Today, I have agreed to walk the Labyrinth with my Affinity Group.
We meet outside the room which held the original Bower at this WitchCamp. The Bower is a very special place. It is a place of healing and discussion, focusing on sex and sensuality. It is an intimate place and a place to be intimate. The tools of safe sex practices are always close at hand. Cosent is vital. It was in the Bower at CloudCatcher 2014 that I learned to be skyclad with others. That I reclaimed my birthright to be comfortable in my own naked skin.
On our final day of Path at that Witchcamp two years ago, I proceeded skyclad outside. During trance, I moulded a sigil between my bare hands. I looked down to see a small almond sized piece of clay now a thumb nail size vulva with its own clitoris. As I held it in a blue flame, the small piece of special metal clay became tinged with silver. With alchemy and modern chemistry, it transformed from a dull clay to a whitish grey polymer flecked with silver. I burnished it with fine emery paper until it shone. I forgot about the sigil until two weeks ago: it had fallen through a tiny hole in the bag I take to Path. There it was curled up in the inner lining, waiting to be rediscovered. I’d reached in and picked out what I felt like a pebble: no, indeed, it was the silver sigil returned. Mmm … I’d thought …
The Labyrinth is constructed on a slope. At CloudCatcher, there are nothing but slopes: it is after all an ex-caldera. The rim of an ancient volcano, it’s fairly steep everywhere. I am 20 kg overweight, morbidly obese (as a witch the irony of that death-laden term amuses me) and physically unfit. Walking the Labyrinth is a challenge for me. With my head down, sulking in my obesity, I walk down the slope ankles twisting underneath me.
I look up to see one of my Affinity Group is skyclad. MY first thought is: why didn’t I think of that? My next is: too late. I needed to make that move on the flat, cement path at the top of the slope. Disrobing on a slope, leggings and panties would surely have me tumbling down. Fear of falling rather than flying: or maybe flying with face flat, exposed vagina skywards, prevents me. I sigh. Silver grey clouds overhead, slight breeze, I can feel the moist wind on the back of my hand and face. Incident light reflects everywhere: it is like being bathed in a natural high intensity white light. It is perfect. And yet I still hesitate. Too late. Sad. Wistful. Regretful. Damn.
At nearly 64, I’ve been to death’s door a few times, when am I going to just do? just be? and stop regretting: moment to cosmic moment regretting. Arghhh! Frustration, next time … I resolve to keep working on it. Living is a work in progress. I walk through the Labyrinth’s gate.
I look up to see my affinity friend stretch skyward: lithe and confident. As she moves she honours the Goddess. I glance in her direction: her body looks perfect. I do not allow my eyes to linger: in pagan circles this would be unacceptable and very impolite. I am sure her body is not perfect: no human body is, and she is beautifully human. She walks gracefully through the faery gate positioned about half-way through the Labyrinth. Caught up in her own reverie, as I am in mine, she brushes her hair upwards allowing the cool breeze to kiss her sweaty neck. My eyes, slightly defocused, wash gently over her, from her hair (are those curls or dreadlocks?) to her long, bare feet. She truly honours the Goddess within her. I feel privileged and blessed. I am comforted: there is still hope for this world with such beauty in it.
I continue walking the Labyrinth: up and down, up and down. Deeper now in meditation, I walk through the faery gate. I cross into the fey world. I hear chatter, and folk whispering: dance, sing, turn tumbles, go on, you can do it! Come on, join us. Join us!
Last night, during Ritual Day 2, the Faery Queen had visited, and I saw campers become her faeries. Wildly the camp had danced, chanted, twisted and turned. From underneath the Faery Queen’s altar, mischievous nymphs had played peek-a-boo with my toes. Behind a Faery Wren flag I heard their chatter. Reclaiming is a free-ing, ecstatic tradition, and I had been ecstatic.* I am physically too tired to be drawn in again to that fey world. Regretfully, I bid the Faeries farewell and move back through their gate.
In my meditation, I hear silver bells calling me. I gradually become aware of the present. I see that my affinity group has gathered outside the Labyrinth. I move more quickly now, unhurried, I return to the present. I debrief and our Affinity Group will meet again tomorrow. Silent, I walk away calm, peaceful and present.
* By agreement, Reclaiming WitchCamps are drug and alcohol free (prescribed medications are excluded from this).