Sunday, November 04, 2018

Blogblast for Peace 2018

Today I'm joining hundreds of bloggers across the world in a movement called "Blogblast For Peace". Although I hardly ever use my blog, this movement is too important not to participate! Bloggers will unite in a global cry for peace in this annual event. One day. One voice. All it takes is one post. You can also join us by using social media. Post and share, anywhere you are online. It's that simple. Join us.

It's the 11th time I'm participating. This year I decided to keep it simple. Peace should be simple, don't you agree? Still, finding peace in this ever changing world isn't always as simple as we'd wish... I believe real peace can be achieved if we focus more on the similarities and less on the differences between people, religions, countries, etc. When we really make an effort in understanding each other on all levels, that could be the start of finding peace in the end. That's why I chose this quote by Albert Einstein. Peace everywhere might sound like Utopia, perhaps it is, but I hope that won't stop us from striving for it.

To everyone: I wish you peace! One moment, one step can be the beginning; one person can make the difference!

Blogblast for Peace links:

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Blogblast for Peace 2017

Today I'm joining hundreds of bloggers across the world in a movement called "Blogblast For Peace". Bloggers will unite in a global cry for peace in this annual event. One day. One voice. All it takes is one post. You can also join us by using social media. Post and share, anywhere you are online. It's that simple. Join us.

It's the 10th time I'm participating. In a world that seems to be divided by its religions I chose this theme. We experience terrorist attacks by extremists that use religions as an excuse for horrible acts taking so many innocent lives all around the world...
I believe all religions are in essence peaceful, but almost all have an extremist branch that act out under the guise of protecting their faith. There's a history of violence in the name of religions, but I don't believe that's what they all are about, or at the very least they shouldn't be.
I believe we can all coexist on our planet if we would all make an effort. I believe in interfaith dialogue: cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions/faiths and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels. I see more similarities than differences, and like to explore those in a respectful way.

To everyone: I wish you peace! One moment, one step can be the beginning; one person can make the difference!

Blogblast for Peace links:

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

An Open Letter To Robbie Williams

Hi Rob!

 Let me start by congratulating you on a very well-deserved Brit Icon Award! As you noticed last night in the Troxy and on social media, we (the friendlies) are very proud of you! I couldn’t come, but I watched video’s and read stories of my fellow-friendlies that were there. I can’t wait to see the show on tv, or perhaps dvd / blu-ray?

 Let me take you on a little journey… I’ve been following you ever since you left Take That. I always say: I like TT’s music, I love Rob’s. :-)
In 2003 I had tickets for the tour but I got a nasty flu and wasn’t able to go. Needless to say I was bummed! In 2006 I got tickets again and yay, it was time to go to my first ever Robbie Williams concert! Then a week before that, my mum died unexpectedly… I was devastated and unable to queue at the time my friends and I had planned. But thanks to my fellow-friendlies (then called F-gang for Forum-gang, your RW-forum) I could come a bit later to queue and they got me the best possible spot in the venue, right in the middle in front of the stage, in front of you. Just as my mum would have wanted I had a great time!
I also went to the live broadcast of The BBC Proms in 2009, the Take That & Robbie concert in 2011 and the Take The Crown Tour in 2013.
 In 2014 I bought tickets for the Swings Both Ways concert in Amsterdam. I was so happy when I won the Upfront Meet & Greet on May 4th! I went there with my husband; remember the tall guy that made you stand on tip-toes? ;-) You almost ignored us at first because you thought we were just from the record company, but then made up for it big time. We all laughed when your security guy accidentally put out the lights. We chatted and thoroughly enjoyed the time you spent with us, and the concert was great too of course!
When the LMEY-tour was announced we heard it would be different venues and festivals. In The Netherlands you came to Pinkpop. Unfortunately I have some medical issues that make me unable to stand for a longer period of time, so I knew I couldn’t make it there. My budget didn’t allow me to travel abroad to go to one of the concerts there that did have seated tix. Of course I was a bit disappointed but I still enjoyed it by watching you on Periscope while chatting with other friendlies on Upfront and by video’s, pics and stories of others. There were already rumours of a new album and a real stadium-tour in 2017 so I promised myself I’d definitely see you there!

