Somewhere, there are people
to whom we can speak with passion
without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us,
eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us
whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength that joins our strength
to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing. A circle of friends.
we can be free.”
|Reaching Hands by Janaia Donaldson|
It is beautifully laid out in stone, made in the 11-circuit Chartres design. The perimeter is lined with trees, protecting what seemed to be a sacred, meditative space. Two elder women – both about 70 years old – were walking the path when I arrived.
Although I was buzzing with excitement to get started, I tried to take it slow, to remember the moment, to ground myself in the experience, to really feel it – the winding passageways, the twists and turns – to allow it to work its way within me.
It was a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon, and there was a stillness in the air that filled the courtyard. The three of us walked silently, each focused on our own journey, yet aware of each other in a kind of instinctive and mutual knowing as we crossed paths without disturbing the flow. As I walked along, I felt as though I was pulled back in time and space. Have I walked this path before? No… never. Yet something felt familiar.
As I grew closer to the centre, I began to see the parallels between the labyrinth walk and my own personal journey – the one I am stepping into in a very real way. I also felt a connection to those two women, even though we never met before that day. Perhaps we knew each other in another time, in another place. A place we yearned to go back to, where the path has worn grooves into our bodies, where we remember the way. I later learned that the two women were founding members of the Labyrinth Community Network in Toronto, that they had spearheaded the installment of the labyrinth we walked together that day.
In recent weeks, I’ve found myself walking the labyrinth path again and again – stumbling, by chance, upon a number of labyrinths throughout the city. The labyrinth is a symbol of spiritual pilgrimage, the womb, the descent to the goddess, and the feminine Soul Path. When we follow the Call, we enter the labyrinth.
The Soul Path is a deeply personal journey. There is no right way or wrong way. There is no finish line or reward for a job well done. Your friends and family may not understand. They may dismiss your choice to step outside the “traditional” path. Choosing to move forward in spite of these things can be downright frightening, lonely and isolating.
But, there are women out there who know. They could be your mother, your cousin, a childhood friend. They may be struggling with the very same questions and fears. They too may be changing their lives to more deeply align with who they really are. They may have powerful life experiences to share.
As I stumbled along the beginnings of my own path, I realized I needed a community – a circle of healing, wisdom and inspiration. So I reached out to my peers, the women who inspire me, and the women who are my role models. I asked them to share their stories, to reflect on the questions that have burned in my soul, to talk about a topic that is consuming the hearts and minds of many.
How do we learn to listen to the Call?Throughout the month of June, you will hear the answers to these and other questions from artists, writers, mentors, healers, astrologers, mystics, wise women, teachers, and wild women – as we enter into an intimate circle and conversation about what it means to answer the Call, what it means to follow the Soul Path.
How do we discover our purpose or Soul Path?
How do we trust ourselves to take the first steps?
How do we stay the path when doubt, fear and obstacles get in our way?
I invite you to enter the labyrinth and explore what these stories mean to you and your own path. I invite you to take the time to breathe in their wisdom - to feel the love, struggle, and beauty these women have to share. I invite you to join this circle – for inspiration, encouragement, or to share some of your own story along the way.
The journey begins tomorrow, June 1, with a blessing.