Ashland’s Sacred Walk to the New Year returns

Labryrinth walkers make their way along the path at the Sacred Walk to New Year in 2012.
December 29, 2022

Free community event starts Saturday afternoon, resumes during the day Sunday

Ashland’s 24th Community Labyrinth Walk to New Year returns this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, in Wesley Hall at Ashland First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main St., Ashland. The free, public event runs from 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, through 1 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, then resumes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1.

“This remarkable community event arose in 1999 amid the world-wide concern about Y2K,” according to labyrinth leader Elizabeth Austin. “Then, as now, it is co-created by volunteers: musicians, artists, sacred space designers, ‘labyrinth angels,’ plus the many people who choose to include the Sacred Walk in their turn-of-the-year celebrations. Then as now, it offers an oasis of peace and beauty to reflect on the end of what has been and the beginning of what will be. After two years of online walks during COVID, we are delighted to resume this beloved tradition in-person! In this sacred space everyone is invited to express and enjoy the values of peace, diversity, inclusivity, and personal freedom. In consideration of everyone, masks are optional and recommended.”

Community unfurling of the labyrinth

The public is invited to participate in the unfurling of the labyrinth from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, in Wesley Hall. Austin, a professionally trained labyrinth facilitator and owner of the portable canvas, provides this opportunity to learn about labyrinths and to assist in the unfolding of the three-piece, four-quadrant, 110-pound canvas replica of the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France. 


Musicians are scheduled to play from 3:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until into the wee hour of New Year’s Day, then again starting from 11 a.m. Sunday, New Year’s Day, until the Temple Dancers and Peter Stone on the harmonium begin at 4 p.m., followed by a closing ceremony with Austin and her team. For a full schedule, click here.

Special features

Traditionally, Ashland’s Sacred Walk to the New Year has featured altars dedicated to the four directions as well as the divine feminine and the divine masculine. This year there will be two additional altars: one honoring Childhood, and an interactive altar honoring Community. Members of the public are invited to contribute small objects, pictures, and items from nature to adorn the Community altar and enrich the celebration of the community participants create together.

Dorita Borgeson will present a special program for children at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

Everyone is welcome and the labyrinth walk is free to all; donations are welcome.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Austin by phone 541-601-8435 or email

Videos on Facebook

Go to the walk’s Facebook page to view videos created by Media Creative Cassandra Wass: “The History of the Sacred Walk,” “Unfurling of the Labyrinth,” “Temple Dancers” and “Sacred Altars.” You can also experience a online meditation video, “Virtual Labyrinth Walk,” created by Cassandra Wass on Ashland’s outdoor Trinity Garden Labyrinth.

Email Executive Editor Bert Etling at or call or text him at 541-631-1313.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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