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Walking into 2008

Designed to help participants enter more consciously into the New Year, the ninth annual Labyrinth Walk Celebration is planned Dec. 29 through Jan. 1 at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland.

A free community New Year's tradition, the Sacred Walk Into 2008 will feature meditative silence and special focus hours interspersed with presentations of diverse spiritual music by regional musicians. The music ranges from Celtic to classical, from Native American and Cuban Santeria drumming to original compositions.

The Sacred Walk is co-sponsored by labyrinth facilitator Elizabeth Austin, Living Earth Circle Director Lisa Pavati and the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship with minister Heather Lynn Hansen. In a press release for the event, Austin says, "Everyone is welcome to come and relax into the peace, let go of stress, and connect more deeply with the Divine."

Pavati, who serves as the event's ceremonial facilitator and sacred arts coordinator, will conduct "The Sacred Mandala of Living Light," a candle dance she created in 2000 to begin the Labyrinth Walk Celebration.

The ceremony is dedicated to planetary healing and will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29. The dance will be performed by women of the Ashland community to "illuminate each person's path in love and beauty and to honor the sacredness of all creation," Pavati says.

Musicians performing as part of the Living Earth Circle opening ceremony include The Enchanters, Richard Williams, Duane Light, Nancy Bloom and others.

Pamela Joy as the "Singing Angel" will host The Children's Hour beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30. Native American drumming and dance by eagle dancer Jack Falls Rock and Friends will take place that night from 7:15 to 9 p.m.

The New Year will be welcomed with a midnight celebration featuring the Enchanters and an ensemble of the labyrinth's musicians including Shara Gardner and Anton Mizerak.

For more information, call 482-4132.

The labyrinth. (Photo courtesy of 2007, 8 Sacred Labyrinth Walk Celebration)