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A MAGICAL TABLE

Sophia, a beautiful soul who came to an LaA walk at Cadman Plaza near her home in Brooklyn just a little over a year ago sent me today a delightful set of photos of a wonderful initiative that she engaged in earlier in the year…to make a labyrinth table for children.

Sophia explains that she had made a fun playspace under the table with fairy lights, all sorts of buttons and many textured fabrics, which children loved!

Here are a few photos (and I can say from looking at the smiling faces in some others that Sophia shared, that the table was very well liked!).

Thank you Sophia for your inspiring work!

 

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THE LIGHT THAT ALWAYS SHINES

I know that I might be called a fantasist to point such things out, that light glare on a camera lens or some other readily explained phenomenon is surely at work here – but close examination of a photo published on the front cover of this week’s “The Community Voice” newspaper in Sonoma County* reveals a light “portal” a little beyond the way out of the Labyrinth Around America labyrinth. Look again, and what appears as a halo hovers over the head of the young boy who diligently walks around the outer ring, to the right of the picture. On closer inspection still, there appears what stands out for me like a face, benevolently peering down on the leaving walkers, suspended between the two shafts of light of the “portal” (this may not be obvious from the image uploaded here, but I’m not making it up).

“Oh my God, Clive, now you really have disappeared away with the faeries!” “Go easy on the whisky! Stop seeing things before we need to have you taken away!” I hear you say. Well, I’ve probably been set upon that road for a good year or two now. Yes, it’s light glare, I know…but still not insignificant for being picked up by the camera. Could it be that the “portal” offers a gentle nurturing for the children departing the labyrinth and returning to their morning class? Might real angels have been watching over us that day, being as thrilled and enthralled as I and others were to witness the beautiful experiences that played out on the labyrinth? Might there be here pictured another host or holder of the labyrinth, one that always looks on, and who alone knows the secrets of the hearts of all those who come to walk her sacred path? I’m going to think so, whatever others may think!

*Thanks to Robert Grant for a great photo, to Mary-Rita Mc Elroy Williamson for making the contacts for me and sending the article on, and to editor Irene Hilsendager for taking time out of her busy deadline day to meet me, and for her thoughtful and delightfully written article.

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THERE’S A LABYRINTH HERE

There’s a labyrinth here, and there was a physical one represented in this same space until just an hour or so before this picture was taken. I was returning from a walk around the grounds of the Loyola Retreat Center when I took the photo, with my mind focused on other things. But when I passed by, my attention was drawn to this space, and I had a real sense that the labyrinth was still in place, performing it’s energetic work, if invisibly. A creation of my mind and memory, perhaps…or something not quite so barking crazy? I know what I believe.

 

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GOING WITH THE FLOW AT LOYOLA. IS IT POSSIBLE TO LAY OUT A LABYRINTH AT A LABYRINTH GATHERING THAT NOBODY WALKS? OH YES IT IS IN THE STATE WHOSE FORMER SENATOR LIKED TO SAY “YES WE CAN!”

The Labyrinth Around America labyrinth has made what will probably be its last “off grid” outing for this leg of its long journey – at Loyola Retreat and Ecology Campus, Woodstock, IL, the venue for this year’s The Labyrinth Society Gathering.

Following a grey day, the sun shone for its appearance, and the labyrinth felt at home on the moist lawn outside this fabulous center. The cold and clouds returned soon after the labyrinth had been packed back into my rental car.

But no one walked? NO! This was not meant to be, as I’d laid the labyrinth out for some energetic work for the Center, the Society (looking forward to its next 20 years) and beyond.

In truth, one person did ask whether the labyrinth was open for walking, which I suggested was good if they felt led to (though the intention for its presence here was quickly understood).

Here too, the labyrinth was sited for the first time using the Dowsing Rods that came to me following a workshop by the brilliant dowser Marty Cain – powerfully indicating that the labyrinth should be laid out and where.

