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Monday, December 31, 2012

In the nick of time

Yes, again life got in the way of blogging. Life hasn't been easy, 2012 definitely wasn't our year... So now we have our hopes on 2013! :) I'm ending this year on a positive note though: in those difficult times we got to know who our real friends are. We are very blessed with wonderful friends and some family that support and help us wherever they can. So I won't lament over lost friends or disappointing people, we are very thankful for those real friends. In return we try our best to be good friends too!

Let's see what I can tell you about the past two months. Again focusing on the positive things!



Early November I attended another workshop with Vivianne and Chris Crowley. In March I was at their workshop "Change, Growth and Renewal" and loved it. This time the theme was "A Samhain Journey", focusing on the Dark Goddess and the Lord of Death and Rebirth, working with meditation, story-telling and ritual to connect with our ancestors of spirit, blood and land and to learn to harness the creative energies of our deeper, hidden selves. It was very interesting and gave me a lot to think about and work with. Vivianne and Chris are wonderful people, down to earth and with a lot of knowledge they are happy to share. Chris also has a gift for guided meditations; his voice takes you away within seconds!

On November 9th I went to the "Zorgfestival" in Amsterdam, a festival for people who work (or want to work) in the health sector. Together with other 'experience-workers', we ran a workshop / lecture about our experience with mental health issues.  I was first to tell my story about eating disorders and depression, answer questions, etc. The audience were teenagers, students that are going to work in the health sector. The others told their story, read poems they have written and did an interactive part. It was a success and we got lots of compliments.

In November and December Ron and I went to the full moon celebrations. This year we attended most of them. With a varied group of people we do a ritual outside in the dunes near Haarlem. Meditations, stories, sharing, ritual work and more. I love it! Ron is the 'fireman', he makes and looks after the fire in the middle. Afterwards we gather around the fire with food, drink, drums, chats etc. In November I made a video that gives an impression of the 'after-party':
Last Friday we celebrated the last full moon of this year, the 13th gathering. It was the largest group of people, 15 men and women. The organizing couple announced we will continue the celebrations in 2013. Yay!

On the morning of Yule (Winter Solstice, longest night of the year, Midwinter) at sunrise we were at the same spot to celebrate the returning of the light. This time only with 3 people, but that was okay too. We did a simple but beautiful ritual. Afterwards we burned the Yule log, enjoyed hot chocolate and ate 'snert' (Dutch pea soup). A wonderful day with friends!

Last Sunday we were volunteers at the "Langste Rollade Ter Wereld", a world record attempt to make the longest rolled rost in the world, surrounded by a Dickens-style market with old trades (smithy, beekeeper, leather work and more) and a living nativity scene. The attempt was successful and the new record is 155 meters and 25 centimeters (509.35 feet)! Here's a video of the result:
It was made by a group of traditional butchers with free-range and organic meat. Afterwards the rolled rost was cut into pieces and donated to food aid for people that can't afford much. All the proceeds of the event went to another good cause.

This morning at sunrise we walked a labyrinth on the beach between Bloemendaal and Zandvoort. It was the fourth time that friends of us made a labyrinth there on December 31st, and our third time to walk it. It was very windy, but a wonderful experience, shared with friends. I made a lot of pics and some video's. I shared them publicly on Facebook in the album "Labyrint 31-12-2012". Just click the link to see the pics.

Well, that's it for now. See you next year! :-))

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Blogblast for Peace 2012


Today I'm joining hundreds of bloggers across the world in a movement called "Blogblast For Peace". Bloggers will unite in a global cry for peace in this annual event. One day. One voice. All it takes is one post. Won't you join us?

This year I kept it simple to let the focus fall entirely on the quote "All we are saying is give peace a chance". Of course it's from the song by John Lennon:



Blogblast for Peace links

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 years ago...