That brings me to the present day. The last week it was Robbie-time! :-) I tried to get tix for the intimate gigs/tv-things you did over here in The Netherlands. No luck, not a problem. I watched you on tv and liked it almost as much! I got the new album and I really love it! I put my holiday plans for 2017 on hold in anticipation of the announcement of the HES-tour dates. Yesterday I was anxiously checking your website, Upfront, Ticketmaster, Twitter, etc. And YAY, finally… they were there! I was surprised to see Nijmegen in the list, but anywhere in our country would be okay. The Goffert Stadium is beautiful and a great place for a concert. Then I suddenly noticed it said GoffertPARK. O no… that’s an outside venue, just a green field in a park. I really don’t understand why they chose these venues and not one of the many suitable stadiums in The Netherlands: Arena, Kuip, there are many… Is it too much to ask for stadiums on a stadium tour? I don’t think so… I’m just a genuine long-time fan that wants to go to the concert! Belgium got the same with Werchter. This means no seated tickets… I won’t be able to go… Again… I felt sooo disappointed… gutted, in pain even. :-(

Years ago you asked me and my fellow-friendlies to grow old with you. I said YES then and I still say YES today with all of my heart and soul. But you know, when people get older some get little infirmities, ailments, medical issues. More than that, even young people too… Not always too serious thank gods, but still stopping them from doing what they were used to. No Inner Pits for me and that’s a shame, but I still enjoy the concerts! Yes, I need a seat, but I won’t stay on it for long. I dance, I cheer, I even jump, but in between that I just need to sit down for a while. And I’m not the only one. I’ve read several similar sentiments everywhere.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame you! I know you probably don’t hand-pick the venues, you’ll have people for it, and that makes perfect sense of course. But perhaps you could have a talk with them…? So maybe next time, next tour it could be different. In the meantime I’ll be looking into possibilities to see if I can manage to do a concert with seated places in Germany. A girl can try, can’t she? ;-)
I understand you can’t do a lot right now for this tour, but you’ve always been open and honest with us friendlies so I thought I’d return the favour.

Much love, Cora (TinkNL on Upfront)

Friday, November 04, 2016

Blogblast for Peace 2016

Today I'm joining hundreds of bloggers across the world in a movement called "Blogblast For Peace". Bloggers will unite in a global cry for peace in this annual event. One day. One voice. All it takes is one post. You can also join us by using social media. Post and share, anywhere you are online. It's that simple. Join us.

This is my 9th year of participating. I used the image of a painting by John William Waterhouse called 'Miranda' (1875). Miranda is a character in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Waterhouse painted versions of Miranda at the start and end of his career. The other versions are both dated 1916. I love all versions, but while the later versions show the storm this one feels peaceful to me. Although you don't know whether it's the calm before the storm or after...
It goes very well with the quote I used. I wrote it down years ago and I can't remember where I got it from but it felt suitable for this year's globe. So many storms are raging around the world... It can be hard to find the peace, within ourselves, our nations, our earth...
When storms are raging all around you
Find the peace that calms your troubled sea
To everyone: I wish you peace! One moment, one step can be the beginning; one person can make the difference!

Blogblast for Peace links:

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Pagan Pages December

PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The December Issue is up now!

As always there are a lot of interesting articles for you to read: two book reviews, how to make a Yule brew, recipe for holiday cookies, all about Frau Holle and much more!

In my column I share this picture of my 'witch balls' and share some info and ideas about their origin and meaning. You can read it here: Tink About It: Witch balls

PaganPages is looking for new writers. Do you want to contribute to PaganPages? Just send an e-mail to!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Blogblast for Peace 2015

Today I'm joining hundreds of bloggers across the world in a movement called "Blogblast For Peace". Bloggers will unite in a global cry for peace in this annual event. One day. One voice. All it takes is one post. You can also join us by using social media. Post and share, anywhere you are online. It's that simple. Join us.