Close by, the fabulous Sedona redsand “sister” travelling labyrinth of the amazing Janice Lewis had welcomed walkers who’d attended my short presentation earlier in the day.

Along with its two companions on the journey, the final (?) appearance for the labyrinth on this leg, offered me an opportunity for reflection, thanking, and closing, before continuining its journey in its winter home in Pennsylvania, and, God Willing, back on the road with me early next year.

 

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WALK BEFORE YOUR WORK-OUT?

A gym, community center and theatre complex, set in beautiful grounds, was the venue yesterday for the labyrinth’s latest “off grid” manifestation.

The steady flow of folks arriving for exercising (and a few leavers too) at Callinan Sports & Fitness Center, Rohnert Park, CA, took interest in the strange visitor to their grounds. In fact, virtually all stopped by to ask about “that maze-like thing”, and to wish me and the labyrinth well on our journeys.

Oh, and there were a few who walked too…

 

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COME ALONG NICELY

“Come along nicely” was a term much used by an old teacher of mine when I was at elementary (in England, primary) school many years ago. It occurred to me today when each class at University Elementary School, Rohnert Park, CA, came to walk the visiting Labyrinth Around America how nicely everyone (well, nearly) waited their turn to walk, and then largely followed the “human car pool traffic light” system for stepping onto the labyrinth – no small feat, when I think the whole school needed to take their turn before the lunch bell rang!

It was a joy to be made so welcome here in what is an “off-grid” stop for the labyrinth, and to hear about the wonderful work that’s happening – including one class that’s setting about designing labyrinths!

A show of hands from one class when asked “are you going back to class with a smile on your face [after walking]?”, and “did you feel a little calmer than normal just now?” registered virtually a 100% response, if not fully so. I too walked out of the school with a big smile on my face. Thank you, UES!

THANK YOU, DEAR ONES…

This fourth leg of Labyrinth Around America is nearing its end. At least one “off-grid” labyrinth visit awaits before I head back toward Europe, and I’m thrilled that the labyrinth will now be joining me at the The Labyrinth Society Gathering in Illinois this coming weekend*.

I’m very touched and grateful to those very dear ones of you who, tuning in energetically to the backstory of the latest leg (often a difficult and challenging journey, as well as spiritually very tiring), have sent me private messages and often words of real insight, encouragement and wisdom. These have always arrived at the time they are most needed, and I’m lifted to know that you are with me. Thank you too to my wonderful hosts along the route of this journey, and for those who’ve extended love, hospitality, and helpful suggestions to ease my passage. I feel very blessed. Most of all, Mother Gaia and The Great Divine have played an exceptionally big role in offering guidance, reassurance and protection…as, of course, they always do!

I had thought that I would try to share a little of what has felt challenging for me, but after time for private reflection and inner processing (at last – I’ve been with others and sharing a bedroom for the past few weeks), I can barely articulate this for myself, let alone for others, and perhaps only I need to know the details! A brief, constantly changing “note to self” (see picture) is all that I’ve so far managed.

Anyone who’s been on pilgrimage or set course on a spiritual journey will understand and likely have experienced the same times of challenge and self-doubt, which often feels like a depression. Of course, those of us who take this route know that difficult times will and must come. They change us and inform us, at times humble us, but always bring us closer to our true selves.

Welcome them, I say (if only as my energy is recovering), for they teach us much, and carve out a little more of the ego narratives that all too often hold us in their power.

“A Prayer for America”, a new initiative that has been ever more forming for me over the past few weeks, will launch fairly soon. This will be something that everyone can take part in, irrespective of whether you have any religious faith or where you are based. It’s going to be fun, it’s not going to cost any dollars, and it’s going to make a difference. Watch this space!

* This was looking uncertain until two stalwart kindly souls stepped in to help with the labyrinth’s transportation back to Pennsylvania, where it will be making occasional outings throughout the winter.