I will never forget
I remember
ALL victims of 9/11 everywhere...
I honour the heroes
that risked their own lives to save others
I pay my deepest sympathy
to everyone who lost someone
on 9/11 and later in this war
Peace to all...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Blue moon of August

Yesterday it was a blue moon. That is, according to the modern definition of 'second full moon in one calendar month'. More info on origin, definitions etc. can be found here.  Some scientific info by NASA:

In this blog I'm referring to the modern definition. I'm told by several sources that a blue moon is special in a spiritual/magical sense. Hmm, I'm not sure I agree. To me every full moon is special. A blue moon is made special because of our calendar, not because of the alignment of planets, or a rare phenomenon, or scientific cause, etc. So, is it special? Yes, but not extra special. Just my two cents, feel free to disagree. :)

This blue moon coincided with the funeral of Neil Armstrong, who died on August 25th at age 82. To me he is a hero, also because he never considered himself to be one. He was a team-player and never capitalized on his celebrity as the first man to walk on the moon. I salute you, Neil. Rest in peace among the stars.

Yesterday evening Ron and I went to the full moon celebration at 'Kraantje Lek' in Overveen. Outdoors on an open space at the top of a dune 14 people gathered to celebrate together. When we arrived, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. It was a lovely ceremony. This full moon is called the moon of connection, so we talked and shared stories about connection. To me the circle is a perfect symbol of connection: with other people, with nature, with deity, ancestors, etc. We also held a red thread together as a physical connection. Astrid recited the lyrics of this Stevie Wonder song:



Ben told us a fascinating story about the young Merlin. During the story a bunny walked by just a few meters behind Ben and just sat (and listened?), later I saw two of them.  Ben guided us into a wonderful meditation. Unfortunately a rain shower interrupted the meditation. Later the sky got clear in a circle above us and the beautiful moon showed herself in all of her glory. Afterwards we sat and chatted in her light and shared some delicious food and drinks. As usual everyone brought something to add to the 'buffet'. Jurre has made his famous warm apple juice with indigenous herbs, yummy! After midnight we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. What a lovely evening it was...


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Heartbonds Festival

Some time last year two young women looked at each other and said: 'Let's organize a festival!'. I'm sure more people have said something like that at some point, but then nothing came of it. But these two women are different. They gave it their all and got it together. They appealed to their network of family & friends and slowly but surely the Heartbonds Festival became a reality! From the sidelines of that network I witnessed it and I was (am!) so proud of these two friends and their mission. I wanted to be a part of it, I wanted to be there. Ron agreed and it so happened that they were still looking for volunteers. They needed someone to take charge of first aid and safety issues, just the right job for Ron! So we decided, what the heck, we're going!


The festival took place on Friday and Saturday, but most of the crew arrived on Friday. Ron and I arrived in the afternoon. The camp was situated on an open field in the middle of woods. Such a wonderful place! Great we were able to bring the dogs! Foofur and Arwen got acquainted with the other dogs there; soon they formed a gang of 5. :) They had the time of their lives, running around and getting cuddles from everyone. Arwen was a bit shy at first, but she adored the place. While we were busy doing our things she roamed the surroundings, rolling in the grass, splashing through the mud puddles, keeping an eye on where I was hanging out, running to Ron, playing around with the other doggies. At night she regularly sneaked out of the tent to guard the place, keeping unwanted visitors out.


Speaking of the tent... We hadn't brought our own, because we agreed to sleep in one of the workshops tents. They were due to arrive Friday around 4pm, but time went by without any sight of the tent. When they were called, the company had some lame excuse (their problem, solve it yourself!) and promised time and time again they would be there in half an hour. You guessed it: nothing after that half hour... Grrrr! I got quite upset. I was very tired and wanted to sleep, I need my rest. Finally they arrived late in the evening and around midnight our tent was ready. After setting up the bed and other stuff a.s.a.p. I was in bed by 1am and couldn't sleep... Pfew, what a start... but man, was I glad I stayed!


The weather forecast was not that good, lots of rain was expected. Luckily they were wrong regarding the Saturday. Apart from the occasional shower the weather was dry and sunny, wonderful for being outdoors. People started arriving and setting up their tents. On our part of the field several stands and tents formed a little market with wonderful products and even a smithy. In the early afternoon the festival officially started with a great opening ritual. During the first workshop round I decided to catch up on some sleep in one of the tents.


