting Zeus as an Eagle, snatching Ganymedes.  Museum of Archaeology, Thessaloniki

This winter I visited several islands in Greece, including Crete and Naxos.  Both islands are mountainous, and I climbed up to caves on each that are related in mythology to the life of Zeus.  The cave of Ideon Andron on Mt. Ida, south of the city of Rethymno on the island of Crete, is according to legend one of two possible birthplaces of the baby Zeus.

The Ideon Andron Cave, one of the mythical birthplaces of Zeus, on Mt. Ida, Crete
Sired by Cronus (Saturn), and birthed by the Goddess Rhea,  Zeus was destined to be eaten by his father, like his siblings were before him.  Being Gods, the family role call of Cronus' offspring is significant, including Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon.  Cronus had heard in prophesy that he would be deposed by one of his own, like his father Uranus, who'm he castrated and dethroned.  But Rhea wasn't going to have it this time so she wrapped a stone in swaddling and offered it up, and it seemed to pass the culinary needs of a distracted God.  Zeus was squirreled off to be raised in a secret cave on either Crete or Naxos.  Though the myths vary, he was said to have been raised by the Nymph named Adamanthea, and fed by a goat named Amalthea, who nursed him from his magical cornucopia horn.  To mask the divine baby's cries and avoid discovery, a band of Demigods called Kouretes clashed their spears against their shields to drown them out.  Excavations at the Ideon Andron Cave on the flanks of Mt. Ida yielded a treasure trove of offerings related to the cult of Zeus, including a bronze drum depicting winged Kouretes beating their shields while a triumphant Zeus flings a lion over his head and straddles a bull in the center.

8th Century BC Bronze drum depicting Zeus and Kouretes, from the Ideon Andron, Museum of Archaeology, Herakion, Crete
After his birth, some versions of the Zeus myth say that he was taken to the island of Naxos to be raised in a cave on the flanks of Mt. Zas.  Zas is the tallest mountain on the island and bears a form of his name.  I was the only one on the mountain the day I hiked it and it was a magical afternoon spent spelunking without a flashlight and and looking for stones to make little lightning bolts with.

Zeus, in retribution for his father having eaten his siblings, dethroned Cronus and caused him to vomit up the family.  Afterwards he became the supreme deity to whom all others worshiped.  

Zeus was a ladies man, and had a jealous wife, the Goddess Hera.  He sired many children with Goddesses and mortal women, many of whom were cursed and put to great tests by Hera.  The list is stellar.  Athena was born when Zeus's skull was split to relieve the worst of headaches after he had swallowed Athena's Mother, Metis.  The twins Apollo and Artemis (Diana), were birthed by Leto on the island of Delos after a curse from Hera that made it impossible for her to give birth in any other terrestrial place.  A tryst with Maia produced Hermes.  Hera had six children with Zeus, including Ares (Mars), Hephaestus, and Hebe.  Mnemosyn, the Goddess of Memory gave birth to the 12 Muses.  One of Jupiter's Moons is named for the Muse Aoide.  Dionysos fetus was stitched up in Zeus leg after his Mother, Semele was incinerated when she made Zeus promise her a boon, and she asked to see him in his divine form.  He attempted in vain to minimize his appearance to spare her, but he had promised with an oath made on the River Styx and was committed to fulfill it.  All in all he sired more than 40 divine offspring and a large number of mortals, including the mighty Heracles (Hercules).

Lighting bolts I made and left outside the entrance to Zas Cave, Naxos, Greece

Zeus had many rolls and aspects as a God.  He was the King of the divine pantheon that resided on Mount Olympus.  He continued to be the King of Gods in Rome as Jupiter, and the most important oaths of honor were made in his temple.  The Jupiter Temple at Baalbak in Lebanon was the largest temple in the entire Roman empire, with some of the largest known blocks of stone ever hewn, weighing 60 tons and more.

The Jupiter Temple at Baalbek, Lebanon, the largest in the Roman Empire
Me standing on the World's 2nd largest known hewn stone at Baalbek, Lebanon
The Roman Emperor Hadrian completed what would become the largest temple in Athens, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus.  Begun in the 6th Century BC, it was envisioned to become the greatest temple in the ancient world.  The King of Gods and Man was given the highest level of respect by the ancient Greeks and later the Romans.  By honoring Jupiter more than any other empire, Rome could claim divine supremacy over it's realm.

What remains of the great Temple of the Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece
With all that in mind, I packed up my tools and returned to Bainbridge Island on March 23rd, the 3rd day of Spring.  I had hoped to be there earlier to mark the Vernal Equinox but the lovely apartment that I stay in wasn't available at that time.  It was a beautiful day with ample sunshine for the drive up.  I stopped at the beach in Purdy and the tide was out in the late afternoon so I collected a couple of 5 gallon buckets of stones.  When I arrived at the site I went immediately to work clearing loose stones from the area where I would resume building the path that leads to the center.  Because the 5th circuit turns and runs to the center I started at the bend from the 6th circuit in the northern Cardinal point.

The Labyrinth as it looked on my return on March 23rd
The next morning a pallet of mortar was delivered along with 10-20 foot sticks of 3/8 inch rebar.  And so the toil of building the Labyrinth resumed.  I built the bend and made my way from white stones in to silver stones.  This is the next set of turns inward from the 'Clouds of Heaven' that I built last fall between the 9th and 8th circuits.  Finding white stones is becoming more difficult in the right shapes as I have picked up most of what is available on the beaches that are close by.  Winter waves have turned the beaches and revealed new stones but I have to work harder to go further down the beaches to find the colors I need.

