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CloudCatcher 2016 Day 4 – Labyrinth Path

Today was bitter-sweet as it was the last session of the Labyrinth Path- WitchCamp is drawing to a close. At the second night ritual we had drunk a sweet potion, filled with beautiful herbs, which had not been finished. We each took a small amount of it this morning, and poured it out onto the land as an offering of gratitude to the Fae and all spirits of place, before dismantling and closing the Faery Gate.

We removed the threshold first, with love and care, before slowly unravelling the adornments, and dismantling the structural pieces. Many of us kept the pieces of ribbon and twine that had been used for the gate for our ongoing work with our allies. We then changed the path of the labyrinth back to its’ original form- the 7 Path, Minoan Labyrinth.

 “We journey the labyrinth in meditative silence. In this silence we listen to the voice of our soul, the voice of the land.” (Path Intent)

We had the opportunity to walk through the labyrinth individually a last time; I felt slightly melancholy, not wanting to give up this beautiful creation that offered so much, but encouraged by these feelings to work with the power of Labyrinths more often in my practice.  I stopped in the centre of the labyrinth and had a moment with the altar, reflecting on the past for days, and feeling thankful. As I walked the path back out again, I looked to the future- bubbling with excitement for the creation of the next labyrinth, whenever that may be, and for my ongoing relationship with the Fae.

 “We journey the labyrinth in community. Together we forge the path of conscious truth. Together we weave our magic.” (Day 4 Intent)

We then held hands and walked the labyrinth as a whole group, eyes open- seeing each other, in meditative silence; Listening to the voices of our souls and the soul of the land.


CloudCatcher 2016 Day 3 – Labyrinth Path

“We dance the labyrinth and the lands with Fae allies at our side, opening new paths, crossing edges that might have been closed before, and closing the doors that no longer serve us” (Day 3 Intent)

Today we had the opportunity to ‘Aspect’ our Fae ally and to be a ‘Tender’ to one of our peers when they did the same. Thibaut lead a detailed discussion on Aspecting and Tending before we began, and after ensuring that we had properly prepared ourselves, we paired off so each person could take a turns in either role.

Prior to Aspecting today, our group had altered the labyrinth path slightly so that we could walk through the ‘human’ gate, and out the Faery gate, into the lands of the Fae. The time spent walking through the labyrinth would be the time in which we were inviting our being to walk with us, in us, or around us.

I took on the role of tender first- My partner communicated to me that they would probably not need much assistance or guidance during their Aspecting; requesting for me just to witness, and carry their water bottle. They also suggested some personal topics to ask them questions about when grounding afterwards.

I hear a call, it comes from far away; I don’t know where it leads, behind the gates of night and day.. (chant)

Last night I had spoken to the ally I’d met first- a darker, more feminine being- and had planned to aspect them in my body, from my ribcage upwards. I was also to bring a red tie-on bracelet that I would put on during my time Aspecting, as a promise, sign, and reminder of the relationship I have and will continue, with both of the allies I spent time with in yesterday’s trance. I didn’t have a red bracelet at camp, so I had to create one this morning before path.

I readied the simple things that help me feel grounded daily, and the things I know have helped after previous experiences Aspecting. I let my tender know where I had my food, cigarettes, my beanie hat, and a water bottle- as well as my intentions for the ritual. When I began to walk the labyrinth, however, I could feel not just one, but both of my allies wanting to be with me. I decided I was okay with this, but renegotiated that my boundary would be that I would only aspect from my shoulders up (no arms).

My senses felt a lot sharper whilst Aspecting, but my eyesight seemed to slightly blur around the edges- like sharp, bright, tunnel vision. My Self felt somewhat disconnected, and the conversations I had with the two beings whirled around my head. I only Aspected for a short time- I know that for me personally, this practice takes quite a toll on my mind and body. I tied my bracelet onto my wrist, we had some laughs and giggles, and I gained some (more!) insights- particularly around things I can do to feel the Fae’s presence, and reminders of the things that kept me joyful in my formative years.

After ‘devoking’ them, I employed my grounding techniques with the support of my Tender, including things like using my name, patting down my body to feel my ‘edges’, and hugging. We then had the opportunity to get into small groups and discuss our experiences in both roles. I find it to be an honour to be a Tender to someone- feels quite intimate to be witnessing someone’s personal experience with a being that is not in this realm. Aspecting is a tool that I find extremely useful, but is also something that wears me out very easily, so I always try my best to keep my time purposeful with intent, so that the experience is fruitful and positive.

Inner Path: Reclaiming Paradise Day 4

After Path on Day 3, I spoke with one of the teachers: about how initially uncomfortable I was at getting undressed in front of others and my feeling that the group agreement had not been met. I expressed that I had felt unsupported when some members of the group used a thick covering for warmth. She spoke of how, no matter what, getting undressed in front of anyone for the first time is likely to be awkward. Such wisdom. I immediately thought: ‘Of course!’ and was consoled. She agreed to speak to those who’d ‘re-covered’ about how I’d felt. She also reminded me that they were on their own journey as I was on mine. This led me to reflect that despite outward appearances others besides myself might still be struggling with nudity.

During the afternoon and evening, I continued to feel raw and vulnerable. Edgy. I quietly sat and breathed. I rarely cry: a skill, now largely superfluous, learned long ago. I needed to cry, but no tears came. I found myself enveloped by love and friendship during this time: a hug, a gently offered hand, a shoulder, more hugs, one or two words of love and support, a light touch, kind eyes and a spontaneous opportunity to sing with another. Peace. Bliss.

Today, as we enter Paradise, we drop our wraps and enter naked. All of us remain this way. I feel totally supported and utterly loved. We are to use body paint to decorate ourselves with brush strokes representing parts of our life journey. We may ask others to paint on us. They may choose to say yes or no to our request. We practise having our request accepted or rejected.

At first, I am horrified at the thought of painting my flesh. My brain screams: “You want me to do what???” In some ways this is more challenging for me than the physical and emotional nakedness. I never write on my skin: not ever. I was so focused on the nudity that I had forgotten the “clothed in skin, wearing our stories, paint seeping into our core” part of the Path description. I ask one teacher to paint on my back. She accepts. I paint on my belly, decolletage, forearms and back of my hands. I am entranced and surprised at the images leaking out of my sub-conscious. Overcoming my distaste for the feeling of paint on flesh has been rewarding. I will do it again.

Our last day in Paradise and we have each brought an offering for ourselves and our companions: a foot massage, face painting, chocolate, chakra cleanse, daisy chain making, hair braiding or combing and so on. Now, we are able to both offer and ask for what we want from the Gifts of Paradise smorgasbord that we have created. We practise kindly accepting or rejecting the offered gifts. We chant and spend the morning in Paradise. Conversation is kept to a minimum. We communicate quietly, sometimes with a few words or a gesture but mostly we sing and hum, enjoying each others’ vulnerability and love.

I feel relaxed and comfortable now. Slowly, I realise that those I felt distant from yesterday are so much closer today: they make an offering which I accept with joy. I bask in the emotional warmth pervading my fellow travellers on this Path.

We go outside and in a private corner of the garden we heat our clay talismans on an enclosed fire (witches are practical people and the Australian bush must be protected). Then, we cast our own spell into the talisman. “What is our heart’s desire?”

We return to the Bower, debrief by ‘checking out’ (much like ‘checking in’ but with an awareness that Path is coming to a close and we are moving out into the world with the wisdom we’ve learned). As we do this, we use wire brushes to clean our dull grey talismans and the beautiful shiny silver core is revealed. A wonderful metaphor for my journey in this Path.

We close circle and return Paradise to beneath the earth.