The cook only had a very small kitchen at her disposal, but she still managed to make all of us a delicious dinner. Compliments to the chef! The weather was fine so we stayed outside. During dinner we were treated with beautiful guitar play by the father of one of the organizers. Unfortunately we couldn't have a campfire; because of the drought earlier there was a code yellow / red. Even with rain the underground beneath the surface was very very dry. Later in the evening a band called Widar Volk gave a concert. People danced and chatted, we had a great time! I went to sleep when i was tired, but others partied on until late. :)


Sunday morning we woke up from the sound of rain pouring on the tent, heavy showers. After a few hours it got a bit less, but then returned full power. Ah well, we were lucky to have one mostly dry day. We had to make shift with it. We ate and chatted in the workshop tents and waited for a dry moment to move. :) In the morning I did a workshop about the wheel of life and the elements. After lunch I joined a herbal walk. In the rain of course, but who cares? It was very interesting!


Afterwards it was time to pack and say our goodbyes to old and new friends. Unfortunately Ron and I couldn't stay for the closing ritual, because we had another appointment later on. All in all we had a great time and hope to be back next year!

more pics here

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Castlefest

Castlefest
Last Saturday Ron and I went to Castlefest, the annual festival at Castle Keukenhof in Lisse for pagans, LARPers, re-enactors, steampunkfans and much more. It started on Thursday with an opening concert by Wardruna, followed by 3 days of fun.

This year the pagan/heathen and re-enactment people had a separate part of the grounds at their disposal. That was a wonderful choice! The place felt very different from the rest of the festival terrain.
We met a lot of friends and enjoyed ourselves very much. So much to see, hear, experience. Dressed-up people in gorgeous outfits, 3 music stages with all kinds of music, a market with beautiful stuff, etc. Apart from one huge cloud-burst the weather was fine.
Ron and I both made quite some pictures. You can see a selection of 55 pics in my Facebook-album "Castlefest 2012" or see all 182 pic on Picasa (just click the pic below):


We went somewhat later so I could hold out until the burning of the Wicker Gaia around 8.30pm. I had put something in her belly with a wish for Ron and myself. We were in time, so I could lean on the fence. Although it was magnificent to see the fire, it still was a bit of a disappointment. Former editions were accompanied by stimulating music and an explanation about what was happening around the Wickerman. This time there were only drums and when they stopped there was silence. And all that while Corvus Corax and a great drumgroup were standing on the stage behind us, what a miss! The ritual in itself must have been wonderful for the participants, but the public wasn't involved at all. We could watch it because we were in front row, but all the others had no clue about what was happening behind the fences. Bummer! I made a video of the burning of the Wicker Gaia:

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Full moon at Lughnasadh

Yesterday evening we celebrated the full moon on 'our' place in Overveen. During the day the weather was hot and humid, in the evening it started to rain and thunder. There was a promise of dry periods too, so we took the chance and went for it. 13 brave die-hards showed up! :-)

After a wet start it díd get dry. We had a wonderful ritual anyway.
Ben told a story that belongs to this full moon, the story of Adonis. In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.
Jurre told the story of Tialtiu and her adopted son, the sungod Lugh. It was not easy to find the complete story, so Jurre put bits and pieces together into a great story, which he told with a gusto.
This moon and Lughnasadh stand for the first harvest. Astrid told us about a custom: during this time a burning wheel was rolled down a hill. That wasn't something we could do, so she made a beautiful wheel which we burned on our fire. Meanwhile we shared stories of what we had harvested or are about to harvest.

video

Ben led us into a guided meditation, focusing on our personal harvest. Afterwards we shared all the 'cake & wine'. Astrid had made a bread in the shape of the sungod, Jurre made his famous warm apple-juice with herbs and there was lots of other yummy stuff. We sat and chatted until the thunder returned and it was safer to leave.

(and a blessed Imbolc to my pagan friends in the Southern hemisphere!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vikings exhibition

Last Sunday we drove to the Drents Museum in Assen to visit the Vikings exhibition. We were with a group of 9 people, all interested in Vikings and the Norse pantheon & history. Some are astruar.
The traveling exhibition “We Call Them Vikings” can be seen as an extension and development of the permanent exhibition on “The Vikings” in the National Historical Museum in Stockholm, one of the world’s largest exhibitions of objects from the Viking era. The exhibition has been produced to go on tour in cultural historical museums in Europe. Assen is the first venue, after which the rest of Europe (Edinburgh, Moskou, München among others) and the United States (Davenport) will follow.

video about the exhibition (English)


video about the exhibition in the Drents Museum (Dutch)


First we attended a 45 min. general introduction by an art historian. The exhibition itself was very interesting and I'd definitely recommend it. There is a lot to see and do, also for children.
We had lunch and drinks in the museum restaurant. Later on we visited the other (permanent) departments of the museum. Ron and I especially liked the archaeology section a lot. The old part of the museum is very beautiful on its own too. We had a great day!

