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Reflections on Labyrinths


I Walk in my Labyrinth of Stone

by Mer

I walk in my labyrinth of stone. Spiraling in. Out. In again. I walk rainy afternoons, the stones wet, their colors brilliant. Midnight under the full moon, the stones luminous. Early morning, myself sleepy and damp with dew. But mostly I walk at sunset, a break from my deskwork. Often my mind spins with inner chatter, so that it takes a full round, or two, or three to remember to breathe. Let go. Ground. Calm. Watching the sunset colors, singing goodnight to the sun. Watching the new crescent moon appear in the west from the sun's glare. Singing to the moon. Watching the change of light, from blueness to gloaming. Watching the planets appear and the stars deepen, learning their names and patterns as they twirl through the seasons. Walking in circles: in, out, in, out. Feeling the center, the navel of the world. Connected. Earth and stars, inhale and exhale, walk in, walk out.

There I have murmured uncountable prayers. Chanted and sung. Purified. Energized chakras. Told secrets to the stones. Mourned my dead. Considered issues with the living. Gathered wisdom like dandelion puffs. Cast the occasional spell. Practiced parts I would do at the next big community ritual. Talked to Her. Made up songs. Worked out problems of the day's writing. Left offerings and flowers on the two center stones: the womb and phallus rocks. Each time, I walk in circles, feeling the spirits of the land, of the rocks themselves. The presence of Goddess and God, of the Otherworlds. Thankful. I hear the ocean crashing distantly, hear the wind caress the dried grasses. Curious birds sometimes fly overhead: ravens, hawks, flocks of swirling swallows, a rare owl. Usually I'm alone. Or perhaps my two cats come out to join me, hanging out on the pathways, ears alert, waiting until I'm done and it's suppertime.

Each Rock is a Jewel

Each rock is a jewel. Each rock is alive. Sparklers of mica. Green volcanic glass in brushed patterns. Jade serpentine. White quartz. Black obsidian. Red jasper. Blue granite. Many I have no names for. Rounded from years of running water, or squared new from the land. They have bands, veins, swirls of color, fingers of otherness branching through them. There is wonder in how they formed, slowly in sediment, or abruptly in great heat. What would they whisper of time and patience, if I had ears to hear? These jewels come from the creek. I arrived there with large plastic crates and canvas bags. So much beauty in that place, where fresh new water rushes down to a hidden sea. Shimmering alder trees. Bright wildflowers. Paw prints of a mountain lion. Nettles that demand awareness. Music of water against stone. It was not a chore to gather rocks, but a joy. Like a child playing. Like an elderly priestess lost in rapture. I asked each rock: "Would you like to come with me? I promise you a place of honor." A few stayed behind; most wanted to come. Lugged one by one, crate by crate, to the waiting VW. Sometimes friends helped. More often I worked alone. Meditation.

I made my labyrinth out in the far meadow, in the hills by the ocean. Hills that are green in the winter, gold in the summer. Overhead, a huge sky. An enchanted place. I prayed and sang and whispered to the spirits here. I felt heard.


The Labyrinth at Vermont Witchcamp

By Angela Magara

I step onto the rock that marks the mouth of our labyrinth at Vermont Witchcamp. It lies before me, an interesting shape, folding and turning back upon itself. Ahead and behind are the other people in Earth path pacing the loops of its shape. I drop my consciousness from my head into my belly and step onto the path.

That summer, the labyrinth re-connected me with my body and its wisdom - my wisdom. The discovery I made, walking the labyrinth day after day, was that it and my body were having a conversation. I could not, with my mind, understand the language of the Earth. But as I walked my body understood. Each walk through the coils of the labyrinth empowered and enlivened me.

I came to understand that my wisdom lay in my body and in that body's open connection to the Earth body. It speaks through the countless cells of my body which hold the essence of the water and air, fire and earth which have formed this material manifestation throughout its existence. Walking the labyrinth, anchored in time and place, I can access that accumulated wisdom for my life, my art, and my community. Anchored and grounded, I can be admitted to the source of all I need.


Direct Action Labyrinths

by Rain

After a series of amazing experiences in the last six months I have come to the conclusion that every activist can use a labyrinth and the more of them we make the better off we will be.

Temporary labyrinths can be made anywhere. On the back of your hand, on asphalt with chalk, on grass with flour or cornmeal, in the sand with your hands. Pens, chalk and flour are readily available and much easier to explain to a cop than your athame. As a magical activism tool, labyrinths are easy to construct, can't be confiscated and make an immediate difference.

One of the biggest challenges we face as direct action activists is staying grounded and in the realm of the possible in the midst of police and other terrors. When we drew labyrinths in Seattle, both downtown before the action, and at an intersection during the protest, I could feel the energy shift, become more grounded. I could feel myself reconnect to the magical, to the possible, in the midst of tension and expectation. Each time a person walked the labyrinth, I could taste the change in the quality of the air, see the difference in the way we held our bodies, and hear the clarification in the tone of the singing. During these experiences, I did not think about the seven chakras. I walked to shift energy, to ground and connect, and got it every time.

On Earth Day a group of us drew a flour labyrinth in a San Francisco park. The labyrinth reaches across the dimensions and as I entered the labyrinth the world melted away, and yet I was deeply connected to land I had never walked, to which I had no previous relationship. We can use this tool to make a place for ourselves, and change that place wherever we are. So throw some chalk in your bag on the way to the next protest and build a labyrinth. You won't regret it.


Initiation

by Selchie

My first step on this path occurred four years ago at summer solstice. A group had gathered to prepare for the initiation of a friend's labyrinth. Mowed into the meadow on her land was the eleven-turn pattern of Chartres.

That afternoon we set candles at each turn to light our way that evening. As the harpist practiced a few tunes I took a practice walk. Circling until I felt called to enter, I immediately noticed the shift in energy. The journey through to the centre felt removed from time and place. There were moments when I was sure I was almost there, others when I wondered if I would ever arrive. I walked noticing these shifts in myself. I spent time in the middle allowing the feelings of centre and grounding to deepen.

Moving to the outward journey I slowly returned to the world outside the labyrinth. I had entered with a question and come out with so much more than an answer.

That evening I returned; excitedly anticipating the candlelight walk, wondering what this experience would hold. An amazing display of thunder and lightning made it unsafe to walk the labyrinth. Some returned the next night but I was not among them.

Since then I have had many opportunities to work with this magical tool. Large cloth labyrinths in both the eleven- and seven-turn patterns work well indoors. I was delighted upon arriving at Vermont Camp to find the labyrinth there.

I have also created lap labyrinths. With eyes closed and tracing with the index finger of my non-dominant hand, this is an excellent way to move into a meditative state. Each journey is unique and each the same, for I take my initiatory walk with me.


Nowhere Fast

by Beth Carlson

The Moon lights the icy Labyrinth's paths.

My boots kick broken shards of ice covered grass.

I hear the brittle skitter across the frozen expanse.

Help me find my way.

The labyrinth always brings me back to where I started.

Perhaps it is the Journey.

So They say.

There may be something, at least, in taking the time to go nowhere.

And I try, (this is the hard part), not to go nowhere too fast.


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