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Fingers will do the walking at Ashland labyrinth this year

For more than two decades, many Ashland residents have rung in the new year with a labyrinth walk, purposefully navigating a maze-like design as a way to mentally and spiritually realign in preparation for another orbit around the sun.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walkers will navigate a different winding path this year. This year’s walk will be virtual instead of actual, with multiple events planned through the new year, event organizers said.

“It’s important that we continue this the best way we can and stay healthy,” said event organizer Elizabeth Austin. “It took a lot of thought process to put it together. This is such an important event to so many people.”

Austin hopes the new methodology will retain the feeling of past years, even if attendees can’t be together physically.

The series of events starts with a Zoom event, held from 5 to 6:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21 — the winter solstice. Labyrinth walk official Jean Houston and teaching associate Peggy Rubin will lead the Zoom session. A “finger labyrinth walk,” where participants utilize a printed, handheld labyrinth design and navigate the route with their finger, will follow.

“It’s really quite an experience,” Houston sad.

Video presentations about the event’s history will be posted on the event Facebook page, facebook.com/AshlandSacredWalkToNewYear, at noon New Year’s Eve, with event official Cassandra Wass doing a solo walk of the labyrinth. Virtual attendees are invited to post their hopes and dreams to the Facebook page, similar to the 2020 method on New Year’s Day that used post-it notes. Another Zoom broadcast, hosted by Austin, will follow at 11 p.m. A Navajo chant led by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman will follow, with a Jan. 1 video presentation closing it out.

Information on how to sign up for the Dec. 21 Zoom session is online at conta.cc/2Wkcuq0 and on the Facebook page. Sign up information for the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Zooms will be forthcoming.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.

A “finger labyrinth walk,” where participants utilize a printed, handheld labyrinth design and navigate the route with their finger, will be part of Monday's celebration.