Here are our pics (just click the image below):

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Goddess Conference at Athanor

I'm a bit behind in telling what I've done and experienced, but who cares... Better late than never, haha!

Saturday July 7th I visited the 7th Dutch Goddess Conference at Athanor in Lochem. It was a 4-day event, but I got a ticket for one day. I had been thinking about going for months, but I didn't have the money ánd I had some ideas about the conference that turned out to be mistaken. When I suddenly got the opportunity to go, I took it. Even if it only was to be at Athanor again, it would have been worth it!


Athanor is a wonderful 3 hectare property in Lochem with beautiful landscape and wonderful features. Everything is arranged with nature and man's relationship with it in mind. It's a wonderful place to roam. It offers a deep connection with nature, it gives peace, it inspires... The most powerful place is the stone circle, but I also love the labyrinth, the lane, the water... well, everything!
I first visited Athanor with the Witches Of The Rose at Midsummer 2004. It was a ritual weekend to bless and inaugurate the new stone circle with several pagan groups. Athanor was already beautiful in those days. In 2007 I visited again to attend a handfasting of friends. And now I was back again for the conference:

Green Goddess 2012
Somehow I had an image of the Goddess Conference of (only) women in fluttering dresses in rainbow colours. That's clearly not me... I decided to go in jeans and a colourful tunic. I was delighted to see I was wrong. Yes, there were colourful dresses, but also people dressed otherwise. And it wasn't just women, although I knew that already because I was brought by a man. :) The organizing Godinnentempel (Goddess Temple) has the emphasis on the Goddess and women, but they are wise enough not to exclude men. I'm more in favour of balance (Goddess & God, men & women), but it still felt good to be there. I met some new people and reconnected with people I knew. I felt very welcome!

Modron Vrouwenorakel
The first workshop I attended was about the Modron Vrouwenorakel (women's oracle) by Caroline Groeneveld, the author. It's a beautiful set of cards (see samples here). Caroline explained how she developed it and how it works. Very interesting! In the end Caroline guided us into a meditation and we all picked a card. Mine looked very positive: The Way of Joy/Happiness, a picture of a sunrise, Sister - She who shares life:


After a short break the next workshop started. Ben van den Berg did several exercises with us. First he taught us a special breathing technique based on what he learned from Wim Hof (The Iceman). Then we moved on to another challenge: in pairs we wrapped each other in virtual clay. Perhaps it sounds weird, but it's a very worthwhile thing to do. The sensation of not being able to move because of the clay felt strange, but very relaxing and healing even. I experienced something very special... Wrapping the other person was hard work for me, but I didn't mind. After we discussed our experiences Ben guided us into a wonderful relaxation meditation.


We had lunch outside. It was very hot, but luckily Athanor has enough shadowy places too! In the open barn was a little market with homemade remedies, art and books.
The afternoon was filled with a very interesting workshop about the energy of the land and connection with the local gods & spirits by Linda Wormhoudt. We moved to the moon temple (under construction). After Linda's introduction we drummed and rattled to introduce ourselves to the local spirits. We went on a journey to meet them by going through the layers deep into the earth. Wow...
Outside we talked about what kind of landscape attracted us the most. I like nature in all of her aspects, but if I have to choose it's the beach-sea-dunes landscape. In groups we performed our favourite landscape with voice, body and instruments.
We walked into the stone circle to do systemic constellations work. I could try to explain it, but that wouldn't do it any justice so I won't. :) It was a very special experience, very moving at times.


After I had something to drink and some yummy chocolate cake I gave in to the calling of Athanor and just started wandering about. I was all alone, but clearly felt companions from other realms... I walked the labyrinth in the burning sun, very hot but I just had to! I sat on top of the hill, under trees, at the end of the lane. I roamed, feeling the energies and losing track of time...




After a nice dinner outside I got the book Nephilim by Linda Wormhoudt. I have to finish my re-reading of the Millenium trilogy first, but then I'll dive into Nephilim, Linda's spiritual novel of which I have heard so many good things! Sorry, only in Dutch for now.
What a wonderful, wonderful day.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bastet!

