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Labyrinths of the Nature Coast: Places to find Peace in your Soul

By Guest Author Posted on October 14, 2021

Story and Photos by Lucy Tobias

Long ago and far away a woman or man whose name has been lost in the mists of time picked up a stick and drew a spiral in the dirt. A big spiral mirroring the swirl of planets in the sky or the design of a spider’s web.

They stepped on the start of the spiral with bare feet and walked the line all the way in, all the way out.

This was the start of labyrinths, now found in every culture all over the world. Designs evolved, took on twists and turns called circuits, always journeying to the center and out again.

Walking a labyrinth became a metaphor for our life’s journey.

I walked my first labyrinth in Siesta Key four years ago, a mindful experience that inspired me to walk labyrinths all over Florida, 138 in all, then write a book called Circle the Center Labyrinths in Florida.

Labyrinths on Florida’s Nature Coast

Did you know there are labyrinths right here in Hernando, Citrus, and Pasco counties?

Indeed, there are.

Floral City Public Library Labyrinth

The Floral City Public Library, 8360 East Orange Avenue, Floral City, has an 11-circuit classical Chartres design labyrinth outdoors, right next to the library.

What does that mean? A labyrinth was embedded in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France in the 12th century. Ever since the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth has inspired many classical labyrinth designs.

The one in Chartres is big and wide while the one in Floral City is the narrowest labyrinth I’ve ever walked!

The labyrinth was installed with great precision by the Floral City Garden Club in 1993.

The red brick path is one brick wide, set vertically – at the opening one brick extends beyond the path – this is where you start.

The start of the labyrinth at Floral City Public Library. Photo by Lucy Tobias.

A few thoughts before you walk:

A labyrinth is not a maze. You cannot get lost.

Stand still at the start and take a deep breath.

Visualize letting go of all your baggage. Set down your suitcases, shopping bags, worries, cares, concerns. It may take a while.

Freed from all that weight, take another deep breath.

Step on the path.

Let your feet do the walking.

Floral City Labyrinth
The 11-circuit labyrinth is next to the Floral City Public Library. Photo by Lucy Tobias

There were moments walking this narrow path when I felt like I was walking on a parallel bar (not that I’ve ever done something like that).

I was smiling. Such energy here in this place! Such exquisite craftmanship! At the first turn, I had to dance in place to make the narrow turn. Fun!

Walking this labyrinth took a great deal of focus. I cherished every step.

Note: Because of the narrow path, access is not possible for those using walkers or wheelchairs. There is a bench nearby for sitting, perhaps bring a finger labyrinth on paper and walk the walk that way.

Unity Church of Citrus County Lecanto Labyrinth

Unity of Citrus County, 2628 West Woodview Lane, Lecanto has an outdoor labyrinth in the 11-circuit Chartres design. It is open to the public.

The labyrinth is painted on a large concrete pad in a forest clearing.

The hardest part is finding it.

Drive behind the church and look for parking timbers indicated this is the place to park.

There is a small, fenced playground to the right. Go past the playground towards the woods.

You will see a sign saying, “Meditation Path”. Walking on that path I saw another sign with an arrow pointing to the labyrinth. I went that way and found it!

lecanto labyrinth
The labyrinth in the woods at Unity of Citrus County in Lecanto. Photo by Lucy Tobias.

Tall pines surround the labyrinth. The path is wide enough for walkers and wheelchairs but getting there along the forest path is difficult.

Ah, the thrill of discovery! I walked the labyrinth full of gratitude it was there.

Both the library labyrinth and the church labyrinth are outdoors and open to the public. No appointment is necessary to come and walk.

Spring Hill’s Private Labyrinth

In Spring Hill one year, John Paalvast received two tons of rocks from his wife as a birthday gift.

Perfect. He knew just what to do with those rocks – they would outline a garden labyrinth path.

The Paalvasts bought the lot next to their house. This became the labyrinth location.

John designed and built a 7-circuit round labyrinth in the woodland setting.

spring hill labyrinth
This garden labyrinth in Spring Hill includes saplings along the way. Photo by Lucy Tobias.

The dirt path has lovely sweeping turns with an organic design that respects the saplings growing along the way. Not recommended for walkers and wheelchairs.

This labyrinth is in a private garden. An appointment is necessary for walking the walk. Contact email: [email protected]

Unity Spiritual Center Port Richey Labyrinth

Unity Spiritual Center, 5844 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey, is the location of an 11-circuit classical design labyrinth. Drive behind the church. A large grassy area is bordered by woods. Park on the grass or driveway.

There is an opening easily seen in the tree canopy – this is the labyrinth location. Pavers in the grass lead the way to the start.

port richey labyrinth
The 11-circuit labyrinth at Unity Spiritual Center, Port Richey. Photo by Lucy Tobias.

The path is sand with every turn outlined in rocks. Not just any rocks but carefully placed medium-sized smooth rocks. Many are painted with designs.

port richey labyrinth
A painted rock on the labyrinth path at Unity Spiritual Center, Port Richey.. Image by Lucy Tobias.

As there is a school on the church property, my guess is children’s hands helped make this a joyful walk both with painting and laying out the stones.

For the first time ever, my rescue dog Bella came with me to a labyrinth walk. Usually, she is afraid of new places but not here.

Tail up, happy gait, she went to the labyrinth entrance and started walking on the path! I just stood in awe. For several turns she followed the path, sniffing closely at the rocks.

I believe the marvelous energy of all the hands that set these rocks in place still linger here, in this sacred place.

My compliments to the church for having a labyrinth page on their website, making for a great introduction. Here is what they say about the labyrinth experience:

“The labyrinth is a walking meditation, bringing you closer to discovering peace, gaining clarity, resolving inner conflict and just slowing down.”

Completed in 2013, their labyrinth page advises visitors to only take this walk on weekends during the school year when their Learning Lodge is in session.

Learn about all the Labyrinths in Florida

Want to know more about labyrinths in Florida? Here you go: My book is a labyrinth trail guide, the first of its kind, with labyrinths from the Panhandle to South Florida.

Circle the Center Labyrinths in Florida by Lucy Tobias, is available on my website: www.LucyTobias.com

Included are chapters on walking a labyrinth, children on the path, pets on the path, making your own labyrinth and resources for finding out more about the history and lore of labyrinths.

Also, visit and enjoy my Facebook page called Labyrinth of the week.

Lucy Tobias is an award-winning travel writer living in Sarasota with one dog and two cats. She can be reached at: [email protected]

Comments

Laura Starkey says

For years, I have wanted to create a labyrinth at Heartwood Preserve... this inspires me and gives me some ideas. It just could happen one of these days.
Laura

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