This is my 8th year of participating. I found a wonderful image called 'Forest water' that embodies peace to me. I combined the triple moon, a pagan symbol, with the peace sign. I added a quote I found online:
Don't let people pull you into their storm
Pull them into your peace
To me it says it all: peace comes from within, one person can make the difference and start a change in the world!

Blogblast for Peace links:

Monday, November 02, 2015

Pagan Pages November

PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The November Issue is up now!

In my column I shared a story about an intriguing workshop I did a few years ago: making Death Masks.

PaganPages is looking for new writers. Do you want to contribute to PaganPages? Just send an e-mail to!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Goose-bumps songs

Last week a friend tagged me on Facebook and challenged me to post 5 songs that give me goose bumps. I know so many songs that do just that, it was hard to choose just 5... These are the songs that I posted:

I discovered Alison Krauss when this song was used in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer somewhere at the end of the 90's. I love most of her music, but this hauntingly beautiful song will always be my favourite...

I love this song, especially played very loud! :-) The symbiosis between the instrumental parts and his voice is so great.

No need to explain I guess, goose bumps! Especially when Freddie starts singing... wow...

I could have picked 'Creep' too or any other Radiohead song for that matter. Thom's voice and the music bring me to another dimension. I often used that place to hide when I wanted to... disappear completely...

One of my all-time favourite songs, so beautiful!

So this was the choice for now. I could have chosen so many others too; this list is by no means complete. Angel by Sarah McLachlan, some Dutch songs, Robbie Williams of course, but also classical pieces like Pavane by Fauré. Old songs, new songs... Music does something with me, for me. Thank you for the music!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wendy Rule workshop and concert

We didn't have the best of times last week, but the weekend made up for that! We had a wonderful weekend...Friday evening started with the arrival of our friend Merel who stayed with us for the weekend.
Saturday afternoon Merel and I went to a workshop with Wendy Rule in Haarlem. The theme was the Underworld, perfect for this time of year. A lovely group of people and Wendy's music and stories created an intimate atmosphere that enabled us to go deep. We talked about how different people see the Underworld, what it means to us. The underworld can be a real taboo in society today, but life & death and dark & light simply belong together. They need each-other, they are one even. We shared some very personal stories. I won't share other people's stories of course: what happens in the circle, stays in the circle. That's a matter of respect and trust. I have told about my depressions, how sometimes you need to go even deeper to get out of it. The underworld can be a scary place then, but also a safe haven. Others don't always 'get' that, they want to help you. Wendy explained the myths about Demeter & Kore/Persephone, and about Inanna. She sang several of her songs that perfectly illustrated what we were talking about. The myths, darkness, death, depression... but also the underworld as realm of the ancestors, a hiding place and so much more... In a guided meditation we visited the crone. She showed herself to me as an old black panther with some grey hair. When I said goodbye she gave me a beautiful present: a veil. That can mean several things and I'll take my time to explore what it means to me and what I am supposed to do with it.

After the workshop we had a potluck dinner with lots of yummy stuff, what a treat! Ron and other people arrived and it was great to meet and re-connect with friends. Then it was time to enjoy a great concert by Wendy and her Timothy; beautiful songs interwoven with the stories behind them. I bought Wendy's last album, called Black Snake.

As always the end came way too soon! We helped cleaning up a bit and did some 'hangwitching' (Dunglish joke) before going home, where Merel, Ron and I had some fun time listening music together. We went to bed way past putting the clock back an hour!
Sunday I was tired and needed rest so we made it into a lazy day, not doing much. After dinner friends dropped in to bring me a bag full of chocolate, my favourite Milka Koeienvlekjes! The perfect ending to a wonderful weekend...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And the winner is...

This morning at 10.10 AM I closed the blog contest to win "Suffer A Witch". I put the names of everyone that commented under the contest blog post here in a Random Name Picker. There were 13 names, a nice witchy number... :-)

And the winner is..............drumrolls...................