Can you believe this little mouse-grey cutie...
...turned into this beautiful lady with cattitude?


Well, she did! Today Bastet has turned 6, just like Freyja earlier this month. She was the only grey and only female kitten in a litter of 4. Her 3 brothers were red. They were left behind at the door of the pet shelter without a mother when they were 3 weeks. 
Bastet started out grey with black tail, head and feet. Soon she started to get all black and later on red spots appeared all over her, that got bigger and brighter. This is her today:

Happy 6th Birthday, Bastet!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wendy Rule rulezzz! :)

Last week Wendy Rule and her husband Timothy van Diest were in The Netherlands for a workshop and an intimate concert at Ons Ding in Haarlem. Wendy is an amazing Australian singer / songwriter and witch, whose incredible voice brings her mostly pagan songs to life with the help of her very musical and talented partner Timothy. Last time they were here (in 2010) I missed the concert because I got ill, so I definitely wanted to be there this time!
Astrid made this beautiful pic of Wendy & Tim on the North Sea beach
Thursday night Wendy and Timothy offered a ritual music & meditation workshop. Including them we had a nice group of about 12 people, men and women. We all sat around a simple but wonderful little altar. Deosil, starting with Wendy, we each told our name, astrological sign and why we were there. Only a few signs missed, so we made a great astrological mix. :)

Wendy smudged us one by one with American sage, accompanied by Timothy's magical flute and her own voice. Wow, what a treat... We cast the circle by holding hands, making a connection and passing energy. The elements were invited  in a special way: again deosil we each welcomed the element in our own words, for example by stating what it stands for. First a round for air, one for fire, water, earth and finally spirit.

Then Wendy led us into 5 meditations, one for each element. She performed a perfect mix between spoken guidance and singing words or just sounds, while Tim enchanted us with his wonderful guitar play. After each meditation we discussed what we had experienced. Of course I can only describe my own experiences...
AIR: Lying down I felt myself floating away into the air. I was a bird surfing on the winds. I felt free and happy. I flew over fields and seas and cities... I flew into a cloud and became the cloud, gently floating across the blue sky. When I had enough of that I felt tiny, sitting on a big white bird. I think it was a goose and I thought of Nils Holgersson. I was really reluctant to be called back, but I knew I had to, said goodbye to the goose and returned.
FIRE: This was a dancing meditation with rattles and singing. Because I can't stand in the same place very long I had to sit down, but it still worked. :) Wendy whipped us up with her voice. It was impossible to sit/stand still, we moved wildly and the sound increased. What a passion, what a fire. Woohoo!
WATER: Being a Virgo I should be an earthy type and I am in some ways, but I always had more with water. I love water, I am water. Lying down again this meditation was divine... We started at the surf of the beach with the water coming in. I let myself float on the water and just drift away. After some time the beach was gone and there was only water around me. I wanted to dive. When I did I turned into a mermaid. The water was beautiful. There were fish and other sea creatures around me. I even saw Atlantis. I literally was in my element... Wendy slowly called us back. I know I would go back there though...
EARTH: For the earth meditation we sat down in a circle with our drums. We drummed in a steady rhythm, the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The rhythm got me into a trance. I saw images of her beautiful lands, mountains, forests.... If felt like the meditation lasted forever, but that was fine by me!
SPIRIT: We sat around the altar and put energy into the flame of the candle by vocal toning. All together, but with our own individual sounds that made a beautiful noise, first a bit chaotic but slowly blending into one. I always start a bit shy, but grow into it. There were beautiful voices improvising around me and they took me into it too. The fountain of sound exploded into spirit like a rocket and showered down on us again.

We thanked the elements by calling them out loud in any way we wanted. Loud, soft, saying, singing, shouting, whispering.... but still one voice together. Goosebumps all over. What a magical way...
Wendy opened the circle, but of course it was unbroken. Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again!
We brought our cakes and wine in and had a wonderful 'after-party'. We had a lot of yummy food and drinks. I had made fresh kiwi-juice and bought some chocolate (what else, haha).
What a wonderful, wonderful workshop....


~*~*~*~


Friday night I came back with Ron for the concert. Ons Ding was filled with chairs for an intimate living room concert. I think there were around 25 people. Most I already knew, some were new to me.
First Wendy cast a circle through singing. Wow, so beautiful and strong! Then she and Tim started off on a musical adventure....


