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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Pagan Pages October


PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The October Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, things about Samhain and much more.

My column is about a theme that keeps coming back in the pagan community. Every now and then someone ask the question and off we go...
You can read it here: Tink About It: Initiation & Dedication


Friday, September 05, 2014

Farewell to Aims

Amy Louise Cartwright 
August 13, 1983 - August 21, 2014

Last week I got a message from a friend, that our mutual friend Amy had died peacefully in her sleep. It was a big shock, she was just 31... 

We all got to know each other online in the original Robbie Williams forum on his website years ago. We called ourselves the F-gang (forum-gang) and had almost daily contact as regular posters there. We had a lot of fun, but also discussed serious matters and supported each other through good and bad times. Amy, or Aims as we knew her, was the only one that lived in Stoke, Robbie's place of birth. She happily sent out postcards and shared the recipe for oatmeal cookies, a local snack. She was ever there with a friendly word, advice or virtual hug for everyone. She talked about Robbie, her life and her passion for hamsters. On her birthday and for X-mas I always tried to get her a card with hamsters...

In 2005 I met Aims for the first time when she traveled to The Netherlands for the first F-gang meeting. It was a lovely weekend with a group of friends.
In 2006 a smaller group came together for a few days to go to the Robbie Williams concert in London (later transferred to Milton Keynes). Aims booked a room for all of us in a youth hostel behind Tavistock Place. At the concert we met a few others. We had a great time together, both in London and at the concert! Read my report here.

Although the old forum doesn't exist anymore I always kept in contact with Aims (and other F-gangers). First by e-mail and later on Facebook. Not frequent, but on a regular basis. We also exchanged birthday and x-mas cards, though we both missed a few. That was never a problem, lives get busy. A few weeks ago I almost forgot her birthday and placed a card on her wall. I didn't know her Facebook profile had been hacked some time ago and she didn't spend much time there. The next thing I heard was the sad, sad news of her passing...

I really wanted to go to the funeral to pay my respects and give my condolences to her family and friends. Unfortunately I can't afford to go. The F-gang and other friends from the forum got together and we decided to raise money for a flower arrangement and a donation to a charity in her honour.
Around the world several people will light a candle today at the time of her funeral, and again next week for the woodland burial of her cremated remains. Some of us also lit a candle online here.


Rest in peace, Aims....

as Robbie sings it: 
You're one of God's better people 
And you don't know 
That's why you're special

You were a truly special, amazing woman
who touched the hearts of everyone who knew you
You'll be missed
gone but not forgotten

~*~*~*~*~*~

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

PaganPages September


PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The September Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, reviews, etc.

This time I wrote about 'my' goddess Skaði: how she came into my life, what I know about her, etc.
You can read it here: Tink About It: Skaði

Wake Skadi by Hagalaz Runedance
In the winter mountains high,
Where avalanches roar and frozen lakes sigh
The sough of the wind to hear
The howl of the wolves sweet tune to her ear
Wake Skadi, come patroness
Guide me through your crystal woods

Silvery goddess of the snow,
Your shining beauty melts the cold
Dress me in your white shawl
Kindle my fierce passions
Wake Skadi, proud northern giantess
I invoke your strength

Mistress of the hunt,
Raise the spirit of freedom
Led your sisters into the chase,
Arouse their untamed nature
Wake Skadi; light the flames of courage,
Wake your sisters' will to fight

Sister of wolves,
Seek your companions
You heard the call of the wild
I summon your instinct
Wake Skadi, defend your kind
Guard them from the hateful hand of the blind

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wonderful weekends

We've had quite some wonderful weekends this August... We are blessed.

The first weekend started on Friday night with a very special and magical (almost) full moon celebration with friends on our favourite spot in the dunes. This time it was an international group of people with guests from Australia and the UK, so most of the ritual was done in English. Against all odds (bad weather forecasts) we only had a few drops of rain, thank the gods. After the ritual we had food and drinks, and chats and music, until it was time to go...

