She explained to me that the overnight campers had participated in a nocturnal Bear ceremony, courtesy of a North American tribe. "Very masculine energy," she added. "Lots of chest-beating, if you know what I mean."
Gazing around me, I strained to imagine such a ceremony, for there was a tranquility emanating from the walkers of the labyrinth. "Thirteen times. The Mayan says you have to walk the labyrinth thirteen times," my friend noted, as I began to rise.
"I don't have time to walk it that many times. It's getting close to noon, Personally, I don't see what the difference is." Locating the entry into the labyrinth, I began my personal journey of silent meditation. Close to my left I noticed the Mayan frowning slightly. The clothes, I thought. I don't suppose he approves. But did it matter to God? I knew the Mayan desired numbers and scientific credibility, but I had decided to simply pray for the earth as I walked. Pray for the feminine Earth, whose being was wracked with exploitation and disregard.
I walked seven times. Seven is a good number, a holy number. But, when we were poised to begin the official ceremony, and people were needed in the meditation center (thirteen people, to be precise) the Mayan wouldn't let me go. "Caminaste el laberinto trece veces?" he demanded. I shook my head, and stepped back while a man with a long braid eagerly entered the meditation circle.
The truth is, I wasn't sure why I had come. Though I found the event fascinating, especially the champaign glasses that were ringing under the nimble movements of index fingers, I also felt a little out of place. My spiritual life was usually much more solitary and personal than the Happening on the Hill.
However, people from all walks of life had come together to respect and give their energy to protecting the earth. I wanted the Mayan's ceremony to work--I wanted to believe in the miracle of leaving a better place for the young people I worked with every day. So I paced myself in the directed manner as I started the labyrinth once more, and blew into my pre-hispanic rabbit-shaped whistle. At twelve o'clock noon, when the Dakota Indian sounded the conch and another lifted his arms in an invocation to the Spirits, I prayed.
It was the Spring Equinox. We were on a mountaintop and we were united in our efforts to bring goodness into the world. My solar plexus once more caved in, and I felt my prayers were heard.