Wendy sang songs from her many albums. She told something about each song: what it was about, how/why she wrote it, etc. I recorded one, but I was sitting in the back so the images aren't great:


During the last living room concert in Ons Ding (with Kellianna) our hostess Astrid had sung a song too. Thursday night I asked whether she was going to sing again. She is a bit shy about her voice (not necessary at all, but I understand), but decided to go for it anyway. She told about her connection with the beach and sea while using her ocean drum, and sang her song about the goddess Nehellennia. We all enjoyed her performance:



Then Wendy & Tim took over again and continued the concert. Wendy told us about a song she wrote for Tim when he was coming to her Australia. I accidentally recorded the song, but my camera was in my lap so there are no images. The song is great though and I decided to upload it anyway. Because Wendy wrote it for Tim I made it a tribute to their love:



Much too soon the last song was sung and Wendy opened the circle. We stayed a while for a drink and to talk to our friends. Wendy sold quite some albums I think. Good for her, she deserves it!
Thank you Wendy and Timothy for a wonderful workshop and concert!
Thank you Ben and Astrid for hosting both and having me/us!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

RIP sweet Lennox...

For two years I have been following the news about a sweet dog called Lennox. Perhaps you've read about him too. This is Lennox:
Here's the story:
Lennox is an American Bull dog Labrador cross that the family have owned since he was a little pup. As responsible dog owners that also foster for numerous Northern Ireland dog shelters his family had Lennox as a young pup micro-chipped, neutered, DNA registered, Pet Safe registered, insured and licensed every year with the Council without fail.
On the 19th May 2010 Belfast City's dog wardens seized Lennox from his family home, claiming he was a "dangerous pit bull type dog". Pit bulls are illegal in the UK. His family argued he was not only not dangerous at all, he was not even a pit bull! 
Lennox became the center of a two-year legal battle between his owners and the Belfast City Council. The case sparked outrage among animal rights groups, inspiring a "Save Lennox" campaign and an online petition that collected more than 200,000 signatures. Some people offered to adopt the dog in the United States, where pit bulls are legal. None of it helped...
Last month, a senior appeals court in Northern Ireland upheld a lower court ruling that called for Lennox to be put down. This morning at 7am the poor dog was put to sleep and his family wasn't even allowed to say goodbye...
This is their official statement:
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive "some" ashes in the mail."




My thoughts and prayers are with the family and his worldwide network of friends.
You will be dearly missed, sweet Lennox...
RIP my innocent friend...

~*~*~*~


Facebook page The Lennox Campaign
official website Save Lennox
You Tube Save Lennox
Save Lennox petition
and many more

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy birthday, Freyja!

Happy 6th Birthday, Freyja!

I can't believe it has been 6 years since I held this little silver bundle on my hand for the first time... She was and is beautiful. Can you imagine she was put out with the garbage in a cardboard box? Her siblings didn't survive, but luckily she did. Someone heard her meow and brought her to the local animal shelter. Together with Bastet she was my birthday present that year.

The birthday girl today; 
she still has those beautiful blue eyes, 
but didn't want to show them! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

My interview on YMR

Just a quick note to let you know the interview I posted in May is now featured on the You Me & Religion blog. Visit it here. The comments are interesting too.... ;-)

Friday, June 22, 2012

A rare house cleansing

From time to time people ask me to do a house cleansing for them. Last week a friend called and asked me to do a cleansing at her friend's home. I always ask first what they want and/or expect me to do and why they want it. That way I can adapt the things I do in a way that feels right to them too. It's their home after all!

This was a family of 4 (mum, dad and 2 sons). They had a feeling there was something or someone in their home. Not frightening or scary, but they all had experienced some encounters. Our mutual friend had the same thing and after I cleansed her home it was over, so they asked me to help. I don't want too many details beforehand, so I can enter with an open mind.

This time I made a mix of white sage and palo santo for the smudging. While preparing the incense I explained what stuff I had brought and why. We started in the attic and made our way down. In the room next to the bathroom I felt the energy of an elderly woman roaming about and suddenly I got dizzy. In the bathroom her energy was stronger. I saw a glimpse of her in the mirror. She said sorry for the things she did to get the attention of the people living there. She gave me images of her touching the arm of the eldest son and opening cabinet doors. When I told the family this, they looked at each other and said that was exactly what had been happening. They knew it was an old woman because the younger son had seen her in the mirror too. The old lady once again said sorry. I felt her energy moving away, heard a sigh and saw something in the corner of my eye. The mother and one of her sons saw it too and they gasped in surprise. The former inhabitant was an older woman and she was found dead in the bathroom...

