Introducing AIHT's Newest Faculty Member
“Bringing All of Me to Work Each Day”
A nursing, education, and counseling career are all bright colored
threads in Annette Reynolds’ life tapestry—as are single parenting,
grand parenting, and serving as an interfaith chaplain.
In 1992 she reinvented her professional world, embarking on a
journey of rebalance and reconnection. As her career transitioned from clinical
treatment toward the art of healing, a cosmic shift happened in 1994. Annette’s
touchstone was actually a swirling of stones, outlining a grassy circular path.
“On an artists’ pilgrimage to Glastonbury in southwest
England, home of the legendary Isle of Avalon, a mountainous labyrinth beckoned.
Our processional footpath wound upward, inward, 2.5 hours through misty echoes
of distant drumming, to a sacred center. That night, aglow beneath a full moon,
I felt mesmerized by the piercing stars in an inky-black sky."
MPS, RN, ATR-BC
Through presentations for the Omega
Institute, American Art Therapy Association (through which she is board-certified),
Journey into Wholeness, Inc., and many others, Annette Reynolds nurtures creative
expression by intentionally co-facilitating sacred spaces—welcoming in the
artistic rituals of singing, drawing mandalas, drumming and dance.
After walking in silent circles, her tapestry of life would soon
unfurl—glistening like a mysterious magic carpet. How do you know when you
have had a spiritual encounter within a labyrinth? Sometimes through vivid dreams,
energetic shifts, sharp confrontations, or a gradually arriving cosmic “ah-ha”
in the days ahead.
“One morning I was startled awake. I stepped outside with
a sack of wheat flour and started circling my backyard. Next came white flour,
oatmeal, corn meal, and cereals, cascading into crunchy pathways for a labyrinth
I had drawn in my mind.
“Exhausted, I walked to the center and wept as the noonday
sun in my ‘earthen bakery’ attracted a communal feast for birds, butterflies,
and my little dog. As if in a swirling vision of evolution, I recalled the kind
face of saints who were known to see beauty where others could not. The labyrinth
held me like a womb; I felt transformed.”
Annette created a stable footing for change, having completed
two art therapy internships and a Masters of Professional Studies in Brooklyn.
In 1995 she initiated a statewide labyrinth project and by 1998 she served as
a co-founding board member of The Labyrinth Society, an international organization
that is “midwifing” the modern rebirth of an ancient healing tool.
She has personally co-created numerous ceremonial and everyday
labyrinths: some with an earthen platform, edged with flag stones, feathers, landscaped
with flowers, or bordered with billowy fabric; others, meticulously painted on
durable canvas or hand-stitched, quilted, and portable. Often as temporal swirls
in an open field or on a sandy beach, some disappear with the weather and yet
continue to touch the heart, as living portals in the mind’s eye.
Many AIHT students recognize this image from the cover
of their Exploring the Labyrinth textbook. Our school now welcomes the
artist herself into our wider-rippling learning circle.
Traveling as a presenter, pilgrim, and volunteer, Annette has
worked at Chartres Cathedral in France, with Mother Teresa in India, facilitated
workshops and humanitarian aid in Russia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Bosnia,
and West Africa. Her work through service is multidimensional, weaving together
the physical, emotional, and spiritual.
“To me, the labyrinth is a synthesis of every consciousness
raising movement with which I have been involved: from the Human Potential movement
to Civil Rights, Peace, Environment, Human Rights, and Women’s Spirituality.
“The labyrinth movement connects me to an ever-expanding
global consciousness raising circle with a spiritual center. As I walk the labyrinth,
I am changed. This relationship mirrors the evolving stages in my own life. My
intention is to align my actions with the vision of my heart and spirit.
“As a faculty advisor with AIHT,” she concludes,
“it’s wonderful to feel that I can bring all of me to work each day.”