On behalf of both Claudia and me: thanks for your comments and congratulations to the winner! Please send your name and address to and the book will come to you a.s.a.p.

No winner? Of course you can still read Suffer A Witch, available as an e-book or paperback. Check the website for more info. Let us know what you think of it!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

National Poetry Day 2015

Today is National Poetry Day, a British campaign to promote poetry. The theme this year is 'light'. I want to share a poem of my favourite poet, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

"Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", better known as "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", is a poem Yeats wrote for Maud Gonne, a woman he loved for most of his life although she did not return his feelings. It was published in 1899 in his third volume of poetry, The Wind Among the Reeds.
The speaker of the poem is the character Aedh, who appears in Yeats's work alongside two other archetypal characters of the poet's myth: Michael Robartes and Red Hanrahan. The three are collectively known as the principles of the mind. Whereas Robartes is intellectually powerful and Hanrahan represents Romantic primitivism, Aedh is pale, lovelorn, and in the thrall of La belle dame sans merci. The character "Aedh" is replaced in volumes of Yeats's collected poetry by a more generic "he". (source: Jim Clark)

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, 
Enwrought with golden and silver light, 
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half-light, 
I would spread the cloths under your feet: 
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet; 
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

In a TV commercial for the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) Harvey Keitel recites the poem:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Bruegel's Witches

Last Saturday Ron and I visited a wonderful exhibition called "De Heksen van Bruegel" (Bruegel's Witches) in the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht, The Netherlands. It is an exhibition about witches in art, a unique collection of scenes from the turbulent period of witch hunting in the Low Countries.

It turns out that it was none other than Pieter Bruegel the Elder who helped shape our modern idea of witches. There was no stereotype image of the witch until the sixteenth century. Bruegel changed all that with two prints (I posted them under this alinea), and they in turn became a source of inspiration for other Dutch and Flemish artists. And his witches are still with us, even today they feature in many fairy-tales and movies. The old hag, with a broom, a cat and a cauldron... The exhibition shows the prints by Bruegel, but also books, paintings and lots of other artefacts. It was very interesting!

We used the audio-tour on iPod (available in Dutch and English), which guided us through the exhibition.The texts are also in a little booklet. I took a ride on a broomstick and flew over the city (pics were too dark unfortunately) and I got weighed:

Afterwards I bought the exhibition catalogue (in Dutch, but also available in English), which shows all the features and even more info. The exhibition will be in Utrecht until January 31st and then it moves to Bruges, Belgium until June. If you have the chance to go, I'd say: GO!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Pagan Pages October

PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The October Issue is up now!

My column is About Devil Worship, Flying Besoms and Such. Or Not?. What do you tell non-pagans about your path? How do you react when confronted with prejudice and misconceptions?
And of course I talk about Claudia's book Suffer A Witch! Don't forget the contest on this blog: just leave a comment here (until Oct. 10th) and you can still win the book!
Don't forget to read all the other interesting articles in this issue. To name a few: an interview with Z. Budapest, ThriftCrafting (Witching on a budget): how to make your own ink, Notes from the Apothecary: Cinnamon, Samhain correspondences and much more!
Do you want to contribute to PaganPages? Just send an e-mail to!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Super blood moon lunar eclipse

You've probably heard of the rare occasion we witnessed last night: a supermoon lunar eclipse. The last one was in 1982, the next one will be in 2033. So what is this phenomenon? I'll let NASA explain as they are much better in it than I am.

Over here in The Netherlands started at 2.11AM and ended at 7.24AM. The total eclipse was visible from 4.11 to 5.24AM. So I had to give up a night's sleep, but I have no regrets at all! The sky was very clear and the moon was beautiful and visible from our roof terrace. I tried to make pictures with my mobile phone and Canon Ixus. They were nice, but during the total eclipse Ron helped me to install his Canon EOS on a tripod. Lots of pics were bad, but still I got some acceptable and even good pics. I made a little video of them:

If you want to see the separate pictures, look at them here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Suffer A Witch' by Claudia Hall Christian (win a free copy!)

