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Walk to the End of the World: Labyrinth Walk and Hike to the Cave of Kelpius

Join us on a full moon evening as we follow in the footsteps of a fabled mystic monk.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022


3:00pm - 6:00pm


Hermitage Mansion
700 Hermit Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19128

Join us on a full moon evening as we follow in the footsteps of a fabled mystic monk of the Wissahickon named Johannes Kelpius. The mystical guru arrived in newly-founded, religiously tolerant Philadelphia from Germany in 1694 and chose the wild and beautiful Wissahickon as the best place to await the end of the world. His group of mystics became known as “The Hermits of the Wissahickon,” “The Society of the Woman in the Wilderness” or the “Mystic Brotherhood,” although today they would be dismissed as a doomsday cult.

We’ll begin the evening with a labyrinth making and walking meditation workshop on the grounds of the Hermitage Mansion, led by Athena Dugan, Philadelphia representative of The Labyrinth Society. We don’t know if Kelpius participated in this ancient practice, but labyrinth walking strongly connects to the cosmos, astronomy, and spiritual meditation favored by Kelpius. Athena will teach you the history and techniques of labyrinth making. Attendees will work together to make and walk an actual labyrinth in the grass!

Next, hike leader Brad Maule will lead the group on a moonlit exploration of the Wissahickon wilderness, culminating with a visit to the so-called “Kelpius Cave” hidden off a trail. This cave is located near the site of what was believed to be Kelpius’s settlement.

The event is organized in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. For more background information about Kelpius, we recommend registering for their talk: “The End of the World: Johannes Kelpius’ Beliefs and Cosmology” on Thursday, August 4 at 6:30 PM

Pay what you can – $15, $20, or $25 [Not sure what to pay? Please refer to this Sliding Scale Pricing FAQ for additional info.]

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS: If Philadelphia’s parks make a difference in your life – consider becoming a member of Fairmount Park Conservancy and help ensure that Philadelphia’s parks are enhanced for generations to come. PLUS members register first for events and enjoy discounts on park experiences including Treetop Quest, Shofuso and more!


  • Estimated distance: 2 miles, level: moderate, terrain: hilly trails
  • Tools and equipment for a labyrinth making will be provided on site
  • Please dress according to weather conditions.
  • Bring water and a snack.
  • Bring bug spray.
  • Appropriate for adults & mature adolescents (minors must be ticketed and accompanied by a guardian)
  • We will use moonlight whenever possible, but for portions of the trail, we recommend bringing a flashlight, headlamp, or fully charged smartphone.
  • There are bathrooms available at the beginning and end of the hike if absolutely necessary

There is plenty of free parking in the park. As always, NEVER leave valuables in your car!

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: By registering for this event you are agreeing to follow ALL of these protocols:

  • This event has limited capacity. Please only register if you fully intend to attend and let us know if you need to cancel ASAP.
  • Participants must maintain 6 feet of distance from one another during the event.
  • Please bring a mask. We encourage you to wear it if you’re in proximity to others.
  • If you or anyone in your household are exhibiting COVID-19 systems, please stay home.

Athena Dugan, labyrinth creatrix, makes labyrinths and walks them too. She is a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator and is the Volunteer Coordinator and Regional Representative for the Labyrinth Society. She also makes Chakra jewelry and accessories. Athena facilitates online finger Labyrinth walk meditations and is the podcast host of blog talk, LIVING LABYRINTHS.

Brad Maule is a photographer and writer with a focused eye on Philadelphia’s environment, both manmade and natural. He lives in Wissahickon, the part of Roxborough under Kelpius’ long shadow. 

In the event of rain, clouds, or severe conditions, the event will be postponed until the following day Thursday, August 11. If conditions persist, the event will be canceled and attendees are eligible for a full refund.