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Thursday, November 30, 2006

TT #18: Sinterklaas

Thirteen facts about Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas or St. Nicolaas is an old Dutch holiday / tradition,
celebrated on December 5th.

  • Nicholas was born in the fourth century in the village of Patara, at that time in Greece but now situated in Turkey.
  • When his parents died in an epidemic Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.
  • He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man.
  • Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
  • He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.
  • A few weeks before his feast day Sinterklaas arrives in The Netherlands with his steam ship. He is said to come from Spain (Madrid), but nobody knows exactly why he ended up there.
  • His helpers are called "Zwarte Pieten" (Black Petes).
  • When he has arrived Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for his white horse Amerigo with drawings for the saint. Sinterklaas rides his horse on the roofs of houses. Zwarte Pieten climb down the chimney to take the offerings and leave candy and small gifts instead.
  • St. Nicholas' Day is celebrated on the evening of December 5th with the sharing of candies (thrown in the door), chocolate letters (everyone gets the first letter of their name in chocolate), gifts and riddles.
  • It's been a long journey from the fourth century Bishop of Myra, St. Nicholas, who showed his devotion to God in extraordinary kindness and generosity, to America's jolly Santa Claus. However, if you peel back the accretions he is still Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, whose caring surprises continue to model true giving and faithfulness.
  • You can read and hear traditional and new Sinterklaas songs here and English translations here.
  • Dutch living abroad (and others of course!) can order Sinterklaas goodies and candy at The Dutch Market, the Sinterklaas Shop or HollandByMail.
  • If you want to read more about Sinterklaas this is a website you can visit.

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Links to other Thursday Thirteens!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Temple of Ara

Yesterday evening Sorcha and I went to Den Haag (The Hague) for a meeting with Phyllis Curott. We have done two workshop weekends with her in june 2005 and april 2006. Her method of working and teaching appeals to us very much. Together with some others who did the workshops we are interested in being initiated into the Ara Tradition and be a member of the Temple of Ara, a Wiccan/shamanic congregation and community Phyllis started in 1983.
We received the petition for initiation with the directions and requirements. In fall 2007 (probably) there will be an initiation week (two weekends and the week in between). A month before that the petition has to be ready. It's a challenge, but I really want to do this. Phyllis told us about what she did the past 7 months, explained some things about the initiation and answered our questions.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Things

Yesterday I had a meeting about the aftercare self-help groups for people with eating disorders in Haarlem. One group is already starting, the second is ready and waiting for participants. The third group (for binge eating disorder) is the one I'm going to do, but my fellow leader hasn't been very active since we started. I e-mailed several times until I finally heard something. She said she was still very committed, but since then (again several e-mails later) I heard nothing and she didn't show up at the meeting. I'm beginning to lose faith to work with her and have told that in the meeting. She will be contacted and in the meantime we'll try to find someone else, just in case. I still want to do this group very much!

This morning I had an appointment with the internist. He is very content about how the sarcoidosis is doing. I can walk and use my joints almost like before, yay! He still is concerned though, mainly about my high blood pressure. My diastolic pressure is between 110 and 130, the systolic pressure is 170 to 190. He doesn't want me to drink flavoured teas to see if they contribute to it. He also wants me to do a longfunction test before my next appointment (in two weeks). In addition I had blood taken again and I had to deliver some urine to be tested. It all frightened and disappointed me a bit. I really thought this would be my last appointment for a while, because the sarcoidosis seems to be under control. I know it's good the internist is getting everything checked, in fact I'm glad he does. But still... will it ever stop? Will I ever be healthy again..? I really think I've had enough!

After the visit to the hospital we went shopping in Haarlem. I wanted to buy a new daily planner for 2007, the same I have for this year. The store that had it last year, didn't sell it this year. Now I'll have to go to Amsterdam. I was disappointed again. I had already been putting off buying a planner; it's difficult, because my mum always bought me one for my birthday... I'm thinking a lot about mum, only seems to become more and more. Sinterklaas (a Dutch holiday) is coming and mum always gave me my first chocolate letter. Now I see them in the shops and I just can't get myself to buy one... All this and other things are so making me not look forward to the holidays. I've been sad all day and I've cried a lot. I'm having a headache and slept a few hours during the day. Ron is so sweet, so patient and so loving trying to comfort me. I appreciate it and love him for it, but some pain just doesn't go away. It helps a bit to let it out though. I'm going to bed now and hopefully sleep. Perhaps I'll dream of mum and dad...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

TT #17: past life regression

Thirteen points about past life regression

Last weekend I've been to a workshop about this theme.
Read the post before this one to know more about it.

