Wombwalks

Wombwalks were the first in a series of collaborative art practices with Gestare Art Collective beginning in 2011. Wombwalks are labyrinth walking and sometimes making rituals conducted by members of the collective to celebrate the days of each other’s births in parallel time at distance. Gestare members walk with the intention of supporting each other in placental wombworkings on the anniversary of the day we left our earth mother’s wombs, offering an opportunity for a rebirthing.  The practice has since been taken up by others and is open to anyone who feels an interest in the experience. Labyrinths are found in many locations including community centres, private grounds, public gardens, hospital/healing centres, retreat centres and the grounds of religious institutions.

Womb Walk in honour of the 66th anniversary of my own birth. Created at 11 am PST on a dry overcast warm Saturday morning in Courtenay, BC with the sounds of recently arrived songbirds ever calling to the sky and each other around me as I walked bathed in the scent of cottonwoods. I am told that in Asian cultures the double numbers are very auspicious, this was a double double 66th on the 11th of the twenty-first century. Auspicious seems to fit for me right now as I move through shifting awareness of myself in these crone years, constantly adjusting to the new reality of changing capacity, health and strength.

I paused at the labyrinth entrance connecting with Barbara and inviting all those allies, spirit beings and co-walkers who've journeyed through this life with me to join this wombwalk. Soon I was flooded with images of beings living and passed on who have played a significant role at some time in these last sixty-six years. Memories of faces some young, some old, some human, some animal, filled me with each step as they responded to my call. The labyrinth is newly laid near my home by myself and neighbours, simply oyster shells, rocks and driftwood placed upon the rough surface of an adjacent park land. In the centre I began to adjust the shells, creating a larger space and placing a concretion (rock form) in a turn of the path, bringing a piece of my life in the Yukon, home here to Courtenay. The labyrinth seemed to be reminding me that I have always created my own path in this life, tended it, adjusted it, claimed it and followed it through its many meandering directions. The one path beginning in the womb of my mother Phyllis Gwendolen, carrying the thread from the womb of her mother my grandmother Grace, May and now weaving this thread into my wombwalks.

A bright flash of yellow greeted me as my walk ended - two male Western Tanagers flew to the tree beside the labyrinth. A gift from the winged ones, another reminder of the beauty of this living earth.

Womb Walk for Barbara's birthday on March 31st, 2011 at 12.30 pm. I was away from home this day and chose to walk a beautiful outdoor sanctuary labyrinth located beside a Unitarian Church in rural farmlands near Victoria, Vancouver Island. I preceded my walk with a prayer for the waters of and around the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan -

We are sorry for your suffering. Please forgive us. We thank you and we love you.

The sun's warm rays competed with the chill wind as I walked the grass pathways of this Cretan style labyrinth. My walk was dedicated to Barbara and to all the gestating wombs preparing for the birthing of the next generation of our human race. I voiced my intention that they may birth into our world an abundance of peace and love for all beings. I was confused by the unusual entrance design of the labyrinth and my walk became a two and a half path experience. Daisies beneath my feet, birdsong in the spring air my gaze scanned the boundaries of this space. I saw a moss-covered rock mound, pine and arbutus trees, daffodils and violets in bloom, a small calm lake with a lone swan and family of ducks, and an old farmhouse sheltered by massive cedar trees.  This wombspace is held in beauty. As I walked the beauty flowed into my bones, my flesh, my blood, my breath and my spirit until I was all filled up with a keenly felt experience of my wombwalking intention for peace and love for all beings.

Wombwalk for Nané's birthday re-entering the labyrinth at Seal Bay park beach on a wild, wet, windy, winter west coast afternoon at low tide 2.07 pm on February 6, 2011

Elemental wombsong.mp3

Red threads, umbilical strings connecting gestare womb walkings are wound round the rock at the centre of the labyrinth by my circling steps.

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