In September of 2017, the Scott Center collaborated with The Knoll and the Middlebury Mindfulness Initiative to create a walking labyrinth at the College’s organic garden in celebration of the garden’s 15th anniversary. 

Trust the Path and Find the Center: Building the Labyrinth

Lars Howlett:

The best place to start building would be, add a line in and then start working that way. That’s the best way to begin with new lines.

Lars Howlett:

My name is Lars Howlett, and I’m a professional labyrinth designer and builder. We’re here creating a seven-circuit medieval labyrinth based on the [Chartres 00:00:24] Cathedral labyrinth that’s 800 years old. A labyrinth is a single meandering pathway that winds its way to a center. As long as you trust the path, it will go in and out, but you will arrive at the center where you can pause, take a moment, or half an hour if you’d like, and then retrace your steps back out again. It’s an open source archetype, one that goes back 4,000 to 6,000 years. So the labyrinth is open to interpretation, but it has a rich tradition, which is exciting to continue here on campus.

Dozens of volunteers worked with renowned master labyrinth designer and builder Lars Howlett to construct a seven-circuit labyrinth modeled on one found beneath Chartres Cathedral in France. 

The labyrinth joins a circular marble bench, dedicated by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama during his 2012 visit to the College, and serves as an anchor to what will become a serenity garden in the coming years.

Maddie Tango ’21.5 wrote a paper on The Knoll and labyrinth for her First-Year Seminar; we credit Maddie for the following description: 

The labyrinth takes ten to twenty minutes to walk, depending on one’s speed, and is designed to shut off one’s left brain and create a meditative space to de-stress and contemplate. The labyrinth, nonsectarian and open to everyone, creates a space for anyone to fuel their soul. As opposed to a maze, a labyrinth requires no decision-making; rather, it guides the walker toward the center. One can walk with or without a set intention or goal; often, however, it is found that when one reaches the center of the labyrinth, the center of one’s thoughts has also been reached. The walker then returns from the center, retracing his or her steps. In the labyrinth at the Knoll, four rocks ground the walker in the four cardinal directions, and The Knoll itself is oriented along the sun’s path and is also aligned with the center of Middlebury’s college campus, connecting it further to its surroundings.

All are welcome to come walk the labyrinth at any time and enjoy the peace and beauty to be found at The Knoll.