Satya has ceased publication. This website is maintained for informational purposes only.

To learn more about the upcoming Special Edition of Satya and Call for Submissions, click here.

back issues


November 2001
Camino de Paz: What’s In A Name?

By Ariane Burgess


When I was born I was given the name Ariane; and with that name came the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Labyrinth. In short, Ariane is the French derivation of Ariadne, the Cretan princess who falls in love with Theseus and gives him the key—a golden thread—that enables him to find his way out of the Labyrinth after slaying the human flesh-eating Minotaur.

I grew up fascinated with the myth and its many derivations. Several years ago, while visiting friends in the sprawling city of Manchester, England, I found a large book about mazes on their bookshelf with a diagram of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth. I was inspired. What would it be like to walk this mythological Labyrinth? Arriving at my home on the border of Scotland, I found bricks in a nearby abandoned fruit orchard and set about methodically laying out the circuits.

Building the Labyrinth brought me a wonderful sense of peace, ceremony and reverence. As I worked with the earth, stone and fallen branches, a deepening awareness of my surroundings began to emerge. Walking the completed Labyrinth created a microcosm of my life in which I saw clearly my thoughts and ways of being. Friends and family came to walk the Labyrinth and for some it was a deeply life-transforming experience.

I returned to New York City with the wish of creating a Labyrinth for neighbors and friends to have the opportunity to reflect upon their lives, to take a breath. The seeds for the Camino de Paz project were sown in a collaboration between several organizations, the South Bronx-based Cherry Tree Association, Youth Force, Families Reaching in Ever New Directions (F.R.I.E.N.D.S.), and the city-wide Visiting Nurse Service of New York. In a neighborhood where despair and violence are commonplace, in a city where competition and high stress are the norm, these organizations wanted to offer something that could help to bring about a balance in people’s lives.

Camino de Paz is Spanish for Walk of Peace. By its very name, the intention of the project is to allow people to walk the Labyrinth reflecting on one’s sense of inner-peace, and the cultivation of peaceful relations with our loved ones, friends, family, co-workers and others we share this Earth with.

The first Labyrinth I painted for the Camino de Paz project is an 11 circuit Labyrinth. I decided to paint the circuits red, orange and yellow. However, in the middle of painting the orange circuits I received a strong intuition that the Labyrinth was to be a rainbow, and thus the Rainbow Labyrinth was brought to life. As I painted, people from the neighborhood would walk by and stop for a moment to observe. On more than one occasion I was asked, “What are you painting, the Universe?” One full moon evening, after walking the newly painted Labyrinth, I looked up and saw a perfect rainbow circle wrapped around her, the moon, reflecting the Rainbow Labyrinth.

After the tragedy of September 11th, the Rainbow Labyrinth was selected as the site for a community activity. Four young boys appeared that evening asking if we had a light for their candles. We walked into the Labyrinth together and in the center, shared thoughts and feelings about what had occurred that Tuesday. In that moment we created ceremony.

We connected the lighting of the candles with the offering of heart-felt words. Michael, one of the boys, was the first to share what thought he would like to connect to his candle. Moments went by as he stood silently. I became aware of a feeling of anxiety growing inside myself, and around me the other boys were beginning to squirm and make fun. To relieve the situation, and to relieve myself of my feelings, I suggested that we pass to the next person. However, a friend who was also present in the circle held the space for Michael. Several more moments passed and Michael said, “I want everyone on Earth to be safe.” I lit his candle and he carried his thought carefully into the night.

This experience with Michael showed me the depth of my own dis-ease. I had tried to change an external situation because of the way I was feeling rather than acknowledging and allowing it to be present while allowing this young boy to have his time. It was a subtle violence and I realized that if I am to cultivate a sense of inner peace, then I would also have to cultivate patience.

I am grateful to the moment of inspiration that called me to make a Labyrinth and brought me to the Camino de Paz. Slowing down by walking the Labyrinth is deepening my connection to the world around me and within me. It’s helping me to be more in the moment rather than caught in seeking the goal. Walking the Labyrinth creates an opening to Earth, the great unconditional loving energy force that no matter how we treat her continues to pour forth her natural beauty and generously nurtures. For me, walking the Labyrinth for peace requires finding this reverence for Earth and accepting responsibility for my actions so that the wishes of young people like Michael can come true.

For more information about the Camino de Paz Project or to have a Labyrinth created for or with your organization, contact Ariane at or (718) 742-2522.


All contents are copyrighted. Click here to learn about reprinting text or images that appear on this site.