This is the story of a pathway that was built that was surrounded by synchronicity, sacredness and a vehicle for moving meditation in a spiral tail. You will see why I call it a tail instead of a tale.
One friday evening in July of 2010 I was reading a book called A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink. It's a book that describes how people who predominantly use the right side of their brain are the leaders we need for our future path on the planet. Why? Because we need people who can be creative, see the big picture and be innovative. In short, people who think outside the box.
Toward the end of the book, Dan Pink talked about the use of labyrinths to increase right-brain activity. The goal is to create whole brain thinking in a society of left-brain dominant values.
I remember thinking that I hadn't walked a labyrinth in awhile. It was something I did on a fairly regular basis. I used to drive one hour into Victoria just to walk the labyrinth at the Queenswood Centre and then drive back home. I remembered how I would experience insights, clarity and enhanced creatiity on my walks and how good that would feel.
Then it hit me. With an inhale of excitement I thought, "Hhhh (inhale of excitement), I can build a labyrinth on the property that I live on. There was a space on the property embraced by a circle of tall douglas firs that has been calling for something to be there, a gathering circle of sorts, but what? This was it! A community labyrinth, of course!
I finished reading the book, but didn't give it much more thought and went to bed. The next day I decided to go to the Damali Lavender Festival, something I had wanted to do for a few years but each year something came up. Finally, I was able to go. When I got there, I discovered that they had a labyrinth on the property! What a coincidence! As I walked it I remember wanting to find out how I could talk to the person who had built it. I let the thought go, continued to walk the labyrinth and experienced clarity and insight as I usually do. When I exited the spiralling path, there was a woman at the entrance/exit. I asked her if she knew who had built this labyrinth. She said she had built it. I was excited. I noticed the book I had read the night before was on her display table. I told her what had transpired for me the previous night. We sat down in the gazebo at the side of the labyrinth with our lavender shortbread cookies and lavender lemonade and both marvelled at this this synchronistic turn of events. She gracefully accepted my request for her to come and see the space where I wanted to build a labyrinth.
In less than twelve hours from the time I had the idea of building a labyrinth, I was speaking with a labyrinth builder who was eager to look at the possibility of building one with me.
And so it began. When she came to the property, she commented that she had never seen or felt a more perfect space for a labyrinth. We set a date to begin the build. October 24, 2010.
The building process itself was magical. As we started measuring to lay the grid, the bald eagles started circling overhead just inside the circle of trees that would be embracing the labyrinth. I had never seen this before in the time I had been on the property. There seemed to be a special energy and flow from the very beginning. After the borders of the path had been marked with lime powder, three of us went to the end of the road and partway up the mountain and brought back seven wheelbarrows of shale rock to lay on top of the outline. Then, when the rain washed away the lime powder the borders of the path would be intact. After one session of measuring and laying the outline and about three sessions of hauling and laying rock, the labyrinth was built. Each time we worked on it, it seemed that the eagles circled overhead to supervise. All of it had a sense of the sacred to it each time we worked. And when the labyrinth was built, we could feel an energy in it that held us as we walked.
Over the course of the fall and into the winter, there were a number of community gatherings. Each one felt special, there was an article in the paper, and members of the community started to come and walk it.
But the story didn't end there.
Not long after the labyrinth was built, I showed it to the landlord. In that showing I noticed a funky smell and he noticed an area of land near the labyrinth that was wet. These symptoms revealed that the pipes for the septic field were plugged. Had it not been for the labyrinth, this would not have been discovered until perhaps a later date. In any event, they informed me that they would have to bring in excavating equipment to dig up the area (including the labyrinth) to lay new septic pipes. I didn't mind so much and thought, "Well, I will just build a new labyrinth." However, when I came back from a week away, all the work had been done. The land had been torn up, new pipe had been laid and the area was filled in again. What surprised me was the way it felt and the way I felt. I was as if the land was screaming in pain much the same way as we would be in extreme pain after some kind of deeply invasive surgery. The land seemed devestated and so was I. I sat down and cried with the land.
Over the next few weeks, I 'combed' the ground with a rake to prepare it for the new labyrinth. It felt as if I was combing the ground to sooth it much like brushing someone's hair or stroking someone's back. The land started to feel as if it was calming down, as if it was being soothed. I continued to groom the land, pulling out large broken branches from trees that were sticking up out of the ground, getting help moving large rocks that weren't there before and removing small stones that had appeared. Finally, it was ready for the second build.
On May 20, 2011 the second build happened and it was done in about 2 1/2 hours but it didn't feel the same anymore. It felt lifeless, empty, no energy, no sacredness. I was disturbed and worried. It was slightly off its original centre and the ground was more uneven. What now? Could the energy come back? Would it come back? What would it take?
I continued to groom it, to walk it, to say prayers on it and to invite others to walk it as well. I invited my dear Cree friend, Gord (Circle Dancing Eagle) back from the interior of BC to spend sometime with it as I believed it was he who brought so much of the energy in the first time. I was hoping he could call the energies back so it would be a magical place again.
It is now June 3rd as I write this while sitting in the labyrinth in the sun. I can feel a small return of energy to this place. I think that when I have an opening ceremony inviting members of the community who recognize the sacredness of the place, it will be complete. The sign is ready to go up, the labyrinth cards are available to be handed out, this story is written and now a date can be set to dedicate the labyrinth to the Cowichan Valley Community and anyone else who wants to walk it.
I dedicate this Labyrinth to community.