Today I had a visit from a lovely woman named Angie, for whom I dedicated the first of a series of simple 'lightning bolts', that I am incorporating in to this circuit as a symbol of Zeus, the God of lightning and thunder and storms.  In return I asked her to go and turn the prayer wheel and send an intention out in to the World.

Angie visits the Labyrinth
Angie's Lightning bolt (they tend to be very subtle when made of beach rock)
The next visitors were a family out enjoying the beautiful weather.  When people ask about the project I tell stories about the meaning of the various colors and circuits and what a Labyrinth is used for.  It will be so interesting when people actually start to walk it.  I find Americans to usually be very impatient, and walking this will require a fair amount of patience and time.  Some people just walk by and don't say a word, others come on a regular basis to show friends and to see the progress.  Some tell me they have been coming on a regular basis all winter just to gaze upon it.

My good friends Trish and Thane from Portland came by on their way back from Anacortes to see the project.  I love that friends find their way to this rather remote location in their travels to see what I am up to.  I made a special lightning bolt to commemorate their visit.

Friends from Portland visiting the project

Turning from the 6th circuit to the 5th at the Northern cardinal point
From my bag of select stones that I brought back from Greece I made a lightning bolt using the small slivers of stone I had collected at Zas Cave on the island of Naxos.  The link between the sacred places I visited in Greece this winter and the Labyrinth form a physical link between the Labyrinth and Greek Mythology, which I have been studying a great deal lately.
A lightning bolt made from stone shards I collected on Mt. Zas on the island of Naxos, Greece

I worked my way around to where the 5th circuit turns and runs straight to the center of the Labyrinth.  A section of the path in line with the entrance path parallels the one leading to the center, which represents the sun.  These straight paths are made of yellow stones since they are aligned with the east, and yellow is the color for the east in Native American medicine wheel diagrams.

The paths turn towards the center in the East
These paths bisect the Mars, Earth, and Venus circuits, and then the one centered on the east west axis connects to where the Sun disk will be at the center.  The path next to it connects to the Mercury circuit, and turns and goes part of the way around the Sun.  Once you reach the center it is traditional to walk back out following the reverse route.  If done with intention, this walk should be consciousness altering, if only for having exercised the patience needed to do so, but hopefully with so much more.

The next day was epic for its rainbows.  They lasted for at least an hour, arching across the sound while I gathered another 400 pounds or so of rock.  The tide is out in the afternoon so I am gathering what I need to make my way through each band of color during that time.

A brilliant full spectrum rainbow 
It is a constant search to find the right shapes and sizes of stones in 12 colors I'm using, and the graduations in between.  I will have collected more than a ton by the time I finish the 5th and 4th circuits.

The day's pickings
Later, a very fashionable girl named Ava brought her parents, Lori and Farrell to see the project.  I told them about the community circuit that I will be building, the 3rd from the center where the Earth would orbit the Sun, and how people were bringing stones they had collected to contribute to it.  Enthused by the idea, they returned the next day with 3 buckets of beach rock, most of which had well chosen shapes I could use.  This doubled the amount of stones that have been left by people on a boulder by the Labyrinth over the winter.  I will build that circuit when I return in the middle of April.  Now that I am back on the site, more stones for the Community circuit have been showing up every day.

Ava, Lori, and Farrell
Later in the evening, Barb, who lives below the park came by with her two dogs.  We talked about the Labyrinth as a place of contemplation and soul searching, and the idea of it being a portal or link between realms of existence.   The is solace to be had here.

Barb and her sweet dogs
I worked my way around from Spring in to Summer, using up most of the pink and red stones that I had on hand.  I am always looking for these colors as they are not so plentiful.  I've incorporated a number of wave tumbled red bricks in to the red areas due to the rarity of flat red stones.  I left a gap at the Western cardinal point for turns that will connect to the 4th circuit, where brown then transitions to orange.  This is the direction of the Autumnal equinox.

The Jupiter Circuit, the 5th
On March 29th, I worked my way from orange in to black, mixing in stones where both colors are blended.  Then I transitioned in to white, and completed the loop in the North across from where I started when I returned to the island a week ago.  It rained all morning so I had to put my tarp up over the frame I have set up for shelter.  I'm able to walk the frame around like a spider to keep the areas I am working on dry.  Fortunately I haven't had to work under the tarp a lot because it is darker and kind of moody when it is up.  If it looks like it won't rain for a while I take the tarp down.  But it was up for the completion of this circuit as the rain came and went, and the sky grew dark.

Subtle zig zags of stone honor the God of Lightning and Thunder
Just as I was setting the last stones in the bend from the 5th to the 6th circuit, a dramatic bolt of lightning struck the water out on the Sound.  I could see the flash through the trees and thunder rumbled past a few seconds later, so it was very close.  Zeus had spoken!  I let out a whoop.  About 5 feet away from where I was sitting is the lightning bolt made from the slivers of limestone I brought from the Zas Cave on Naxos.  The electric connection between Heaven and Earth is buzzing through the Labyrinth now in the Jupiter circuit, and there is great magic in the World.

Thanks for reading, Jeffrey

With the Jupiter circuit complete, there are four circuits and the center remaining to be built
Jupiter seen from one of its poles, taken by the Juno Spacecraft in July, 2016