The next evening Ron and I went to Haarlem for an intimate living-room concert by the Australian singer-songwriter Wendy Rule. We had been to a similar concert in 2012 so we were very much looking forward to it. She has an extraordinary voice and sings about her pagan path, mythology, magic and more. Her concert feels like a ritual experience, you can feel the energy flowing. Wendy brought out a new cd this year called Black Snake, of which she sang several songs. I especially loved the enchanting "Home", it felt so vulnerable and personal that I didn't even want to make a picture... Unfortunately she had only 2 copies of the new cd left to sell, she almost sold out the stock she brought with her on the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury (where she performed before coming to The Netherlands). I really like her music, enjoyed myself very much and so did Ron. Afterwards we talked with friends and made music under the full moon on the terrace. A lovely night to remember!

photo: Astrid v.d. Berg
After a short night I drove to Haarlem again to do a workshop by Wendy Rule with 8 women (so 9 total, nice number). The workshop was called "Creative Divination", teaching us how to create and read our own divination kits: we all brought 5 to 10 small objects, and things from nature. We exchanged our ideas about the objects and did a round of divination for each participant with her own kit. It proved to be a very powerful tool for every one of us. I will definitely keep using my kit, and that's exactly what the others said too. :)

~*~*~*~*~

The next weekend the spotlight was on Kellianna, pagan singer-songwriter from the USA. On Saturday evening we enjoyed another living-room concert. Although there are definitely similarities with Wendy (they sometimes team up for a special performance), Kellianna's repertoire is slightly different. She performs song and chant inspired by myth, magic, sacred places and ancient times, honouring our Earth, deities and ancestors with her voice, drum and guitar. Of course everyone sang along with her best-known song "I Walk With The Goddess". We had a wonderful time. She did two sets, but time flies when you're having fun... Concerts always seem too short! Afterwards two friends went home with us to spend the night at our place, but of course we didn't go to bed immediately... :-)

photo: Astrid v.d. Berg
Sunday afternoon it was time for another wonderful workshop. Kellianna is a certified teacher of SpiritSong, a powerful tool for freeing your voice, for accessing the authentic sound that is you, and for entering into Spirit. Kellianna was trained by Shawna Carol in facilitating this unique approach to spiritual growth. You can read more about it here. Although I wasn't ready (yet?) to stand up and make my sound I really enjoyed holding the space for the brave women and men that did, and I loved the chanting together. Who knows, maybe next time I'll stand up... or not, and that's okay too! I already tried it several times (with varying success) when I was alone, just me and my sound.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Pagan Pages August


PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The August Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, reviews, etc.

My column is about tools that pagans use: which one? why? bought or self-made? etc.
You can read it here: Tools of the Craft


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July

A lot has happened in July, still I didn't post on my blog. Why, you ask? Lots of reasons, all nonsense, all excuses... So better late than never, here's July in retrospective...

Ron and I went to Heartbonds Festival, a small-scale spiritual festival. Ron is part of the organizing team; he did practical things like first aid, electricity, technical stuff, etc. We arrived at Wednesday with the dogs and our new tent. Well, second-hand but new to us. ;-) Unfortunately Ron made a wrong move while lifting a table and he hurt his forearm muscles. He is right-handed and it was his left arm, but still he was very inconvenienced the rest of the festival. He still is now unfortunately...
Nevertheless we had a wonderful time with lots of old and new friends. The weather was great, sometimes a bit too hot for me but good for the festival. I attended several workshops, there was a labyrinth, an archery-range, market-stalls with great stuff, live music in the evening, great food and sooo much more. If you want to get an impression, just take a look at our pictures of the festival.


Of course we supported the Dutch national soccer team in the WorldChampionship 2014 in Brazil. A lot of people were very pessimistic, but our team did great! Louis van Gaal made great decisions and the team won a lot. My favourite was Arjen Robben, but of course Robin van Persie made the most beautiful goal of the tournament (see pic). We ended up 3rd. I think the team deserved more, but I may be biased...


And then there is the incident with Flight MH17, that was 'supposedly' shot down by a missile that was launched by Ukranian pro-Russia separatists. All people and animals aboard died; 195 of the 298 people were Dutch, so our nation is mourning... A lot has been written about it and I have my own thoughts about it... I think our government did its best to get the bodies over here to be identified and returned to their loved ones. A lot of coffins with remains arrived over a series of days. the victims and their next of kin were honoured in moving ceremonies that I watched in silence. On Wednesday July 23rd we had an official national day of mourning for the first time in decades.  Still, not all remains are recovered,  identification and investigations will probably take months. I sincerely hope investigators get the access they need and as much as possible can be recovered and investigated thoroughly. The next of kin need closure, and so does the rest of the world. My heart is sinking, but I can only hope for the best....


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Pagan Pages July


PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The July Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, reviews, etc.

This time I decided to write about black, darkness, dark sides, shadows, the night... and why they don't deserve the negative connotation they have. You can read it here: Tink About It: Shadows

It starts with a quote from a song:
   Hello darkness, my old friend, 
   I’ve come to talk with you again….
I'm sure you recognise it from this classic Simon & Garfunkel song:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Midsummer!