When I walked into the shed in the garden I felt happy at once. The energy was active and positive. It belonged to an older man (the husband of the old lady??). The shed was clearly his place and he spent a lot of time there. The mother of the family said they still used some of his stuff, his gardening tools and such. He told me they had to take care of his things and then I felt and saw his energy move away. So did the mother! Later on she remembered another strange thing that had happened in the shed.

Afterwards we talked about everything that had happened. It had been very special to them, but to me too! I often experience things while cleansing a house, but rarely as distinct and concrete as this time. I'm very thankful for this wonderful experience!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Breast cancer meme???

I have to get something off my chest... This week I got overloaded with requests to put a tiny heart ♥ on my Facebook wall. I am instructed to only send it to my female friends. The purpose: breast cancer awareness. We've seen earlier editions with posting the colour of your bra and other nonsense. I don't participate. Why not, you ask? Welll...
  • First and foremost: breast cancer doesn't only affect women. Men can get it too! Read about it here. So why exclude men?

  • Men have friends and relatives with breast cancer too, so if you want to raise awareness I ask you again: why exclude men?

  • Awareness? Really? I can't see how that works. Everyone already knows it exists and that it's horrible. How can an annoying 'game' like this help? It doesn't give information, it doesn't educate people about breast cancer. 

  • Have you ever thought how people with breast cancer look at it? I know people who have or had breast cancer (and knew some who died of it...) and most of them are against it, for different reasons. A survivor wrote this great post about it on her blog.
So... if you really want to help... Check yourself regularly. Donate to (or volunteer in) a cancer organisation. Raise money for cancer research. Support family and friends that are affected. Raise awareness by giving good information, share articles with substance. Or write one yourself like this woman did.
Thank you.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Walter / Charon

Walter 1927-2012
In the late nineties I started using the internet, on an old computer with dial-up connection and a piggy-bank next to it to put money in every time I made a connection. :) Anyway, one of the first words I put in a search engine was 'heks', the Dutch word for witch. It had been a lonely path up until then, but that was about to change! I found the WhiteshadoW-forum, the first and at that time only significant forum about witchcraft / paganism in The Netherlands (and Belgium). I plucked up courage and posted an introduction.

One of the first people to welcome me was Walter, nickname Charon (the ferryman across the Styx). We both became very regular posters and got to know each other on the forum and by e-mail. He was old (70+) and had a lot of experience, in life and several religions. His life story reads like a novel and he had so many interesting stories to tell... We met each other a few times on forum meetings. In witchcraft we have the term 'crone' for an old and wise woman. I don't know whether there's a similar male term, but Walter would be one!

Over the years Walter and I have always stayed in contact in one way or another. On forums, by mail, social media, etc. He couldn't come to meetings anymore because of his health and the distance (he lived near Antwerp). Three years ago Ron and I were planning a vacation in Lier, not too far from Antwerp. I asked Walter whether he would like it if we paid him and Fatima a visit. He happily accepted and we had a lovely afternoon together. Walter and Fatima were excellent hosts and made us feel very welcome. Fatima spoiled us with delicious food and Walter with more great stories! Unfortunately we had forgotten our camera, such a pity...

Walter with his book
Years before, Walter had started to write down his 'memoires', stories about his life. I had proofread the first edition of his autobiography in 2005, but due to circumstances it lasted several years before it finally became a real book. Not too long after our visit I got an e-mail and within a few days I received the book "Van Monnik tot Heks". I can definitely recommend it to Dutch readers. Walter himself wrote this about it: "I wanted to be a monk but I became a witch. Incomprehensible! And now I have written down every step I took. As a child I never could have imagened the life I lived and if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't know how. I have had a beautiful life, seventy five years full of experiences. Times have changed, but I've enjoyed every bit of the path taken because everything I have discovered had its own fascinating beauty. I have met people who made my life difficult and people I loved. They were all with me. When I was young I heard a voice, actually a song written by a Carthusian monk:
Somewhere a voice is calling, calling to me 
Somewhere a heart is dreaming, dreaming of me.
Those words, that's my life, the search for that great desire. "

