It wasn’t my intention to go to Scotland on this trip. I dearly love the place but research on the labyrinth locator left me with the impression that the labyrinths were few and far flung. Then I was told about Grahame Gardner, a dowser and labyrinth builder based in Glasgow and I decided if at all possible I would love to meet him. Also, during my time in Northside clinic the song by Passenger Feather on the Clyde deeply touched me. I wanted to make my own mini pilgrimage to that river and throw in a feather.
What I was hoping for was a couple of hours of Grahame’s time to talk (and possibly walk) labyrinths. What I got was a whole day of his time and whirlwind tour of six of Scotland’s labyrinths.
One of the most stunningly beautiful labyrinths I have walked so far was the one we visited in Dunure. It is nestled in a bay by the ocean in a hollow that was apparently created by the quarrying of rock for the nearby castle that is now a ruin in the background.
The villagers transported the sizable rocks that mark out the lines of the labyrinth to the site in wheelbarrows. The rocks are large enough to have their own nooks and crannies, some with wee pools of water or smaller stones nestling in their hollows. Flowers and grasses have self seeded and several of the Ogham trees have been planted on the periphery including Yew in the north and Oak in the south. The significance of these trees was shared with me by the beautiful, elderly Andrew Guthrie, one of the instigators of the labyrinth who sauntered down to say hello.
Graham taught me the Appleton Dance which two people can do in the classic labyrinth: easier to show you some timethan try and describe it but an enrichment of my appreciation of ways to interact with my favourite labyrinth.
Because he’s a dowser, Grahame and I talked at length about the energy of labyrinths and the determination of their appropriate placement and orientation. About how they draw water to their centre. I’ve often said that I don’t pick up on energies. However, travelling with a dowser and seeing what he or his divining rods picked up, and how that tallied with the experience that I was having, showed me that I’m sensitive to energy after all. I know the feel of a place.
Nine Wells Hospital in Dundee has a Maggie’s Centre (providing a wide range of support to cancer patients). It is an arresting building designed by Frank Gehry and has a large Chartres style labyrinth in its garden. It is really gratifying that they saw fit to include a labyrinth but it was an interesting one to walk. The ‘lines’ were soft grass and the path was made of cobblestones which were very uncomfortable to walk on. Being a full size Chartres made it a lengthy walk.
Both of these factors would potentially make it difficult for unwell people. I had been thinking on the way there that I had to find my feather to throw into the Clyde the following day. In the centre of the labyrinth were two feathers. I left one and got the sense it was okay to take the other.