Blessed Mabon, Autumnal Equinox, Fall Equinox!

On this special day I have a treat for you: a guest blog by a dear friend AND a contest!

Claudia Hall Christian writes great stories about good people caught in difficult situations. She is the author of the romantic serial fiction Denver Cereal, the Seth and Ava Mysteries, the Queen of Cool, the Alex the Fey thriller series, and Suffer a Witch. She writes books and keeps bees in Denver, Colorado.

Today is the official launch date of 'Suffer A Witch'. To celebrate this occasion we give you a chance to win a free copy of the book (or e-book if you prefer). The only thing you have to do is leave a comment under this blog, it's easy as that! Any comment will do to enter, but Claudia and I welcome input and feedback on the subject in her guest post.

On October 10th, 10.10AM my time (CEST) I'll put the names of everyone who commented here (only here!! not on Facebook, not on PaganPages) in a bowl and pick one winner, who'll be announced on my blog.

Here's Claudia's guest blog for you:


I have spent most of the last two years immersed in the Salem Witch Trials for my novel Suffer a Witch, in which the Salem Witches are immortal and live in modern day Boston.  Cora (a.k.a. Tink) has been a key adviser to this project. Through her help, articles, and guidance, I've come to a key realization.

Everyone in Salem was a witch, and no one was.
You maybe shocked to learn that those who lived in New England in 1690 practiced much of what we think of as Wicca every single day.
I'll give you a moment to catch your breath.

Ready? Here are a few reasons everyone was a witch in Salem.
1. Celebration of pagan holidays: They were wealthy, literate farmers who'd traveled across a sea to wage a war against the native populations of New England. The Pagan Holidays are ancient seasonal holidays celebrated by most farming communities. I doubt anyone would have thought of these holidays as anything more than the natural celebration of the seasons. Midsummer was celebrated even under Puritan rule in England.
2. Herbs were used for health: They grew herbs for their essential health. They dried sage sticks which they used for smudging. Most households had an herb garden for health and good taste.
3. The Puritans were sexual. While sex was most often kept within a marriage and they had sex for fun and pleasure resulting in a lot of children. (John Proctor, one of the men hanged, had eighteen children by three wives.) In fact, one of the theories as to why the community went after the charismatic Reverend George Burroughs was that he loved the women of Salem Village and they loved him back. (Sex and witchcraft always go hand in hand.)
4. The devil was real and out there. While we tend to think of the "Indian Wars" as happening in the Western United States, the First Nations tribes fought tooth and nail against their invaders. Salem Village, where the trials took place, was on the bleeding frontier of the war with the Native Americans. There were frequent raids in town. People lived in horror of their women being raped and killed by bands of native warriors. Natives would kidnapped children and sell them into slavery. The Puritans returned the favor whenever they had a chance.
Thus, the devil was real, palpable, and lived in every dark wood and behind every corner. Whether due to religious fervor or traumatic process, the Puritans believed that the devil was a real creature who was lurking around every corner ready to lure them to his side.

Why was witchcraft the charge?
Like everything, it depends on who you believe. If you read the documents -- written and preserved by the perpetrators -- you'd believe that the fourteen women and five men were actually doing witchcraft. The event itself is considered to be a product of mass hysteria.
Carol Karlsen, in her book The Devil in the Shape of a Woman, provides evidence that the majority of the women hanged as witches were hanged for their land, and sometimes for their money. This makes the Salem Witch Trials a spectacular land grab.
In this way, no one was a witch in Salem. Not a single soul. The story that the slave Tituba was practicing spells in the forest is and always was pure fiction.

What does this mean?
There's no question that the Puritans were extreme in their desire to strip Christianity, and much of life, down to it's bare, "pure" essentials. There's no question that the Salem Witch Trials were one of the most repugnant events in history. 
The fact remains that Puritans followed a Pagan life because a Pagan life is very simply life.