Starhawk is a witch, author, environmentalist, activist and so much more. She is a co-founder of Reclaiming, an activist branch of modern pagan religion. If you want to see her, watch this YouTube clip, where she is talking about permaculture.
From 14 to 16 September the Dutch Witches Reclaimingforum had invited Starhawk to give a lecture and two workshops in Amsterdam. Quetzalquatl and Freya have done an excellent job in organizing all this. They had arranged a wonderful place to host it: a huge, spiritual and very beautiful living room in the heart of Amsterdam. Sorcha and I had signed up for the workshop on Saturday: "The Earth Path: Giving Spirit Roots". In this workshop Starhawk guided us through a process of learning to use the tools of observation, awareness, and magic, "the art of changing consciousness at will" to deepen connections with the natural world, and to create the myths and rituals that can bring us into harmony with the full community, human and beyond-human. We talked, danced, sang, did a wonderful meditation... It was a very special experience.
Although I'm not a Reclaiming witch it was very nice to meet Starhawk in person. I have several of her books. The Spiral Dance is a well-known classic. I have studied The Twelve Wild Swans in a little group. I had brought my copy of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, which has helped me a lot last year (and still does sometimes) after mum died. I told Starhawk about that and asked her to autograph it for me. She did promptly and told me today was her mother's birthday. She wrote the book after her mother died.
To experience contact with nature first hand we all walked to the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, a museum with a beautiful classical garden, the biggest private garden in Amsterdam. Peace and quiet in the middle of the busy, noisy city! We gathered in a circle around a magnificent tree. In the middle, under the tree, was a red cat. He looked around and seemed to approve of us being there. Then we spreaded to discover the garden. I was glad I had brought my camera: a spider in its web, drops of water on leaves, a sundial... all beautiful. I collected some little stones and a feather to add to our altar in the workshop room. On our way out I noticed a great statue of a woman figure.