  • Be serious. This is no stuff to take lightly or play with. If you don't believe in it, just stay out of it. If you do believe, think about it first and take your time to be prepared.
  • Don't learn it from a book, learn from a good teacher with lots of experience. He or she will prepare you in the right way and guide you through the whole process.
  • Never do it on your own; always have at least one other person present, preferably more.
  • It makes it easier if you have experience with meditation and visualisation, so practice - practice - practice!
  • Realize that it is real memory!
  • When you've learned a technique that works, don't alter it! The used techniques work because they are like they are.
  • Don't expect to have been Napoleon or Cleopatra. Chances are you just lived an ordinary life as a peasant or something like that.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol to "improve" the experience. They influence you in a wrong way, because you're no longer in control. You are in an altered state of consciousness, but you should still be in control at any time.
  • Past life experiences are no excuse for bad behaviour in this life. They can explain some things, but you still need to work on it.
  • It can help you to make connections, explain things and/or recognize things about yourself in this life.
  • You can meet someone that you know in this life too. That is certainly possible, but not likely with everyone you might think.
  • Take the time to come back and be grounded again by eating and drinking something. You need aftercare: talk about it, write it down. Don't rush into other activities.
  • Past life is private and personal. You should never pass judgement on someone else's experiences.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone that celebrates it!

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Links to other Thursday Thirteens!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Marian Green Workshop Weekend

Last Friday I left in the afternoon for a workshop weekend with Marian Green, organized by the Dutch division of the Pagan Federation. The location was a Stayokay hostel in a beautiful lane in Arnhem. The normal travelling time would be 75 minutes, but because of traffic jams it took me twice that long. I had taken that into account, so I arrived approximately at the expected time, around 5pm.

The group wasn't as big as in the other workshop weekends, I think there were about 25 people. Most of them I had already met at other weekends, workshops, meetings etc. I shared my room with 2 others. Our 4th roommate had taken her own camper to sleep in. I didn't sleep too bad. I missed Ron very much all weekend, but I called him as often as possible.

Marian Green is an author who has been working in the field of ceremonial and folk magic since the early 1960s. She also organises a conference in the UK every March since 1968 to bring together (neo-)pagan writers and their readers, the Quest Conference. She has written more than a dozen books on ceremonial magic and witchcraft. She is the editor of Quest magazine, published since 1970. She teaches at The Invisible College and runs workshops in and outside the UK. I have several of her books and I like her approach very much.

We had our own big room with a very nice view. The theme of the weekend was "Inner Journey and Past Life Regression". Very interesting, but not something to take lightly. Therefore Marian provided us with a lot of theory and knowledge. We did several exercises to train certain elements. We looked into the advantages and dangers of past life regression. Eventually we used two different techniques, different but both effective. I have been back to two past lifes, quite an experience!

It was an intensive workshop mentally. It took me a lot of effort to keep concentrated and alert, but it was very much worth it. In between sessions I went for a walk in the surroundings of the hostel. The autumn is such a beautiful season! The trees have sensational colours. This one was down the street. Behind the hostel was a wonderful footpath. When I was standing still for a while this tree (the one in the middle) gave me a yellow leaf, that I've put in my daily planner.

Sunday after lunch it was time to say goodbye to old and new friends. We wanted to take a group photo, but a lot of people went home immediately and Marian didn't want to join us. Pity!
The journey home took a lot less time. I was so happy to see Ron again, and the cats and dogs! I'm very very tired, but I don't care. I'll take my rest and look back on a great weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

TT #16: sports

Thirteen sports I like to watch

  • soccer, esp. World and European Championships (Dutch National Team)
  • speedskating, allround and sprint
  • cycling, esp. Tour de France (Lance Armstrong)
  • figure skating
  • darts
  • car races esp. Formula One and rally
  • tennis, esp. Grand Slam tournaments
  • athletics
  • gymnastics
  • skiing, all disciplines
  • swimming (Pieter v.d. Hoogeband, Inge de Bruyn)
  • equestrian sports, but no horse-unfriendly ones!
  • Olympics, I love to watch all the sports!

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Links to other Thursday Thirteens!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Robbie DVD

Yesterday I've bought the new Robbie Williams DVD "And Through It All". It contains over 50 live performances from 1997 to 2006. Robbie live on DVD is the next best thing after going to a concert yourself. From his first Paris show in 1997 to the global stadium stages of today, And Through It All follows Robbie’s journey up the ladder of superstardom. Slane Castle, Knebworth, Live 8, special TV performances... It's all there. An amazing DVD (2 discs) from an amazing singer/entertainer!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Late Halloween

Last Friday Lothanna organised her annual Halloween Party. This time it was a bit later, because it also was a house warming. Lothanna and her boyfriend live together now in an appartment in Den Haag (The Hague). It is a nice and cosy appartment and they have furnished and decorated it with beautiful things. Ron and I bought a basket with a plant in it and I made a card to go with it.
Last year Ron didn't want to come along, but this time I managed to persuade him. He just wore black clothes, but that was okay (he looks gorgeous in black anyway!). Here's a picture of me. I wore the blouse I bought at Castlefest this year with... don't be shocked... a black skirt. Yeah, can you believe I bought a skirt for myself?? Unfortunately it's not visible on the picture. I bought it with Ron in the afternoon, he convinced me. The last skirt/dress of my own was my wedding dress in 1995. :-)
It was a very enjoyable party, but Ron and I were both very tired so we left around midnight.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