Nooo, summer doesn't start today...! According to the old folklore calendar, Summer begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that Summer begins on the day when the Sun's power begins to wane and the days grow shorter. Litha or the Summer Solstice is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, depending upon the Earth's rotation around the Sun.

Blessed Litha, Happy Summer Solstice!!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Pagan Pages June


PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The June Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, reviews, etc.

Because I've been re-watching Charmed, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel lately, I decided to do a column about the witches in these series. You can read it here: Tink About It: Charmed Forever.

Willow Rosenberg

Pagan Pages is still looking for new writers for the following columns: Parenting, Oils & Incense, Spells, Rituals, Meditation. Interested? E-mail addresses are on the about us / contact page.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Maya Angelou

The world lost a wonderful person once again.
A great author and wise crone...
RIP Maya Angelou, you will be missed!

Maya Angelou 1928-2014













When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly,
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
(from Maya Angelou’s Celebrations: Rituals of Peace And Prayer)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Meet & Greet with Robbie Williams

Some weeks ago I got an e-mail about Upfront with Robbie Williams, a paid membership section of his website to ‘accompany’ him on the Swings Both Ways tour. For just 3.99 pounds a month members are treated to phone calls from Robbie, regular text messages, online chats and access to exclusive photos, videos and audio clips that can’t be found anywhere else. I joined immediately. At first I didn't even notice the possibility of winning a meet & greet with Rob during the tour, but once I did I entered and forgot all about it…

Last Wednesday I got an e-mail that said: Congratulations - you'll be meeting Robbie in Amsterdam! I couldn't believe my eyes. Read it, and read it again, and again. Googled the name of the person I had to contact just to be sure. ‘Artist & Celebrity Security’, that sounds about right… And then it sunk in…. OMG OMG OMG OMG Oh My Gods OMG OMG OMG OMG, I won!! I’m going to meet Rob!!! And I won two tickets too. I had ordered tickets months ago. It was the first time that Ron would go with me to a Robbie concert. He likes Rob and his music too, especially the swing songs. We sold our tickets to friends. And then the waiting started… I wasn't really nervous, just very much looking forward to it. I didn't expect too much of it, but that was totally okay! Who cares if it doesn't mean to him what it means to me…? Even if it would be just 5 minutes, they are MY 5 minutes with Rob and 5 minutes more than a lot of other fans had!

So last Sunday was The Big Day! We left well on time, wouldn't want to get stuck in traffic! We arrived early and talked to some friends that were waiting in line. We collected our tickets at the box office and met the other winner and her friend. Around 6.30 pm two security guys came to pick us up and then suddenly I got really nervous. I was so glad Ron was there to keep me grounded! We walked through some corridors and were led into an empty dressing room to wait for Rob. The jitters worked overtime in my stomach, but I managed to calm myself down a bit.
Rob entered the room with Josie (his PA), security and a photographer. One of the security guys touched the light switch with his bum and the lights went out. We all laughed about it, especially when he seemed a bit awkward! At first Rob thought Ron and I were from the record company and just gave us a quick hand. Then he kissed and hugged the other girls. I was too flabbergasted to say anything, but when he was pointed out his mistake he more than made up for it! It sort of broke the ice though, and my nerves faded a bit. He kissed and hugged me real tight.
He asked all of us where we were from and how long it took to get to the Ziggo Dome. While chatting with us he was standing very close to me. Part of me couldn't believe this was really happening, so I consciously used all my senses to record this experience… When he heard what we had to do to win this meeting, he laughed and joked “What?? That’s all? Just click a button? That’s not much, is it?” He was relaxed and really took his time to talk with us. He radiated a general sense of happiness.
The photographer was taking pics all the time. The dressing room had a blue wall, in front of which she took the ‘official’ pictures. First with each of the other girls, and then it was my turn. Rob put his arms around me and pulled me close to him. I didn't resist, on the contrary, haha! He gave me a soft squeeze, whispered something in my ear and put his cheek to mine. He smelled intoxicatingly sexy…
Ron joined us for another picture. He bent his back and knees, but Rob still had to stand on tiptoes to get his arms over our shoulders. After the pic was taken he asked Ron “Man! How tall are you?” When Ron said he is 2.04m Rob grimaced impressed and shook his hand again.
And then it was time to say goodbye. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart, we all did, for this wonderful and intimate meet and greet. It was fabulous and I enjoyed every single second of it for 100%! Wow, just wow….
Security escorted us back to the general corridor. I asked about the pictures. We will get them emailed later. Josie had made a few pics with her mobile phone for Upfront, so at least we have that one already. We talked about this unique shared experience, cried out happily and bounced around. I was quiet though, had a bit of trouble landing. I went to the bathroom and just sat there for a while, silently enjoying reliving that 15 minutes. Then I put a happy status on Facebook and went out again.
In the corridors Ron and I met our friends, who of course were very curious. We drank something and went to our seats. We had great view from second row. Around us were mostly English people, behind us sat the choreographer of the show. A man next to us made a picture of Ron and me and we made ‘selfies’. Just before 8 pm the speaker announced two minutes silence. May 4th is our national Remembrance Day and at 8 pm two minutes of silence are observed throughout the country. It was very impressive to witness complete silence in a venue filled with thousands of people.

