Sunday, April 12, 2009

Results of Research at Salt Lake City - 11 April 2009

I completed the census for Turnworth Parish Dorset from 1841 to 1911 although I am missing 25 names for 1911. There were 128 people listed on the Census and I only found 103 thus far. I will be submitting this file to the OPC Dorset webpages for Turnworth once I have proofread them and the poor law records. I still need to look at the Parish Records, draw out the militia information for Turnworth and select pictures. I have a number of gravestone pictures including my 2x great grandparents. I will see what other information I may have for Turnworth to add in. I seldom have a request for Winterborne Clenstone as everything is on line. Eventually I hope to do that with all of my parishes for which I am online parish clerk. It is a slow process.

Today I shall return to the images from Salt Lake City as I again became distracted doing the Census extraction for Turnworth Dorset. However, it is Easter and we have company coming for dinner so perhaps only just a brief glance to plan tomorrow.

Saturday evening found my husband and I at Church sharing a Labyrinth Service with about 50 other people. The New Fire was lit in the Great Porch where we all gathered waiting for the lighting of the Paschal Candle. Slowly the sun was sinking into the west and from our windows we could see the beginnings of what would be a glorious sunset on Holy Saturday as we welcomed in the new day in Jewish tradition which begins at sundown. Our Easter Journey was about to begin.

Our leader began the Labyrinth Litany and the Dean lit the Paschal Candle and we followed him into the Great Hall where our Labyrinth had been prepared in the style of Chartres Cathedral in France. Slowly the Dean entered the Labyrinth carrying the Paschal Candle and made his way to the centre where he would then hold the Candle high waiting for each of those present to work their way around the Labyrinth to light their candles from the Paschal Candle. My turn came and I slipped off my shoes, walking the Labyrinth is a sacred moment for me and as I reached each lighted turn I remembered those who had passed on before me reciting a Hail Mary at each. Beginning with the most recent, my sister in law, my brother, my mother, my mother in law, my brother in law, my father, my grandfather in law, my grandmother, my grandfather and then those that I had not known in life my grandmother, my grandfather, my great grandparents until I reached the centre - the New Jerusalem. Another Hail Mary as I waited a few moments in the centre and then with my lit candle - New Fire - in my hands I followed the Labyrinth back out again remembering the Living starting with Jesus Christ and then my family members - my husband, my daughters and then other relatives as I traveled my journey back to the beginning of the Labyrinth. Reaching the beginning I turned to embrace the New Light once again from afar.

When the last of the faithful had lit their Candle, the Dean carrying the Paschal Candle himself retraced his footsteps back to the opening of the Labyrinth and we followed the Paschal Candle back through the Great Porch and into the Sanctuary itself where our Service continued with prayer and readings. We passed the Peace and then in darkness departed for our homes. As we left the Church the sky now a velvety dark blue still had a hint of the crimson sunset on the horizon from nearly an hour earlier.

The experience of the Labyrinth on the eve before Easter proved to be as wondrous as the Great Vigil that we normally worship.

The Labyrinth has an ancient history dating back to the Bronze Age with the Labyrinth at Knossos. Labyrinth comes from the word labrys, referring to a double, or two-bladed, axe. Its representation had religious and probably magical significance. It was used throughout the Mycenaean world as an apotropaic symbol; that is, the presence of the symbol on an object would prevent it from being "killed." The modern meaning of labyrinth as a twisting maze is based on this earlier story.

In Christian times the Labyrinth emerged as a means of Christian worship to replace the Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands because it became very dangerous and many people could not make the long trip anyway. One of the most famous is the Labyrinth at Chartres France in the entrance way to the Cathedral. Here the faithful could follow the path to the centre which was considered the New Jerusalem. Last evening our group, using a similarly marked path, retraced the footsteps of the pilgrims at Chartres.

I wonder if Stonehenge was a Labyrinth at one time. When we visited there nearly a year ago, I felt an oldness there that exceeded the timelessness that I felt when we visited the Pantheon in Rome (2006 years old). The history that exists within that site is just so long. Because I have ancestors from that part of Wiltshire I wonder if some of them, like myself, gazed upon those stones and felt the life in the stone at the entrance that we were permitted to touch. What a story those stones could tell if ever there was a way to understand them from a time perspective that didn't include destroying them to find out. The rain continues to wash them clean of anything that would help us to establish a time pattern but the ground beneath them may help to tell the story.

1 comment:

Hill said...

I wanted to express the necessity of being prepared before going to do research there. The need to follow your plans when you do start researching as there is just so much material there to look at that you can easily become distracted. Having goals in mind helps to keep you focused and, I think, yields you better results for the overall time spent there.
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