Saturday I went up early to drive to the 9th annual PFI Dutch Conference in Lunteren (right in the geographical centre of The Netherlands). It wasn't the best timing to go right after the busy day of my brother's wedding, but I wasn't going to miss the conference either!
I arrived in time to attend the opening ritual by Boann & Dagda. The horn blowed to gather in the big room. Dagda welcomed everyone to the conference and referred to it as "a gathering of the tribes". The Dutch conference has always been international with foreign guests and ex-pats living here. The "tribes" are the different pagan paths: druids, witches, asatru, etc. They all come together in a wonderful meeting. I always encounter lots of friends from the pagan community. Boann and Dagda called upon Angus Og and Bride in Gaelic. At the end of the ritual we were all invited to walk through the Bealtaine fires. The best opening ritual I have been to so far!
There were workshops all day. I started with a lecture by GardenStone about Asatru. He has a lot of knowledge about it, being an Asatru himself and having done a lot of research! After that I went to a workshop by Frigga Asraaf of Het Rad (a network for Asatru) about Seidhmothers and -fathers. She first told us how she got in contact with them; they live in the astral ancestor realm. We did a short pathworking to meet them, so we can do it more extensively when we are on our own. After that we were "weaving a web" by singing a chant together while 4 people in the middle were visiting the Seidhmothers or -fathers again. The energy was very strong!
Later in the afternoon I attended the workshop by Boann and Dagda about pagan Irish funeral rituals. They shared a lot of information in a very personal way. Especially the part about "Keening" was impressive. A lot of people let their tears go and the group felt very warm and close. After this very intense time I went to the talk by Kit Berry, the author of the Stonewylde series. (Remember?) I met her and Mr. B. (her husband) earlier and she signed my books for me. She's such a friendly woman and a warm personality. She told the listeners about how she came to write the books and how she found her pagan path. It was great to meet her and hear her talk. She sold all the books she brought with her.
In and around the building were stalls with all kinds of "pagan stuff". I got my Nehalennia book by GardenStone, that I ordered in February. I also bought some incense (granules). Another book called "Under Valkyrie's Wing" was signed for me by the author Annemarie Skjold.
When I wasn't at a workshop I had chats with friends. Some of them I only meet at the conference once a year, others I see more often.
The closing ritual by Boann & Dagda was as good as the opening one. We were blessed with water by Bride. In the end we all got a ribbon to tie in a tree to celebrate summer. It had been a wonderful conference and Lady Bara, the organizer, was thanked in words and with a big applause. I stayed for dinner (yummy Indonesian buffet) and went to the Italian iceroom across the street with a little group for dessert. There was a party with a live band in the evening, but I was too tired and decided to go home. A great day!