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A 'Sacred Walk into the New Year'

The 10th annual "Sacred Walk to the New Year," an all-night labyrinth walk, will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 1, at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 87 Fourth St., Ashland. Hours will be from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday; 6 a.m. Wednesday to 1:30 a.m. Thursday; and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The three-day celebration is open to the public free of charge, and the event is made possible by donations, which are the sole source of funding.

The Labyrinth Walk is co-sponsored by Lisa Pavati and Living Earth Circle, Elizabeth Austin and Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The walk draws attendance by the thousands. Organizers describe the event as offering a deep and joyful space where individuals can move into the upcoming year with intention and inspiration.

The celebration features a welcoming environment with artistic community-created altars, sacred music and dance, as well as periods of silence. A full event schedule and volunteer information is online at livingearthcircle.org.

The event begins with an opening ceremony presented by Pavati and Living Earth Circle. This year more than 50 musicians will share in the celebration. Performing will be Elk Thunder Native American Drum, Prema Mayi and Friends, The Enchanters, Richard Williams, Nancy Bloom and others. The Labyrinth Walk is formally opened by placing candles on the labyrinth.

In the event's second year, Pavati and Living Earth Circle were enlisted to create a ritual for the event's opening that would be centered on sacred dance. Now the Sacred Mandal of Living Light candle dance is an integral part of the celebration. Living Earth Circle's participatory ceremonies also are planned for midnight on New Year's Eve, with a multi-performance community kirtan. The labryrinth's closing on Thursday will feature the Rogue Valley Peace Choir, directed by David Marston, and a Native American music ensemble led by Jack Falls Rock.

New Year's Eve is the peak of the event, which features nearly 40 sets of sacred world and regional music. The music schedule is designed to enliven the participants' experience, supporting each step of their walk in beauty and grace, explains Pavati.

One of the most exciting aspects of this event is the celebration of both our individual wisdom and the unity of our connections as a local and global community, she says. The music schedule offers a full spectrum of inspirational music, with diversity as extensive as it is exotic: East Indian devotional kirtan, Cuban Santaria drumming, classical instrumental and vocal ensembles, Native American drumming and dance, Balkan choir, Celtic harp, local songwriter favorites, crystal singing bowls and more.

New Year's Eve treats also include performances by Anton Mizerak and Eostar Kamala with Fearless Love.

Call 482-4132 for more information.

Ashland's Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s 2005 labyrinth walk.