When I found out that Crieff Hills had a labyrinth, I got excited. I’m fascinated by labyrinths, so I knew I’d have to seek it out and walk it at some point. So when another attendee asked if anyone else wanted to go check out the labyrinth (he also mentioned checking out the amphitheater, but that didn’t hold as big a pull for me), I jumped at the chance.
The Crieff Hills labyrinth (and there’s a lovely picture of it here) is one of the simplest patterns I have seen. Unlike many medieval-style labyrinths (in Greek labyrinths, the “center” wasn’t exactly in the center perfectly circular rings), the full length of each ring is traversed once its entered, as opposed to many such labyrinths (study the image included in this post to see what I’m talking about) paths only traverse one quarter or one half of a ring before turning sending you to a different one. This has the effect of having you walk different quarters of the labyrinth, then jumping to a completely different quarter on occasion. The Crieff Hill’s labyrinth simply has you jumping between different rings, sometimes bringing you closer to the center, only to move you further away from it before you finally get to the center.
One of the things I like about the Crieff Hills labyrinth (and every other labyrinth I’ve had the pleasure to walk so far) is that it is marked by a stone path that lets you look out and see your progress. It allows you to see that your ultimate distance from the center increases and decreases — almost at seemingly random intervals. That’s what makes them a beautiful metaphor not only for spirituals journeys and life itself. Being able to see your progress and just how meandering it is in a labyrinth can be a great comfort when you feel like your own life journey is too tangled and wonder if it’s really going to get you anywhere in the end. (Hey Wendy, if you’re reading this, would you consider including a
labyrinth walk as part of the planned activities next year for this
Some day, I hope to find and walk a labyrinth that has walls, thereby preventing me from seeing my progress. I want to experience more fully the sense of getting completely lost in a labyrinth, not knowing how close (or far away) from my destination the next turn will take me. To me, that would be another way to experience the parallels between walking a labyrinth and journeying through life.
As an aside, to date, the Crieff Hills labyrinth is the only labyrinth I’ve seen that has trees in it. Having to duck branches to walk its winding paths was a unique and rather interesting experience. I think it adds another layer of metaphorical meaning to the experience.
So, this past weekend, I received a message from this guy I’ve been talking to online. In it, he briefly mentioned that he had been taken to court for, in his own words, “a bogus restraining order.” I was immediately bothered by the fact that he could bring up the fact that someone felt the need to get a restraining order against him in passing and automatically assume that I’d accept his framing of it as “bogus.” I’m not so inclined. I’m inclined to be rather wary of him instead and feel a great deal of sympathy for the unknown person who got (or at least sought) a restraining order.
It also occurred to me that this is not the first time that some random stranger has invited me to enable or participate in their problematic and marginalizing behavior. For example, it wasn’t that long ago that some stranger invited me to join in his “I’m sick of women” fest. It makes me wonder how frequently this sort of thing that happens. It also leads me to thinking that maybe it would be helpful for having a site for this sort of thing.
I’m imagining a site where allies of various marginalized people post examples where other people say something problematic and even invite us to affirm — either directly or through silence — their problematic ideas, thoughts, and behavior. I figure such a site could offer three things:
1. Raise awareness of just how prevalent such invitations to join in or enable the marginalization of others actually are.
2. Help allies and potential allies better learn to recognize such invitations.
3. Possibly help allies and potential allies find and develop justice-minded ways to respond to such invitations.
I’m hoping that some of my readers will find the idea interesting and offer their feedback and suggestions on how to best make such a site and how to make it something that’s actually helpful.
Check out the video he did, telling about his experiences with his family and his attempt to change his sexual orientation. (TRIGGER WARNING: Attempted suicide, extreme “conversion therapy” methods, physical and emotional abuse.)
Fortunately, many of us do not have experiences as severe or extreme as Samuel’s. However, some of themes are the familiar:
The sense of hopelessness
The feeling that we have to change to earn the love of those around us
The confusion turning into shame
According to BTB (where I found the video), Sam is currently a college student. This means that his story is something that happened in the past two decades, quite possibly since the year 2000. This is not a story from the 1950’s or even the 1970’s. So remember this whenever someone says QUILTBAG people aren’t treated horribly today.