Labyrinths in the Sand

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.

Cariad x

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