Solstice News - Welcoming Mary Reynolds: We are The Ark + Walking the Labyrinth


Dear Blazers of Trails

Just a week to go to our inaugural uncivilised summer school and everything is coming full circle. Solstice is drawing close and I am reminded of some significant turning points in my life as we prepare to host you at this one day ReWilding experience. Some of these turning points are quite literal and involve a series of personal pilgrimages to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Chartres Cathedral in France to walk the labyrinth. Another turning point was watching Mary Reynolds TED Talk in 2016. Her talk ‘The Garden Awakening’ transported me back to my native roots in Tipperary and the aliveness of the land that nourished and supported me as I was growing up there. Her passionate words reminded me of the saving grace of nature and a poem I loved about trees. Her compelling clarion call reinforces our powerful connection with the land. She reminds us that the plants and the land are an integral part of our family and that we too are part of their family. Drawing inspiration from long-forgotten Irish ways of working with land, Mary looks at land as a gift and a responsibility. She is the founder of We are the Ark whose rewilding mission is to weave a patchwork quilt of safe havens for Nature globally, in our gardens in our gardens, schools, public spaces and beyond…

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.


So I am really excited to add nature activist Mary Reynolds and a special Walking the Labyrinth experience to our Solstice experience at Orlagh Estate on June 22.

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Walking the Labyrinth       

Throughout history labyrinths have served as representations of journeys into the sacred. The labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in many cultures since ancient times and in religious traditions in various forms around the world since the fourth century. Entering the serpentine path of a labyrinth symbolises a journey to a predetermined destination (such as a pilgrimage to a holy site), or the journey through life from birth to spiritual awakening to death. A labyrinth is not a maze. It has no blind alleys or dead ends. The path twists and turns back on itself many times before reaching the centre. Once at the centre, there is only one way back out. Labyrinths are a roundabout way of opening the senses and finding inner peace.

Walking the labyrinth is a practice that quiets the mind, opens the heart and grounds the body. We are delighted to offer this experience at Solstice with a beautiful labyrinth gifted to us for the occasion by Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop. Ellen is the Guardian Chieftain of the O'Malley Clan and direct descendant of Grace O'Malley (Granuaile) Ireland's pirate queen. She is also the Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland. By walking her beautiful replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, we will be rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition.

We are the Ark

Mary Reynolds is a reformed Irish landscape designer, bestselling author of  ‘The Garden Awakening , nature activist and founder of We are the Ark.  Director Vivienne De Courcy has made a movie – Dare to be Wild – about Mary’s Chelsea Gold Medal winning adventures. Mary is a proud patron of Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (WRI) and strives to do as much as she can to re-educate people how to live in harmony with nature in their own patch of land – To become Guardians rather than Gardeners. The Ark is a not for profit rewilding movement empowering people to be part of the solution to the climate and biodiversity crisis we are in. Mary will be leading a workshop on We are the Ark at Solstice on June 22.

You can watch Mary’s inspirational Ted Talk below.


For more information and booking details on Solstice and our June Moon Medicine gathering this Sunday June 16 at Knox Hall in Monkstown please visit upcoming events on our website here

Thank you for travelling with us, we hope to blaze trails with you in the near future….


Kathy xox

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