Wednesday morning April 30th Ron and I left early to pick up Wonder in Rijen. It was Queen's Day in The Netherlands and for the first time in ages we didn't go to the street markets! With a fully packed car we drove to Hengelo, where we arrived at the location before noon.
The weather forecast was very bad for these days, but when witches meet... :-) It was dry and sunny! One by one the guests arrived in the afternoon. In total we had a mixed group of around 45 people: men and women, young and older, beginner and advanced, people I knew and new people. As usual with this kind of events everyone got along fine. We had brought Foofur, who had the time of his life with all those people to cuddle him!
We had a barbecue for dinner. With all the food together that everyone brought we could have fed the whole of Hengelo! We didn't have a lot of barbecue space, so it took some time before everyone had eaten something. In the meantime the entertainment for the evening, Philip and Theresia from Donderelf, had arrived. They decided to cheer up the barbecue with some music. Philip wore a mask that fit the occasion!
Around 7.30pm it was time for Sylvia Pleiter to present her oracle set Akasha's Kracht (Akashas Power). It is a set of 49 beautiful cards and a book. The cards are made by encaustic art, a way of painting with bees wax by using an iron. She is a great artist! In a frame she had the cover of the set and seven of the cards. Afterwards she sold and signed sets. Of course I bought one! Apart from the beauty it also works very good as an oracle and the explanations are to-the-point.
After a short break we enjoyed a great performance by Donderelf. Philip told 3 stories (The Raven King and two Arthur-stories) and Theresia accompagnied him on the harp. As always I was enchanted... breathlessly I listened to them. The last story was the absolute high, they exceeded themselves. You could have heard a pin drop. I know I might sound over-enthusiastic, but believe me... they are worth no less!
At 11.30pm we gathered around the campfire for a little ritual. It revolved around wishes for someone else everyone had written before. By throwing them in the fire we gave the wishes to the universe to manifest. A nother beltane custom is to jump over the fire with your spouse, friend, etc. to celebrate and empower the relationship. We had it planned, but the fire was too hot and too big. Pity, but it was the sensible decision not to do it.
After the ritual we stayed around the campfire to chat, eat, drink and have fun. Some people had brought instruments. One man even played the didgeridoo on a vacuum hose! The atmosphere was great and the weather still fine. Before I knew it, it was 3am! Ron didn't go to bed at all, but I had to; I really needed to rest! I shared an air-bed with Wonder. We slept deep, but the morning came way too early! Some people slept outside by the campfire.
It took everyone quite some effort to wake up the next morning... Too little sleep and for some too much alcohol. In the kitchen I found a mess, I didn't know where to start! We had planned a breakfast together with the group, but that didn't work out. In the morning sun most of the guests recovered slowly, each at their own pace.
Around 10am the workshops started. Luna Verde gave a belly dancing class and Els from Het Kruidenatelier did a workshop about herbs and their use. Both were very much appreciated. In the meantime things were prepared for the big ritual in the afternoon. The Maypole and the wreath with white and red ribbons were put up. It looked wonderful!
After lunch Jacqueline Zirkzee presented her book Het Heksenhuis, of which Wonder, Ron and I attended the official presentation 10 days ago. Since then I finished the book and it is great! Jacqueline told us very interesting details, things we (I) didn't know about the persecution of witches through the ages up until the present day. She read aloud a thrilling but scary part of the book. Afterwards she sold and signed her books.
Time for the ritual! The participants were smudged in the circle while Wonder and I waited around the corner. When everyone was ready we were smudged to and entered the circle. At that moment we heard thunder in the distance. It was a wonderful ritual and it felt very good. Wonder read aloud the guided visualisation while I kept an eye on everyone. During the dance around the Maypole while plaiting the ribbons a downpour fell on us. It only added to the joy, we had a lot of fun! The shower was over after the dance and the sun returned. Soaking wet we finished the ritual. I think we really did a good job!
We had something to eat and drink and then it was time to clean and tidy up our stuff and the location. I was looking forward to going home to rest, but at the same time I didn't want to go. It had been two exhausting days, but more than worthwhile. We had a fabulous meeting!