One of my dearest friends started hosting and facilitating full moon labyrinth walks at a nearby Unitarian church nearly two years ago. I have been to that outdoor labyrinth once, seen the one she drew at one of our festivals, and been welcome to try the one at Twilight Covening both years I’ve been. I never accepted.
Last night she facilitated an indoor walk, with an 11-circuit canvas replica. I promised to help with setup and teardown, so Kit and I arrived early. I had taken the collar with me because He said to, and sat near the entrance for a very long while. I was curious, and wanted to walk, but there were a lot of people in last night, and the passways were narrow. My social anxiety was up last night, too – not helpful.
You will have to walk. He [Kit] cannot be in the labyrinth when you do.
The instruction wasn’t a surprise. It was a bit of a relief, actually; it meant I could wait until the paths cleared out a little bit. Kit finished his walk, and I waited. Our friend went through and out, and I waited. A number of people left all at once, and I could feel Him prodding. I moved to stand and saw someone else walking towards the entrance, so I waited.
Let her reach the fifth turn. Then you must go, or you will not be pleased.
Okay. Rather do the walk than face any more consequences at the moment. I finally stood at the time dictated, reset the collar in my hands, and walked to the entrance. Our friend welcomed me into the labyrinth, and I began to walk.
The paths were indeed narrow, and I had a distinct feeling that I took up too much space. That’s your own thought, was the rebuke. You occupy the space you do; it is what it is. Certainly true. Also true was the fact that I felt clumsy and tense and poorly centered. Having my hands occupied wasn’t helping. Relax, He kept telling me. Slow down. This is not a race. I would do so, then I would tense up again. Every time I tensed, I felt dizzy and unbalanced, and had to regain my balance over and over. Ground. Feel the ground. Stop thinking so much.
I reset my gait, slowing myself down. Still I was having trouble. I changed my step again, trying to smooth myself out, slow myself down, relax. I fought the entire way to the center to regain my balance with limited success.
I hesitated at the center, knowing that He waited there. Finally I walked in, bowed to the central candle, and took my seat in the space He assigned. Once I had settled, He asked me one question.
Do you want this?
Do I want this? Do I want to follow this path I’m walking down, towards my Ordeal, towards His service? Do I want the Work that will be involved; do I want Him in my life?
I whispered my answer to the air. “Yes, Love*, I do.”
Sit with Me.
It was less of a struggle than I thought to keep my seat. No cushion, cold floor, stiff self. I struggled as usual to sit straight, but it still hurt far less than I expected. I don’t know how long I was there; He spoke and touched the entire time. A part of me wanted to wait until everyone else had left the labyrinth – there were only two others – but that wasn’t going to be an option. I finally rose, very slowly, as the cold had stiffened my knees and ankles. Slowly, slowly.
I stood there for a time, eyes closed, centering, anxious. I knew that leaving the center would mean another step closer to Ordeal. (Wanting this path doesn’t ease the fear of what’s coming, after all.) Another friend reached the center, and He prodded me to leave. It took a couple of false starts before I could bring myself to leave.
At the first turn, He bade me stop. We’re going to do something, He said. At every turn, you must tell Me one thing you love about Me.
This was something I had wracked my brain about early on, but had put aside. I love Him, yes, but what about Him do I love? I’d never answered that question for myself, and now He was asking me to answer it. I don’t remember all my answers, but the exercise continued through the rest of the walk. As it continued, it turned into a game; I would think of something before I got to the next turn, so He finally dictated that I had to wait until he asked before I could answer. Some of my answers surprised me.
Little Bird, why do you love Me? Your bloodthirst.
Little Bird, why do you love Me? Your mercy.
Little Bird, why do you love Me? Your hunger.
Little Bird, why do you love Me? Your gentleness.
Little Bird, why do you love Me? Your death.
Little Bird, why do you love Me? Your life.
And so it continued, round and round, until I reached the end. (Eleven circuits, by the way, does not mean eleven turns. There are a lot more than that.) He stopped me and asked a slightly different question before I could step out.
Little Bird, do you love Me?
Yes, Love*, I do.
Immediately the collar in my hands took on new weight. Out of the labyrinth, to my Kit, who reached out to me and touched anahata. I later took a piece of paper and a colored pencil and started to draw – nothing complex, just whatever came to mind. It wasn’t long before the others were finished; some photos were taken, then we broke down the labyrinth and headed home.
It was needed. It was dearly needed. I can’t thank my friends enough for being there, facilitating, making a safe space for this kind of Work.
This is the labyrinth as it was last night. If you have a chance to stop by Frederick, MD, stop by the Unitarian church. That’s where my dear friend holds the walks and maintains the 9-circuit outdoor labyrinth.
*I don’t normally call Him this; I have a phrase that is for Him alone, which I have not even shared with Kit.