#APrayerforAmerica

NOT THIS TIME, GRACE

Beautiful labyrinths aren’t always meant to be walked, and even beautiful cathedrals aren’t always meant to be visited. There is a time and a place for everything. This I have learned over time, and I’ve long shied away from being a “tick-list tourist” when visiting new places, and I like the idea of always having a good reason to return to a place, but not assuming that I’ve seen all of the majesties that it has to offer.

The wonderful Chartres labyrinth inside Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, is one recent example where I felt the nudge to “walk on by” this time. This was the very labyrinth where my call to the Labyrinth Around America was confirmed, not to mention where the modern labyrinth movement really took root, and I’ve little doubt that – God willing – I will at some point return again, but not this time.

I have to check my own projection of disappointment here. Grace was one home of labyrinth lovers that I’d approached to see if I might join their occasional morning walks (of course, the labyrinth is always available for walking alone, as is the one outside the cathedral). To date, my phone call and email messages remain unanswered.

There’s probably good reason for this, energetically as well as logistically, and it’s actually been the norm, rather than exception, for my approaches to different venues on this trip to go unanswered. Even the odd labyrinth committee has said “no”, for reasons that may remain unknown to me, while one common response of those who do reply is “we already have a labyrinth.” I nearly always push gently at doors when approaching and don’t keep knocking, but I do confess my disappointment every time I don’t hear back or get what feels for me like a knock-back – my expectations being challenged and a need for my learning and acceptance of possibly very fair “reasons unknown”, I know. And yes, I must be seen by many as being quite a maverick.

Perhaps next time round this one will be. I hope so, in part because of this labyrinth’s vital role in my own discovery of the labyrinth (the individual who brought the labyrinth to my old home city of Brighton&Hove was a regular walker here when he lived in California). Whether or not it is, I won’t give up on coming back to this special place. Just not this time, Grace.

 

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GO BACK!

As I’ve mentioned, I had a sense that it was appropriate to call a pause to this leg of the labyrinth’s journey far sooner and earlier (en route) than I’d expected. This wasn’t a strong “you must do this” direction, but a clear “this is My suggested way, but it’s up to you” one – as was the invitation to take on the journey in the first place. There are a mix of reasons why a continuation to California didn’t seem right on this leg that I may try to articulate later, and some of these had been forming over several weeks.

However, the matter was for me resolved when I walked a labyrinth at Purple Adobe Lavender Farm in Abiquiu, New Mexico, where I held open the question – “where to end this leg?”

On walking around the outer ring of this beautiful labyrinth, I was drawn by two stones at either side of the path that seemed to call me to stop, bend down, and just hold onto them for a moment. With this, came a sense of “pausing”. I continued my journey to the centre of the labyrinth – a little disturbed to see a gathering of dollar note offerings there, but appreciating too that this is one way people feel for making a small sacrifice or offering a gesture of appreciation – then walked without much preoccupying my mind back along the path on which I had come.

Again, without paying deliberate attention or noticeably looking toward the ground, the same two stones beckoned me to pause. And just beyond, I saw another stone on the outer rim of the labyrinth, with thick black marks in the shape of an arrowhead on its face, pointing back toward southern New Mexico, the route for the next leg of the journey which had become clear for me. Tractor marks at the entrance to the labyrinth indicated the same doubling-back when I exited the labyrinth, and the apparent invisibility and then clarity of the smaller labyrinth in photos that I took shortly afterward (see earlier post) also confirmed this routing.

I had a sense that it was right to stop twice with the smaller labyrinth just beyond Abiquiu (just south of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico) – once with the labyrinth marking the direction north and west, and then doubling back a mile or so, as seemed to be prompted by the positioning of the stones that drew me in the labyrinth, to point south and east. So ended this leg of the labyrinth’s long journey.

(AFTERWORD: While this leg ended earlier than I had expected, I do expect that the labyrinth may continue to make “offgrid” stops before resuming the circular course of its “containing” journey).

 

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