Last week, May 27, Walter passed away to go to the Summerland. We knew it was coming, but it was a shock nevertheless. Reactions flooded the forums and social media. Walter knew so many people and even more knew him. Yesterday he was buried in private (just family and close friends). Because lots of others wanted to do something for him too, a wonderful friend adapted a ritual Walter had written for this purpose. So yesterday evening all around The Netherlands and Belgium people performed this ritual for Walter, and for Fatima. At that time I was at a full moon ceremony, but I spoke about him (roughly what I'm writing above) and we commemorated him in a special way. It felt good and somehow I felt the energy of all the people doing the ritual for Walter.

Rest in peace, my friend...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pedigree

Pedigree?? Noooo, not the dog food, hahaha! My family tree...
I've taken up an old hobby, that I once started but never followed through: genealogy! A few years ago I downloaded MyHeritage, free genealogy software.

Lately I've been digging around the WWW. I'm trying to go back in time with both my family line (Van der Heijden and Slotemaker) and Ron's (Van Leeuwen and Verdikt).
I found out someone had already done the research for the Slotemaker family (my mother's family). I imported it in my files and shared some new info from our branch.

(click on the pic to visit the Slotemaker website)

Luckily a lot of archives are accessible online these days. That makes things a lot easier. First I added what I knew myself, then asked family members around me. The Van der Heijden family had been researched already and I got copies. I found the Verdikt family through 'smart matches', a very handy feature of the MyHeritage software. Facebook, Google, specialized genealogy websites and tips & tricks from people who are more experienced in this help me to get further, step by step.


Above is a print-screen image of the MyHeritage software. This is the main part, the tree itself. It is easy to work with, but I haven't discovered all of its possibilities yet. Practice makes perfect. Genealogy is sooooo addictive! Before I realize it I've spent hours searching, digging, asking, etc. And it's never done; there's always more to explore and find out!
If you want to take a look at the "Van Leeuwen - Van der Heijden Stamboom", follow this link.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hot

This week the weather in The Netherlands changed from variable and unstable (rain, storm, too cold for this time of year) to very hot and muggy. I'm not very fond of high temperatures (to put it mildly...), but a sudden overturn makes it even worse... Bleh! It isn't a heatwave yet (over here that's 5 days in a row more than 25°C), but because of the high humidity it was quite uncomfortable.

 
10°C=50°F --- 20°C=68°F --- 30°C=86°F

Don't get me wrong, I love sunny weather! Although I have sun allergy and a very sensitive skin, I enjoy the sun. Nature is beautiful, walking around in a t-shirt... I like it! However, above 22-24°C it's too much for me. I can stand cold much much better than heat. Therefore summer is my least favourite season. I know, I'm weird. :)
These are my two best friends in surviving these days: 



It's not unbearable and of course I'll survive, haha! In a few days the temperatures are expected to decrease again. I don't mind, but I hope we'll have a better summer than last year (more like autumn with lots of rain, storm and very low temperatures). The appeal of my country is the tangible difference between the seasons and I like that a lot. The national hobby of the Dutch people is complaining about the weather no matter how it is. Well, I just did. :) End rant!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Landvættir walk

Yesterday Ron and I went for a walk with a little group of people in a part of the "Noordhollands Duinreservaat", one of the largest national parks in The Netherlands (7000+ hectare). It stretches along the coast of North Holland from Wijk aan Zee to Bergen aan Zee (see map). We started in Castricum.
Organiser Michiel guided us through the beautiful landscape. He first told us about the 'landvættir', literally 'land wights' or spirits of the land (Genius Loci). They protect and promote the flourishing of the specific places where they live, which can be as small as a rock or a corner of a field, or as large as a section of a country.

To honour them we did a little ritual at the beginning of our walk. Michiel led us into a visualisation to meet the spirits of the land. I met some of the tree spirits, rowan and oak. It felt very powerful and warm.

The weather forecast wasn't great beforehand, but we had great walking weather. Just a little rain, a bit of sunshine and very nice temperature. We have walked for more than 4 hours with some stops along the way.

Although this national park is not very far from my 'own' dunes in IJmuiden, the landscape was very different. Or perhaps it just felt different, I can't really explain it. But beautiful it was!