Saturday, March 06, 2010

Return to the Volcanic Witch Project in Sibley Park, said Princess Haiku

One of my very favorite mystical places is the Sibley Labyrinth. The last time I was there I walked the Heart Labyrinth with my two sisters. This is one of the four labyrinths that we saw in the park that day. Afterwards, as we were walking up the hillside together to leave, clouds fell across the path and a bank of fog engulfed us. Overhead we could make out the shadowy form of a hawk with outstretched wings. It's difficult to find a place with more atmosphere and maze energy.

In a few months when the sky grows clear and sunny, and the paths dry up I will gather up some friends and make my annual pilgrimage to the heart labyrinth. As time passes the older stories of Sibley Park are disappearing and I am going to repost my original "tales of the labyrinth" along with older and newer links to some other great stories about the place. As Spring draws near it is wonderful to mediate on the power and beauty of mother nature.

Sibley Park is located high in the San Francisco East Bay Hills and offers a spectacular wilderness view. Hillsides and cliffs are wrapped in mysterious gray fog. Glimmering blue clouds touch the tips of black pines and flaming banks of poison oak ignite quarries of volcanic rock. Winds blow up suddenly catching both humans and birds by surprise. Mysterious walking paths conceal the hidden labyrinths of the Volcanic Witch Project and the pagans that design them. It takes a sharp eye and intuition to find these modern yet ancient retreats from the everyday world.

I first discovered the heart shaped "Mother Labyrinth" as it was called by locals in the 1980's and had no idea who had created it or why. I later discovered that the original maze was created by the labyrinth master; Alex Champion in the 1970's. In the 1980's, I also had the pleasure of discovering remnants of a far older Sibley Labyrinth created perhaps in the 1940's. Its history remains hidden and now lost forever. This summer the park service did fire prevention work in the area as it is chaparral (burn zone) and I fear the last of the original stones have been displaced.

Who are the caretakers of the mysterious labyrinths? No one knows for sure but it is suspected they are projects of local covens. The rocks have to be carried miles and refurbished each spring as rain washes them away in the winter.
People of many faiths practice this ancient tradition of meditative walking. The Sibley Labyrinths offer a unique spiritual opportunity to convene with higher powers in a radiant, natural wilderness environment.

The sun was warm and the air crisp as I began my annual pilgrimage to the Mother Labyrinth. The scent of bay laurel, eucalyptus and dried underbrush permeated the air with the particular fragrance known by the Oracle of Delphi. My deepest appreciation and thanks to the souls who protect and care take the labyrinths.

Alex Champion was the original designer of the Heart Labyrinth. & here.


Marion said...

I have never heard of the Sibley Labyrinths! How interesting this is...and so close to where you live, Princess. This is such a descriptive post I imagined myself there with you, in the Heart labyrinth. Sounds like a really great experience!

Elizabeth said...

Along an ancient river flowing through inner city Melbourne, people have begun to restore the local plants. Birds and many other small creatures that live in them are being fostered too. The river is getting healthier and native fish and turtles and the odd platypus are to be found. Inspired by the Labyrinths you've been walking - as far as I understand it - there is at least one little labyrinth in a quiet place that is secretly cared for. I loved it when I lived there and now I've seen it's mother and aunties!

minervamoon said...

I'd like to walk this with you as a sister. Where is it?

Princess Haiku said...

Sibley Park is located in the Oakland Hills adjacent to Tilden Park.

Marguerite said...

This seems so huge from far and so tiny when you walk inside. I presume it is much easier to go down than come back though.

Princess Haiku said...

It's only about an hour hike in each direction and the walking path isn't as extreme as the aerial view. On weekends there are usually plenty of local hikers, families etc and that's when most people go. There are signs that warn about mountain lions although I've never heard about one being seen. It is a wilderness preserve and one needs to be sensible.