I first walked a labyrinth on the Summer Solstice in 1997. It was a large Cretan labyrinth mown into a hayfield located on womyn's land south of Winnipeg, Manitoba. About 20 women attended the event, many of whom I knew from the local Goddess, feminist and lesbian communities.
It was a perfect prairie summer day -- hot and sunny, with an endless blue sky and only a few fluffy white clouds. We could hear the meadowlarks singing and smell the beautiful scent of clover all around us. We danced our way into the labyrinth, holding the hand of the woman ahead of us and behind us, taking two steps forward and one step back. The dance of life!
While we were spiraling toward the centre, the sky suddenly grew dark and the wind picked up considerably. Out of nowhere, menacing clouds appeared. Then the heavens opened and poured cold, cold rain on us. There was thunder and lightning in the distance. But we kept dancing, two steps forward and one step back.
At the centre, we had a (shortened) guided meditation and the rain finally stopped. We each walked out of the labyrinth at our own pace, alone or with others as desired. As we did so, the wind and clouds disappeared and the glorious summer day returned. It was hot and sunny again by the end of our labyrinth walk.
That particular summer was a real crossroads in my life. I was single, turning 40 and newly unemployed due to government down-sizing. Who knew what the future held? Things seemed very uncertain. Yet within a month or two of my first labyrinth walk, my life changed completely -- a new relationship, a new job, a move to a new city in a new province.
I was definitely on a new path!
[Unfortunately, I have no photos of that long ago hayfield labyrinth. These pictures come from the internet but are reminiscent of what the experience was like.]