I have been keeper, guardian or steward, I'm not sure what the correct term would be, of a labyrinth for about four years now and like many aspects of my life I am only now starting to understand why this is so, but maybe I should start at the beginning.
Five years ago I knew nothing about labyrinths but one day I overheard a conversation where a couple had to go home as someone was coming to walk their labyrinth. Everyone else present seemed to understand this but although my interest was caught, I had no idea what a labyrinth was and somehow failed to ask.
A few weeks later on holiday in Peru and staying in the Sacred Valley I read that there was a labyrinth in the hotel grounds. As I had no idea what I was looking for this took me some time to find especially as it was dark and even when I found it I had no idea what to do. All I could see was circles of white stones and so, I did what came to me and walked straight in, stepping over the stones that formed the path so that I could stand in the centre and then of course having done this and knowing no better, I stepped straight our again once I had stood for a while experienced the energy held within the centre.
Shortly after arriving home again, a magazine came through the post and on the front of it was, as I'm sure you have guessed, a labyrinth. By now, as with all things that come to me in threes, I was beginning to get the message that this was something I was supposed to look at. I decided the sensible thing to do was to start looking for information on the internet and was caught doing this one day by my husband who's reaction was 'We could have one of those' and who went on to mention the exact place in the garden that had been in my head.
I started to borrow books on labyrinths, download information of the internet and having worked out by then how to walk one, even found one not too far from where I lived, and actually walked it.
The space in my garden has always been a special place with a very special energy. It is surrounded by plants, dry stone-wall and ash trees. Having decided that this was where my labyrinth would be I asked permission from the earth, plants and animals in this part of the garden and as a pendulum dowser I was able to dowse the area to find the exact place, find the perimeter, the centre, the direction and then I did nothing for about a year.
In that year I spent a lot of time in the area where the labyrinth was to be to be created. I listened to myself and to the energy around me, I checked, double-checked and I even dowsed the perimeter to find seven strong energy points (possibly standing stones from an earlier time?), a task that had come to me while sitting in the garden enjoying the sun but still the labyrinth remained an idea not reality.
Then on an April Sunday quite out of the blue, I decided I would mark the centre of the labyrinth, but clearly I was supposed to do more than this for by the end of the day I had marked the whole labyrinth out in flour although this was quickly replaced with something more permanent as rain was forecast.
Gradually over the years the labyrinth has changed. Plants come and go, sometimes there is clover, at others daisies or buttercups, moss or occasionally real grass. The birds play in it, build nests from it and leave feathers in it for me to find. Insects hide in it, slugs crawl around the paths and my cat often sits in the centre of it. I walk the labyrinth on my own, with friends, celebrate solstice and have burning bowl ceremonies there. I dance in it, drum in it, sit quietly in it and sometimes I journey in it.
At times it's easy to maintain, others it seems to demand a lot. When it's demanding attention it needs cutting, trimming, edging, clearing and feels like a real responsibility. I thought once that the more I walked the labyrinth, the more others walked, the less upkeep it would need but this doesn't work.
I often wonder if it's me that needs the labyrinth or if it needs me, maybe it's both. Once thing I do know is that I love it being there, it has a very special energy and I am glad that I am one of those who have been asked to look after one, to watch over it and to keep it safe until it no longer needs to be here.
Since originally writing this article circumstances have changed and it has become time to release the labyrinth from my care and allow the land to revert to its original form. The labyrinth has served it purpose here and it is time for it to move on to pastures new. I am sad to see it leave but happy that I can recreate one anywhere at anytime.