And then…. The concert!!! I won’t write a minute-to-minute report of that, you can find those anywhere. I very very much enjoyed it. Loved the sets, loved the outfits (esp. the captain’s jacket), loved the songs… Opening with ‘Shine My Shoes’ is a great choice, as it does for a swing concert what LMEY does for a pop concert.
Although I missed some of my favourites from the swing albums I really liked the medleys (the one with ‘Shout’ was awesome!!). The swing versions of some of his pop hits were wonderful, although for some songs it worked better than for others.
‘That’s Amore’ was great; I’m a Dean Martin fan and hope Rob will do ‘Sway’ too one day… The whole wedding scene was very funny. He said he couldn't kiss a random fan on stage anymore, being 40 and a daddy and all… So he proposed to a fan,  married her on stage and then kissed her full on the mouth. J
I wasn't too impressed by the female singer that did ‘Empire State Of Mind’ (too piercing and shrill to my liking), but loved Rob’s  ‘New York New York’. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a Next Generation Rat Pack with at least Rob and Michael Bublé doing the old songs…? The close harmony part with Guy Chambers and the others was sensational too. I want more of that!
Together with his dad he sang ‘Do Nothing Till You Here From Me’. He looked so adorably proud when his dad walked on stage, aww… It’s no mystery where he got the entertainment genes! I really like those personal touches in Rob’s concerts.
I understand why Rob felt he had to do ‘Angels’ and although I like it a lot, it felt a bit out of place for me. A well-known and powerful swing ballad would have been better, but I’m afraid a lot of people wouldn't put up with missing ‘Angels’…
From time to time while I was enjoying the concert it suddenly hit me: hey, I talked to that man! Our bodies touched. We kissed and hugged, and there are pics to prove it. As if I’d ever forget…

I want to thank RobbieWilliams.com / Upfront, the crew, security and of course Rob himself for an incredible night to remember….!


Friday, May 02, 2014

Pagan Pages May

PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The May Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, reviews, etc.

This time I reminisced about my first steps on the pagan path.
You can read it here: Tink About It: Beginnings.

Pagan Pages is currently looking for new writers for the following columns:
  • Parenting 
  • Oils & Incense 
  • Spells 
  • Rituals 
  • Meditation
E-mail addresses are on the about us / contact page.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Scandinavian Rock Art

Friday evening I went to a lecture with slide projection about Scandinavian rock art by Ellen Meijer (and Jurri Jurriaanse) of The Tanum Museum of Rock Carvings (Tanums Hällristningsmuseum Underslös). The prehistoric images were beaten into the rocks by people from the Nordic Bronze Age and early Iron Age (ca 2000 BC - 300 AD). Ellen showed us pictures and told us lots about the images and how they are interpreted. It can be hard to determine what they represent and especially about the animals not everyone agrees. Some of the images are filled in with red so the tourists can see them, but there are a lot more that are documented by volunteers.
both pictures © Tanums Hällristningsmuseum Underslös

It was a very interesting lecture, told by wonderful people with passion for all the work they do. I won't even try to reproduce the info here; that wouldn't do them justice anyway. I bought the booklets by Ellen & Jurri, so I can explore this subject a bit more. I would love to visit the Tanum World Heritage site and museums!
If you are interested too, here are some links:

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Pagan Pages April

PaganPages is an online magazine or e-zine about all things pagan. The April Issue is up now!
There are lots of interesting articles, interviews, reviews, etc.

I shared some of my thoughts, facts and feelings about the moon.
You can read it here: Tink About It - Moonchild.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Berner beach meeting

Yesterday we went to Noordwijk with Arwen to meet up with 135 other Bernese Mountaindogs on the beach for a walk. This time we didn't bring Foofur, because the loose sand is too tiring for him. Arwen loves it though! She has been running, swimming, playing, sniffing.... in short: enjoying herself thoroughly!

Arwen loves the beach!
We tried to make a group picture but with 100+ dogs and their owners that's not easy... :-)

Arwen and I among the others.

You can see all of our pictures in this album.