Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Labyrinth and Rock Wall, Fredericton

A Labyrinth is based on a unicursal pattern with a single unbranching path leading to the centre – you can’t get lost in it, as there is only one way in and the same exit out.  A Maze has many branching multi-cursal patterns with dead-ends or alternative routes that may be taken – you can get lost in them.  Labyrinth can be drawn in a simple three-path pattern, the classical seven-path pattern dating from before 430 BC, or the larger eleven-path pattern as found in the cathedral at Chartres, France.  Labyrinths have on various occasions been used in Christian tradition as a part of worship.  In medieval times, labyrinths began to appear on church walls and floors around 1000 C.E.

I have walked a few of these, and decided to build a seven-path labyrinth around the rocks in our back yard in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

This is a view of the area before I began digging in 2005.

As I levelled the earth, many large rocks began to turn up.  They most likely had been cleared from the farm fields beyond, possibly as early as the 17th century when the Acadians occupied this part of New Brunswick.  I used these to build a simple stacked standing rock wall to enclose the space, with a single path entrance which I dubbed the "Roman Road".

As the idea for the Labyrinth took shape, it became necessary to build a second entrance to the site, so the wall was rearranged as needed – a few times, to be honest.

Once I had the seven-path pattern laid out, I began to line it with rocks.


With the outline in place, I began to lay flat stones to walk on in between the border stones.

I added stone steps and slate signs to identify the entrances to the Labryinth and the Roman Road.

View of the exit from the Roman road to the farm field to the West.

Over the years, the wall and labyrinth have been modified; a marble slab with an intricate design was provided by an Army friend who also provided a stone from a Roman Road in Syria to make it a real one. 

Our dog Chloe guarded the Roman Road more often than not.

The rock wall at the rear of the complex catches the sunset with great colours.

The rock wall viewed from our back deck.

My brother Dale provided the iron dragon, which I initially named Gorm den Gammel (Old Gorm), the first King of Denmark.  Our Chinese neighbours advised that their name for a dragon is “Long”, so I revised his name to “Long Gorm”.  There are two entrances and three exits from the Labyrinth enclosure, and Long Gorm keeps watch on the centre exit.

I eventually made room for rows of plants and flowers, lining the route with white quartz, and added a silver ball.

My mother (Beatrice) found a huge chunk of quartz on our family farm near Lakeville, 135 km North of us, and brought it back to her house with my father (Aage)'s tractor mounted fork lift.  It likely weighs more than 250 lbs.  She thought it would brighten up the path to the Labyrinth and with my brother Dale's help, we got it into my car and moved it to a fine place in the garden in front of the Labyrinth entrance.

Lilies and hosta added some colour.

Rhododenron at the entrance to the Roman Road.

The lilies give the appearance of sea anemones in the bright in the morning sunlight.

A quartz Inukshuk keeps watch over the project.

And of course, lawn chairs to make the most of enjoying an evening in the garden.

View from the Labyrinth looking East.


View of the Labyrinth looking North from the centre exit, where the path joins with the Roman Road.

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, it has been most interesting watching the labyrinth through the seasonal changes.  Keep an eye on this page for updates.

Each spring I mark the spots where plants are beginning to show (and to alert visitors not to walk on them).

View from our deck - one of those things we enjoy in our retirement.

Spring 2014.

Overhead view of the Labyrinth from a ladder, June 2014.