It started with just one word…”labyrinth”
I was drifting off to sleep, in that liminal space between wakefulness and that delicious surrender to sleep, when I heard it “Labyrinth!”
I had been having a late-night ‘messenger’ online talk with my partner-in-paganism, Willow Moon. She was on a mission to learn about Cerridwen, and all things Mabinogion. In my role as friend and sounding board, I had been doing some research too, but with a Celtic ancestry, that was no hardship.
As Cerridwen’s legend is set in Bala Lake, we decided to arrange a retreat in Bala. I had found a great location (we were all broke) of a caravan on a farm. Two nights for the grand sum of £90 – for 6 of us! It would be really cosy and thank goodness we’re all good friends!
Eventually – as you do with good friends- Willow and I finished our online nattering around 1am… which is when Cerridwen came calling.. “labyrinth!!!!”
It was so unexpected and random, that I gave up sleep, drowsily decided that I had to see what was up. I came downstairs, fired up the laptop and searched.. “Cerridwen and labyrinth”.
An image came up on the screen of a beautiful piece of artwork. The artist was based in Bala – wow, synchronicity! And so I began reading about labyrinths. The artist was a lady called Kate Monkman. There and then I messaged her. Kate and I talked over the next couple of weeks. She took me to see a beautiful stone circle, high above Bala – a magical experience.
So…labyrinth… a magical, mystical and ancient symbol. I bought a book from Amazon and became absorbed in this powerful tool.
Labyrinths can be used for meditation, for healing, for contemplation. I got a strong desire to walk one, but a walking labyrinth is huge! I have a little house, and a tiny garden. There, on the cover of the book was the answer – a photo of the author, walking a labyrinth…on a beach. I am so blessed to live near the coast – I have LOADS of HUGE beaches!
Armed with a picture of a labyrinth and instructions I’d gained from the internet (what on earth did we do before Google? – oh yes, I remember…the shame of facing the librarian with a ‘late fine’ again!….) I went down to the sea.
That first time, I stood on New Brighton beach, next to the old Napoleonic fort. My youngest daughter, quite amused and perplexed. I grabbed a sturdy piece of driftwood and started to draw. A couple of wrong turns, but I eventually worked it out. I felt like I’d completed a mathematical puzzle! Myself and my daughter’s puppy walked the labyrinth. It worked! I couldn’t believe it!
And thereby was the first lesson from the labyrinth….TRUST. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth will take you to it’s heart, it’s womb. There are no wrong turns, nothing to trick you. Follow the path in and follow it out. For a control freak like me, that was a big thing. Let go and let God/dess.
Since that first time, I have drawn labyrinths on cloths, run workshops and given talks, hosted a labyrinth Walk for Peace on World Labyrinth Day, taught people how to simply and easily draw a labyrinth…and fallen in love with the power and magic that comes from this gift from the divine. I am constantly amazed by the impact it can have on people.
So find one – in a cathedral, park, garden, or ancient monument…. Or create one (you’ll find it’s called ‘birthing’ a labyrinth for a reason). Ask the spirits of place for permission and help before you start – and create your own magic.
After years and years of searching for my ‘path’ in paganism, I have now found it – with a lot of help from the ancient paths of the labyrinth.