TT #15: TV-series

Thirteen favourite TV-series (fiction)

  • Star Trek - all the series, but especially The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager
  • Charmed
  • CSI - all, but especially the first one (Vegas) & NCIS & JAG
  • Bones
  • Buffy & Angel
  • paranormal series like The Ghost Whisperer and Medium
  • hospital series like ER
  • English detectives like Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot
  • X-files
  • The 4400
  • science fiction series like V, Babylon 5, Stargate
  • police series like Tatort (with Schimanski, German), Baantjer (Dutch)
  • mini-series like The 10th Kingdom, Merlin

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Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
~*~ Gattina ~*~ Caylynn ~*~ Barb ~*~ Wendy ~*~ Nathalie ~*~ mommyba ~*~ Twyla ~*~ Ally Bean ~*~ Tizzie ~*~ Darla ~*~ Chaotic Mom ~*~ AnnaMary ~*~ Bond ~*~ Cheysuli ~*~ Missy ~*~ The Shrone ~*~ Tammy ~*~ The Imperfect Christian ~*~ MommaBee ~*~ tiggerprr ~*~ Christine ~*~ sam ~*~ Susan ~*~ Mert ~*~ alisonwonderland ~*~ Kailani ~*~


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good news

This morning I had an appointment with the eye specialist. She did several tests, but everything is okay with my eyes. No sign of sarcoidosis there. Hooray! To see that she had to drop something in my eyes to keep my pupils big. That hurt! It should last for 2 to 3 hours, but it was a great nuisance to me until later this afternoon. Ah well, everything for the good news! Next week I'll have my blood tested again. The week after that I have a new appointment with the internist.

Friday, November 03, 2006

All Souls' Day

A few weeks ago I got a letter from the Roman Catholic church my mother attended. It was an invitation for the special mess on All Souls' Day (yesterday). They send this to the relatives who lost a loved one in the last 12 months. I immediately knew I wanted to go. I've been to the mess with mum on All Souls' Day in 1996, the year my dad passed away. Now I felt like going too, for mum and for myself. Later Joke decided to go with me.
It was strange to be in mum's church without her, although she was there in spirit. Every time I went there it was with her or for her, to pick her up after she had been cleaning there or drink something when she was hostess in the parish center. I expected her to walk around a corner any minute. We burned candles in the little chappel near the entrance, where the little cross with her name is hanging. It will hang there for a year and then we'll get it.
The mess was a bit long, but beautiful in a certain way. The priest spoke very personal. For every deceased church member a white candle with a name card in calligraphy was lit by the big Easter candle. The name and age were said out loud. That was a very emotional moment. At the end of the mess the relatives could get their candle. I have mum's on the mantelpiece next to her picture. Mum kept dad's candle and burned it at special occasions. I'll put their candles together and perhaps burn them next Samhain.
After the mess I wanted to light a candle in front of the Maria altar, for me that equals a goddess altar. Mum has regularly lit candles for me there. We drank tea and sat with my uncle Cor and aunt Corrie for a while. They were very kind and interested. Leo picked us up.
It was good to go. I know mum would have appreciated it very much and it felt like some kind of closure to me. The pain will never go away completely, I still miss mum and dad every day. I want to focus on their lives though, the memories I'll cherish, the love that never stops...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

TT #14: looking back

Thirteen highs and lows of the last year
Samhain is the pagan New Year, a time to look back and reflect...

  • (Dec. 1-5) mini-vacation to M√ľnchen (Munich)
  • (Dec. 14) 10th anniversary of our marriage
  • (Feb. 10) Mum's 70th birthday party
  • (Feb. 23) Heathcliff's death & (Aug. 14) Poemel's death
  • (April 21-23) Phyllis Curott workshop weekend
  • (May 27) moving downstairs after 4 years of rebuilding
  • (June 14) mum's death to (June 19) mum's cremation
  • (June 22) my first Robbie Williams concert in Amsterdam
  • (June 24-25) Litha celebration on the Brookberg
  • (July 8) full moon ritual on the beach of Zandvoort
  • (Aug. 23) arrival Freyja & (Sept. 8) arrival Bastet
  • (Sept. 14-17) weekend in London with RW concert in Milton Keynes
  • (Oct. 20 - now) my sarcoidosis

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Links to other Thursday Thirteens!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blessed Samhain, Happy Halloween

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.

This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.

Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.

(Chant from the Reclaiming Samhain Celebration - listen to it here)

Yesterday evening Sorcha organised a Halloween Movie Night. This time we had chosen to watch "The Others" with my favourite actress Nicole Kidman. It isn't a frightening movie although it has its scary moments. In fact it is a wonderful story from a different perspective. If you haven't seen it, I can recommend it. We also made an ancestor altar in honour of Samhain. I brought a picture of mum & dad. When I took the picture, unfortunately some had already taken their pictures back. I planned on doing a meditation, but when I got home I was too tired.